Although indigenous medicine is not as commonly used compared to modern medicine, it is still effective but may not cure all your diseases unlike modern medicine. Indigenous medicine, also known as traditional medicine, refers to the knowledge and skills based on theories and experiences through generations of the indigenous people and using that knowledge to incorporate healing and wellness while using plants. Modern medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It is also a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Indigenous medicine uses the knowledge that is developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. Traditional medicine is used throughout the world but it’s just not as commonly used. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), traditional medicine is the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, used in the maintenance of health and in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. Today there are many types of traditional medicines whether it be acupuncture, chiropractic care, or herbal medicine. Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical, religious, and other uses. Ethnobotanists explore how plants are used for such things as food, medicine, hunting, dyeing and much more. Medical anthropology studies contemporary ethno medicine, which includes concepts of what illness is and how healing occurs. Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person’s body, mind, spirt, and emotions in the quest for optimal health and wellness. Traditionally, folk medicine is made from plants which the indigenous people go out into the jungle or amazon to search for their ingredients. However, after collecting the ingredients, you have to prepare them by boiling them, which takes a lot of time and care in order to make the finished product. In the indigenous society, this is considered very common and the process of making medicine is passed down from generations of knowledge. Unlike traditional medicine, today we are able to collect our ingredients by simply buying them off other companies that provide them and makes this process very easy to be obtained. We can buy medicine at the pharmacy or have them prescribed by your doctor, whereas the indigenous have to find all their ingredients to make the medicine before even applying them onto the infected area. Indigenous medicine can only heal external wounds whereas modern medicine can heal both internal and external due to the advancement of modern technology. “Prescription medicines and advances in medical treatment have helped people avoid disability and death caused by disease, lowered overall treatment costs, and has lowered death rates for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other deadly diseases for several decades.” (Sullivan) Medicine has evolved overtime and now we have surgeons who are able to perform surgeries to any disease. Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) stated that “modern medicine was formed around successes in fighting infectious disease”. The biggest challenge we face in modern medicine, would be the typically late developing diseases. “Ornish, a physician-researcher at the University of California at San Francisco and the founder of the independent Preventive Medicine Research Institute, who has been showing in studies for more than three decades that diet, exercise, and stress reduction can do a better job of preventing, slowing, and even reversing heart disease than most drugs and surgical procedures.” (Sullivan) Modern medicine is so advanced today that we can analyze how illnesses develop. With more advanced technology and new knowledge, there will be many more ways to treating people and will allow us to have longer lifespans. In fact, due to modern medicine, the death rate from heart disease has decreased by 60% since 1970. The death rate HIV/AIDS has dropped more than 75% since 1995, when it was at its peak. “The American health care system is what is failing Americans, while industry is continuing to put more and more money into research and development to find new cures and treatments for chronic diseases and serious illnesses.” (Sullivan) Traditional medicines are cost effective in comparison to prescribed medications. However, with the high costs of modern medicine, it can be an advantage in terms of healing due to the development and research that was put into them. Before modern medicine came to be, traditional medicine used to be the dominant medical system available to millions of people. However due to the impact of modern technology on medicine, this has become a significant turning point for traditional medicine. Because of technology, modern medicine is more popularized because of its conveniences and its effects on curing diseases. Many people tend to go for modern medicine because there are specialists for each part of the body and you are more likely to heal completely from a surgery or by going to therapy depending on what problem you have. Although there are some advantages to traditional medicine and is still being practiced today, it is still not as common as modern medicine.
Table of Contents