Reconciling Medical Knowledge Communities: Learning from the History of Indian Plant Drugs

This interdisciplinary project studies the history of communities of knowledge of herbal medicines in India
Ongoing
International

The intersection between biomedical and traditional medical systems is widely recognised as a major global challenge in health. This project studies the history of communities of knowledge of herbal medicines in India over the last 200 years, bringing fresh evidence to bear on contemporary plant-based healing practices, both in India and in Ayurvedic medicine in the UK. The project compares textual and specimen data, including the unique collection of 3,000 historic Indian drug specimens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and databased textual sources held at the Transdisciplinary University, Bengaluru. Drawing on critical approaches to the history of medicine at the University of Manchester, the project will work both with these datasets and contemporary knowledge holders in medicine, herbal production, and pharmacology to develop a nuanced understanding of historic and current day practices and to consider their relevance to policy relating to herbal medicines and integration of health systems.

Principal Investigator: Dr Mark Nesbitt, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

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