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Healing Traditions of the Northwestern Himalayas

Beschreibung

This book discusses the perception of disease, healing concepts and the evolution of traditional systems of healing in the Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, India. The chapters cover a diverse range issues: people and knowledge systems, healing in ancient scriptures, concept of sacredness and faith healing, food as medicament, presumptions about disease, ethno-botanical aspects of medicinal plants, collection and processing of herbs, traditional therapeutic procedures, indigenous Materia medica, etc. The book also discusses the diverse therapeutic procedures followed by Himalayan healers and their significance in the socio-cultural life of Himalayan societies.

The World Health Organization defines traditional medicine as wisdom, skills, and practices based on theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, used in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness and maintenance of health. In some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depends on traditional medicine for primary health care. However, the knowledge of these conventional healing techniques and traditions associated with conveying this knowledge are slowly disappearing. The authors highlight the importance of safeguarding this indigenous knowledge in the cultural milieu of the Himachal Himalayas.

This book will be an important resource for researchers in medical anthropology, biology, ethno-biology, ecology, community health, health behavior, psychotherapy, and Himalayan studies.

Pankaj Gupta is a senior research office at the Institute of Integrated Himalayan Studies (IIHS), University Grants Commission (UGC) Centre of Excellence, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, India. He is a doctorate in biosciences from Himachal Pradesh University and the managing editor of Himalayan Studies Journal & IIHS News Bulletin. He is also a member of the editorial team of Himshikhar, the Himachal Pradesh University newsletter, brought out quarterly by Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. He is member of the Mountain Forum Himalayas, a nongovernment organization active in Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand states in India, and has been an expert for project evaluations funded by the Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART), India. He has acted as a consultant for the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited for social impact assessment studies and baseline studies since 2008. His areas of interest are village studies, natural resource management, health oriented problems of women and children particularly nutritional, anthropometric and dietary studies, traditional health care systems and magico-religious methods of healing, ethno-Cultural, ethno-ecological and audiovisual documentation of culture and nature.

Vijay Kumar Sharma is a project officer at the Institute of Integrated Himalayan Studies, University Grants Commission (UGC) Centre of Excellence, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. He has published papers in reputed journals, besides editing and authoring two books each. He has been involved in various research projects of the institute funded by the UGC and other funding agencies. His areas of specialization are rural sociology, folk medicine and indigenous knowledge.

Sushma Sharma is a professor in the Department of Biosciences, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. She was previously the Director of the Women's Study Centre of Himachal Pradesh University. She has completed a number of projects funded by the UGC and other funding agencies. Dr. Sharma has worked on nutritional and physiological studies of Himalayan people. Her research papers have been published in journals of national and international repute. Her area of specialization is muscle physiology.