The topic of traditional medicine is critical in the context of the current community wellness framework. All members of different ethnic groups tend to have their cultural health perspectives which may differ from the established scientifically proven medical procedures. Thus, it is essential to integrate traditional medicine elements in the provision of comprehensive health care to achieve a high level of community wellness. It is also vital to analyze how traditional medicine is impacted by ecology and the environment to ensure that it is sustainable. Additionally, it is worth exploring cultural health from the perspective of the dialectic framework to gain a better insight into the topic.
Discussion of the Subtopic
As mentioned above, traditional medicine is an important part of every culture and one which is extensively used by people. Essentially, it is natural for people, especially those living in rural communities without access to health care, to refer to the knowledge of their ancestors whenever they face health issues. For instance, in Zimbabwe, the livelihood of certain remote villages depends on the local medicinal plants, which are used for stomach aches and other conditions (Mambondiyani, 2017). Such examples show how the knowledge of medicinal plants accumulated by people over centuries still remains relevant and utilized in the treatment of numerous health problems. It is clear that in many cases, the lack of access to modern health care becomes the key reason why people embrace cultural health.
Nevertheless, there are also cases when traditional medicine becomes a popular product consumed by people who have a proper quality of life and sufficient resources. For example, in China, the industry of traditional treatments is valued at $60 billion due to the high prices of the products in this segment (Hall, 2019). At the same time, when assessing the topic of cultural health, it is vital to trace its relationship with the environment. The aforementioned popularity of Chinese traditional medicine led to an increase in poaching activity and can potentially cause the extinction of several species in the country (Hall, 2019). Therefore, cultural health is a phenomenon that affects different spheres and must be treated seriously on all levels.
There is also evidence that traditional treatments and medical practices are being affected by the ecology and worsening the quality of the environment. For instance, in certain African countries, local populations utilize geophagy, eating of soil, as part of their cultural health practices. Yet, currently, due to the economic development of the region and growth in the number of industrial facilities, soils consumed by the locals have become contaminated with dangerous materials (Frazzoli et al., 2016). Therefore, it is evident that changes in the ecology threaten the future of cultural health in certain parts of the planet. There are other manifestations of the transforming environment impacting the sustainable implementation of traditional medicine. Research shows that the advancing climate change has already negatively affected the development of medicinal plants in various regions worldwide (Chinedu, 2017). Thus, such evidence demonstrates that traditional medicine and ecology are dependent on each other, and it is important to use cultural health practices sustainably.
Community Wellness Model Analysis
The concept of traditional medicine is closely connected to community wellness because cultural health is a communal phenomenon and not one developed and practiced by a particular individual. When assessing traditional medicine as well as its relations with the ecology, it is essential to identify the domains of the community wellness model. Research shows that the main domains used to analyze community well-being include human, economic, environmental, and social ones (Sung & Phillips, 2018). From the perspective of the human domain, which includes physical and psychological sub-domains, traditional medicine is an important aspect of the life of every community member. Traditional medical practices favorably affect not only the physical health of people but also their mental state. By believing in the effectiveness of certain cultural treatments, people can cause the placebo effect to occur, which will positively impact their well-being (“The power of the placebo effect,” 2019). Thus, traditional medicine is vital in the context of the human domain of the community wellness model.
When viewed in terms of the economic aspect of community well-being, traditional medicine can be regarded as a low-budget solution used mostly by people with poor quality of life. It was already mentioned how certain African villages have to gather medicinal plants in order to treat their health issues due to the lack of proper health care. At the same time, as shown by Chinese medicine’s popularity, cultural health can also be expensive and available only to affluent individuals.
The environmental aspect of the community wellness model in relation to traditional medicine also has already been partially explored. Essentially, communities and their cultural health are heavily dependent on the ecology and its elements, such as biodiversity and climate. Thus, it is essential when trying to achieve community well-being to ensure sustainable use of natural resources, including in terms of cultural health. In situations when environmental conditions such as climate change prevent people from gaining access to traditional medicine, they must be offered health care alternatives to guarantee community wellness.
Finally, the social aspect of the community wellness model in the context of traditional medicine is also important to consider. It is possible to say that traditional medicine contributes to the building of a stronger and more interconnected community. When a member of the community has a health problem, it is natural for other members to assist them, including by sharing their knowledge in the sphere of cultural health. Thus, traditional medicine can stimulate communal efforts and increase trust in communities, as well as mutual respect among its members.
A Dialectic Framework Analysis
The topic of traditional medicine and ecology can be analyzed using the dialectic model in order to establish the relevance of cultural health. According to dialectics, the standard model of analyzing different phenomena involves establishing a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis (Picciano, 2018). The thesis, in the current situation, can be defined as follows: Traditional medicine is a positive phenomenon that is threatened by the changing environment. The arguments in support of this thesis may include the historical significance of traditional medicine and its importance for different ethnic groups. Additionally, traditional medicine is still extensively utilized both in poor and fairly developed countries despite the fact that some people may question the legitimacy of its methods. The ecology and unpredictable environment of the past decade threatens the sustainability of cultural health and thus undermine community wellness.
As for the antithesis, it can be described as follows: Traditional medicine is an ineffective method of providing health care services which additionally negatively affects the environment. The main argument in support of the antithesis would be the lack of evidence proving that traditional medicine helps people overcome their health issues. For instance, in China, even the government notifies the citizens to stop buying traditional treatment products, such as tiger bone (Hall, 2019). Moreover, the popularity of traditional medicine leads to considerable harm to the wildlife and causes extensive extermination of endangered species. Basically, traditional remedies constitute medical treatments that not only do not have any positive effect on the health of people but also negatively impact nature.
Finally, the synthesis should be the following: Traditional medicine has both negative and positive effects, and it is important to maximize the latter and minimize the former. Although traditional medicine can actually incentivize poaching and other activities harmful to the environment, it still constitutes a major element of the wellness of many communities. Cultural health practices have evolved over hundreds of years, and they cannot be banned or discarded instantly. Therefore, it is vital to let people engage in traditional medicine while simultaneously curbing its negative effects on the environment. It is also important to conduct more studies on different traditional remedies to receive scientific data on their effectiveness.
Traditional medicine is an essential element for all cultures, and it is vital to assess how it can be implemented as part of community wellness. The environment is an important factor that should be considered when analyzing traditional medicine and its relevance. Research shows that cultural medicine and ecology have a direct relationship and can influence each other. From the perspective of community wellness and dialectics, traditional medicine must be preserved, yet its negative effects, such as poaching, have to be addressed.
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Frazzoli, C, Pouokam, G., Mantovani, A., & Orisakwe, O. (2016). Health risks from lost awareness of cultural behaviours rooted in traditional medicine: An insight in geophagy and mineral intake. Science of The Total Environment, 10, 1465–1471. Web.
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Mambondiyani, A. (2017) As droughts lengthen, Zimbabwe’s medicinal plants disappear. Web.
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Sung, H., & Phillips, R. G. (2018). Indicators and community well-being: Exploring a relational framework. International Journal of Community Well-Being, 1(1), 63–79. Web.