Although today was our day off, I reflected on information Akshay shared during his first lecture, covering information on the geography and wildlife of the Himalayas and Lower Himalayas in particular. While discussing plants and natural resources found in the area, he shared that India has made a turn from traditional to Western medicine, but is slowly transforming back into traditional practices. Not only is India seeing increases in practices such as Ayurveda and yoga, but the United States has also seen and increase. In the Himalayas in particular, this is significant because with its rich biodiversity, many medicines come from the land and its natural resources. According to the article on ethnomedical plants, the major route of information exchange between generations about medicinal plants is by word of mouth which may be a contributor to why the practice started to die off. The article also highlighted that villages are the major users of these sorts of practices, likely due to the fact that more modern medicines and treatments are further away and more difficult to maintain due to the isolation of villages and lack of proper transportation.
During our day off, I went into the town of Mussoorie and noticed that there were many pharmacies and chemists as opposed to traditional medicine shops. This led me to further believe that in more modernized cities, traditional, natural medicines were less common. In comparison, I traveled abroad to Shanghai, China last Spring and I saw traditional Chinese Medicine shops all over the place, even on one of the most modern and commercialized streets in the world, Nanjing road. This comparison highlighted to me that China maintains traditional practices not only in terms of medicine, but acupuncture and massage as well, in even its largest cities, but in current-day India, these sorts of treatments are more prominent in villages and more remote areas. This is likely due to the more direct contact with nature these rural communities have, lack of access to modern technology, and cost of biomedical care.