Intergenerational Transfer of Ethnic Medicine Knowledge by Tribal Communities of Malappuram District in Kerala, India
Asian Journal of Agricultural Extension, Economics & Sociology,
The present study aimed to study the intergenerational transfer of the ethnic medicines related knowledge among the tribes people of Kerala. The study was conducted among three tribal communities in the Malappuram district of Kerala, a district that has a high number of tribal communities. Paniyans, Aranadans, and Kattunaikkans are the predominant tribal communities in Malappuram. These communities are living on the fringes of Nilambur forests and depend on the forest for their livelihood. The study showed that 36.7% of elderly tribespeople have ethnic medicine knowledge compared to middle-aged (27.54%) and young people (26. 15%). Further, the young tribespeople shared about 97 citations (single or combinations of medicinal plants to treat a particular ailment/ for a single health condition), making an average of 5.7 citations per young person. Middle-aged tribespeople shared a total of 87 citations, which created an average of 4.58 citations per middle-aged person. And among the elderly category, they shared about 144 citations, which made the largest average citation of 8.47 among all the three age categories. The respondents with ethnic medicine knowledge were further asked whether they were ready to pass this knowledge to the next generation or not. The majority (51%) of respondents responded that they would pass the knowledge to the next generation only if they showed interest in it. 41.5% of the respondents expressed that they are ready to pass their knowledge to the next generation, and 8 percent of the respondents would never pass their knowledge to the next generation. A chi-square test was done to know the significance of the relationship between age and readiness.
The test revealed that there is a significant relationship between the variable's age and their readiness to share their ethnic medicine knowledge. That is, the elderly tribal people are less ready to share their ethnic medicine knowledge with others. The study also documented the ethnic medicine knowledge of the tribal respondents in three age groups. It was found that the old age tribes people know the usage of 75 plant species to cure various diseases and also for different health conditions, whereas the middle-aged group of tribespeople expressed about 44 plants and young people shared only 30 plants. The study indicated that the ethnic medicine knowledge of tribespeople is decreasing from the old generation to the young generation. Serious efforts should be taken to conserve this valuable knowledge.
- Ethnic medicine
- knowledge transfer
How to Cite
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