Download PDF by Stefan Ecks: Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism in India

By Stefan Ecks

A Hindu monk in Calcutta refuses to take his psychotropic medicines. His psychiatrist explains that simply as his physique wishes nutrients, the medicine are meals for his starved brain. Does it subject how—or whether—patients comprehend their pharmaceuticals?

Millions of individuals in India are oftentimes prescribed temper medicines. Pharmaceutical businesses provide medical professionals powerful incentives to put in writing as many prescriptions as attainable, with as little awkward wondering from sufferers as attainable. and not using a sustained public debate on psychopharmaceuticals in India, sufferers stay questioned via the concept that medicinal drugs can healing disturbances of the brain. whereas biomedical psychopharmaceuticals are perceived with nice suspicion, many non-biomedical remedies are embraced.

Stefan Ecks illuminates how biomedical, Ayurvedic, and homeopathic remedies are utilized in India, and argues that pharmaceutical pluralism alterations renowned rules of what medicinal drugs do. in response to numerous years of study on pharmaceutical markets, Ecks indicates how medical professionals hire quite a lot of ideas to make sufferers take the treatments prescribed. but whereas metaphors resembling "mind nutrients" could achieve getting sufferers to just accept the prescriptions, additionally they imprecise a severe expertise of drug effects.

This infrequent ethnography of prescribed drugs should be of key curiosity to these within the anthropology and sociology of drugs, pharmacology, psychological future health, bioethics, worldwide health and wellbeing, and South Asian reviews.

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In an early ethnography of rural Bengal written in the 1920s, Biren Bonnerjea (1927: 130-44) devoted the bulk of his chapter on popular medicine to the evil eye. In Calcutta today, evil eye beliefs are still common, not only in relation to health but also in relation to career success. A direct connection exists between the evil eye and digestive illness. A popular saying exists that accuses the glance of “greedy” people of causing gastric trouble: O khub lobhi, pet kharap habe (“He is so greedy, bad stomach will happen”).

In the Upanishads, and also in later philosophical streams such as Samkhya, Yoga, and Advaita Vedanta, mon is distinguished from cit (consciousness). The mind is influenced by sensory perceptions, whereas consciousness transcends them as illusions. The states of the mind are linked to food, drink, and outer experiences, whereas consciousness remains a witness, pure and unaffected (Gupta 2003: 34). In the Katha-Upanishad—written after the fifth century BC and the most famous in the canon—the mind (manas) appears in the metaphor of a chariot (Katha Upanishad 3, 3-4).

Too much exercise, too many stimulating things, too much sunlight, too much salt, and bitter-tasting drink are prohibited. After having lunched, it is necessary to take rest, in an area with plenty of air. At night, sleeping in an area with plenty of cool air is good for getting rid of tiredness and weakness. (Panjika 2000: Dinapanjika, 5) These recommendations for seasonal self-care are based on the observation that the heat of the sun dries both the land and the bodies of humans and animals. ” Hence it is recommended to take food that is watery and fatty to increase cooling kapha.

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Eating Drugs: Psychopharmaceutical Pluralism in India by Stefan Ecks


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