Health Ecology: Health, Culture, and Human-Environment Interaction

By Morteza Honari; Thomas Boleyn | Go to book overview

10

Health ecology and the biodiversity of natural medicine

Perspectives from traditional and complementary health systems

Gerard Bodeker

Abstract

Many of the approaches used in 'alternative' or 'complementary' medicine in North America, Western Europe and Australasia have their origins in long-standing traditional forms of health care from what are now known as developing countries.

According to the World Health Organisation, these traditions continue to serve the health needs of between 60 and 80 per cent of the population in their countries of origin.

International conservation organisations, such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have declared that the world's medicinal plant stocks are endangered through deforestation and over-harvesting.

In order to ensure sustainability in plant-based or natural health care strategies for future generations, policy makers will need to address the fundamental interaction between health and biodiversity. This will require new bilateral and multilateral investments in medicinal plant conservation and cultivation. It will also require strengthening-in some countries, creating-policies and an organisational infrastructure for the development of traditional medicine. Finally, it will require the generation of new and affordable clinical research methodologies along with national policies for ensuring the safety and efficacy of plant-based medicines.

An integrated approach to health and biodiversity planning is essential if sustainability is to be achieved in the traditional approaches to health care that continue to serve the majority of the population in developing countries and in the alternative approaches which serve a growing proportion of the population of industrialised nations.


Traditional health systems: policy, biodiversity and global inter-dependence

Many of the approaches used in 'alternative' or 'complementary' medicine in North America and Western Europe have their origins in long-standing

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Health Ecology: Health, Culture, and Human-Environment Interaction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures x
  • Tables xii
  • 1 - Health Ecology: 1
  • Part I - Health in Macro Ecosystems 35
  • 2 - Good Planets Are Hard to Find 37
  • 3 - Health and Conservation 59
  • 4 - Human Health as an Ecological Problem 79
  • 5 - Health Through Sustainable Development 112
  • 6 - Health and Political Ecology 135
  • Part II - Health in Micro Ecosystems 151
  • 7 - Health of Women 153
  • 8 - Health of Children 175
  • 9 - Healthy Homes 193
  • Part III - Selected Case Studies 207
  • 10 - Health Ecology and the Biodiversity of Natural Medicine 209
  • 11 - Health of Rural and Urban Communities in Developing Countries 227
  • 12 - Health and Psychology of Water 250
  • 13 - Health Impact Assessment in Flanders 258
  • Index 267
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