Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 6, 2021

Knowledge, attitude and perception of complementary and alternative system of medicine in Tamilnadu and Pudhucherry, South India

  • Poonguzhali Shanmugam , Venugopal Vijayakumar , Sadhana Socrates , Sankaralingam Thirupathy Venkateswaran and Maheshkumar Kuppusamy EMAIL logo



Complementary and Alternate medicine (CAM) remains as the major source of healthcare for majority of the Indian population. This widespread resource needs to be strengthened, adequately trained and effectively utilized in the national health care delivery system for delivering an integrated and effective health care system.


A cross sectional study was conducted involving 200 adults in two different settings-a community setting (n=100), and a hospital setting (n=100). A semi-structured questionnaire was used.


Both in the community and in the hospital, siddha (80%) was the most well-known system of medicine, followed by Yoga (72%) and Naturopathy in the study population. However, the knowledge about the various available CAM therapies still seemed to be limited.


Opinion on the integrated approach along with conventional medicine was welcoming. Still more awareness about these systems is required to facilitate integrative medicine in healthcare settings.

Corresponding author: Dr. Maheshkumar Kuppusamy, BNYS, Msc, PhD, Assistant Medical Office/Lecture Grade II, Department of Physiology & Biochemistry, Govt. Yoga & Naturopathy Medical College & Hospital, The Tamilnadu Dr.MGR Medical University, Chennai, 600106, India, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: None declared.


1. Burton, A, Smith, M, Falkenberg, T. Building WHO’s global strategy for traditional medicine. Eur J Integr Med 2015;7:13–5. in Google Scholar

2. Bodeker, G. Lessons on integration from the developing world’s experience traditional medicine. BMJ 2001;322:164–7. in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

3. Chowdhury, S, Kundu, P. Alternate systems of medicine in India—how pervasive and why? J Health Manag 2018;20:178–89. in Google Scholar

4. World Health Organization. WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine, 2019. 2019. [Accessed 3 May 2020].Search in Google Scholar

5. Samal, J. Situational analysis and future directions of AYUSH: an assessment through 5-year plans of India. J Intercult Ethnopharmacol 2015;4:348. in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

6. Wardle, JL, Adams, J, Lui, C-W, Steel, AE. Current challenges and future directions for naturopathic medicine in Australia: a qualitative examination of perceptions and experiences from grassroots practice. BMC Compl Alternative Med 2013;13:15. in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

7. Vijayakumar, V, Mooventhan, A, Ilavarasu, JV. Guidelines for ayush and non-AYUSH researchers for designing and reporting research studies. Ancient Sci Life 2018;37:173.10.4103/asl.ASL_54_19Search in Google Scholar

8. Maheshkumar, K, Venugopal, V, Poonguzhali, S, Mangaiarkarasi, N, Venkateswaran, S, Manavalan, N. Trends in the use of Yoga and Naturopathy based lifestyle clinics for the management of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Tamilnadu, South India. Clin Epidemiol Glob Health 2020;8:647–51.10.1016/j.cegh.2019.09.013Search in Google Scholar

9. Banerji, D. The political economy of the introduction of western medicine in India and preexisting health practices. Int J Health Serv 2009;39:803–9. in Google Scholar

10. Bishop, FL, Lewith, GT. Who uses CAM? A narrative review of demographic characteristics and health factors associated with CAM use. Evid-Based Compl Altern Med 2010;7:11–28. in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

11. Panchal, G, Mehta, A, Panchal, J, Balat, J, Nair, G. Knowledge, attitude and practice of non-medicinal alternative therapy in general population of Ahmedabad, India. J Clin Exp Res 2014;2:115–20. in Google Scholar

12. Roy, V, Gupta, M, Ghosh, RK. Perception, attitude and usage of complementary and alternative medicine among doctors and patients in a tertiary care hospital in India. Indian J Pharmacol 2015;47:137. in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

13. Singhal, S, Roy, V. Awareness, practice and views about integrating AYUSH in allopathic curriculum of allopathic doctors and interns in a tertiary care teaching hospital in New Delhi, India. J Integr Med 2018;16:113–9. in Google Scholar PubMed

Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (

Received: 2020-06-15
Accepted: 2021-02-03
Published Online: 2021-05-06

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 29.3.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow