Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 1102-07. 2008.
Consumer Behavior in Selection of
Buying Source of Siddha Medicine in
A. Krishnan,1* P. Bagyalakshimi,2
Research Department of Commerce,
author: Prof. Krishnan, PG and research Department of Commerce,
the increasing usage of traditional medicines as complementary alternative
therapy, possibilities that would ensure its successful integration into the
public domain of health care services needs to be evaluated.
KEYWORDS: Siddha Medicine; Consumer Behavior; Buying Source; Practitioners; Complementary Alternative Therapy; Age Group.
to WHO (1998) traditional medicine (TM) in
����������� Long historical use of many practices of traditional medicine, including experience passed on from generation to generation, has demonstrated the safety and efficacy of traditional medicine (CSIR, 1996). It is the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices based on theoretical knowledge, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures. Whether explicable or not, TM is used in the maintenance of health, as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illnesses (WHO, 1998). Therefore, scientific research is needed to provide supportive evidence to safety and efficacy of the complimentary alternative therapy (Krishnan et al., 2008).
����������� Siddha has been prevalent in the ancient Tamil land, is the foremost of all other medical systems in the world. Its origin dates back to BC 10,000 to BC 4,000. Siddhars contributed significantly towards the development of this system of medicine (Sambasivapillai, 1931). Siddha is largely therapeutic in nature. Originated in Tamilnadu it is practiced exclusively in the state and adjoining parts of the neighboring states. Siddha comprises of Alchemy, Philosophy, Yoga, Mantra and Astrology (Manickavasagam, 1978; Pillai, 1979). Siddha is effective in treating chronic cases of liver, skin diseases, rheumatic problems, anaemia, prostate enlargement, piles and peptic ulcer. It has been proven effective in treating several venereal diseases and AIDS (Haddad, 1998).
����������� Siddha Medicine uses five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) develop six tastes (sweet, sour, pungent, salt, spice and astringent). These six tastes conjugate with one another and build three humors (Vali, Azal and lyyam) of the body. Imbalances in these three humors cause the ailments or make man susceptible to diseases. This is said to be the fundamental rule of Panchapoothic Panchikarna Theory of Siddha philosophy (Manickavasagam, 1978). Siddhars have classified food into three kinds namely vatha, pitha and kapa. By balancing the diet one can be away from disease and cure illness. Siddhars pointed out that by taking food in correct proportion of taste, one can lead disease free life. Further, they advocated that one should be careful about food. Based on this fact it has been said that �food is medicine and medicine is food�. Since, Siddha is a natural system of medicine; it has natural remedies for all ailments. The curing of ailments is slow but remedy is permanent without any side effects. Siddha uses herbs, minerals, metals, salts and organic substances in its formulations (Hausman, 1996).
����������� The annual turnover of traditional medicinal products in 1991 was estimated to be approximately 300 million $, compared to a turnover of approximately 2.5 billion $ for modern drugs (WHO, 2002). According to Rajagopalan (1991) attitude of modern medicine practitioners towards traditional medicinal products is very poor. General practitioners are relatively unfamiliar with traditional medicinal products. However, it has been reported that public resort to traditional medicinal product if its efficacy is scientifically proven, or if no modern medicinal remedies were available for a particular disease. Invariably, people use Siddha for treatment of minor ailments such as cough, cold, diarrhoea and stomach problems (CSIR, 1996). Nevertheless, Siddha is yet to gain an empirical support of modern medical science to make it acceptable in public consumes.
����������� Consumer behavior is the study of how individuals make decision to spend their available resources (money, time and efforts) on consumption related items (Robert et al., 1968). It has been well established that socio-economic characteristics influence buying decisions (Richard, 1965; Andersen, 1968; Paul et al., 1987; Sarwade and Ambedkar, 2002). The system has been in service to humanity for more than five thousand years in combating diseases and maintaining physical, mental and moral health. Recently, there has been a resurgence of traditional medical systems the world over, based on the holistic nature of their approach to healing (WHO, 2002). The efficacy of indigenous systems has been proved in various contexts. They tend to use locally available, cost effective materials for treatment. Hence, usage of Siddha that has strong cultural and historical bonds with the people of Tamilnadu is becoming increasingly relevant. In a heterogeneous public domain, the behavior of Siddha medicine consumers is likely to be influenced by dynamic, economic, psychological and social factors. Therefore, to analyze consumer behavior with reference to Siddha medicine, socio-economic status of the consumers and other factors that influence buying decision needs to be explored. The present study aims to examine the factors that influence the public across Tamilnadu to switch over to this traditional system of medicine to meet their health care needs.
����������� It has been proposed that there exist a relationship between buying source and consumer attitude and usage of siddha medicine in Tamilnadu.
H01:� There is significant difference between sources of buying and region.
����������� Tamil Nadu is located between 8.5o and 13.35o north latitudes and 76.15o and 80.20o East longitude covers an area of 1, 30,058 sq km. Bounded on the north by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, on the west by the Western Ghats and Kerala on the east, the state has coastline of about 1,000 km. Population of according to 2001 census is 6.02 million accounting for 6.6 % population of India, with a density of 429 as against the national average of 267 per sq km. The sex ratio is 974 females for 1000 males as against the national average of 929. The literacy rate is 63.72 % against the national average of 52.11%. The decennial growth of the population is 19.59 % as against the national average of 29.3 %.
Period of Study
study was carried out in
the present study, Siddha medicine consumers were
selected. A pilot study with a view to find out suitability of information
furnished in the interview schedule for consumers. The pilot study is
undertaken with reference to 32 sample consumers from 4 regions each 8 in Tamilnadu viz., Chennai,
well structured interview schedule was used to evaluate the response from the
consumers. The questions in the interview schedule was divided into three
parts namely part I, part II and part
entire state was divided into four regions viz., Chennai, Trichy,
Collection of Data
����������� In the present study both primary and secondary data have been used. Primary data was collected from the consumers (with in the age group of 15 � 75 y) by employing an interview schedule.
Data Analysis and Statistical Tools
����������� The study is exploratory and empirical in nature. The collected data were classified and tabulated with the help of statistical packages. Percentile and Chi-square Test were used for the analysis of the data.
on rural healthcare depicts that more than 80% of people in
����������� Data presented in Table 1 indicates the age-wise respondents� sources of buying siddha medicine. More than 51.11% of the respondents below the age of 20 buy siddha medicine exclusively from Siddha medical agencies. On the other hand respondents those who fall with in the age group of 20 � 40 are influenced by siddha medical practitioners. Likewise, more than 45% of the respondents that fall with in the age group of 40 � 60 purchase the medicines directly from the Siddha medical shops. Majority of the respondents of third age group buy siddha medicine in country medical shops. Nevertheless those who fall in the last category meet their needs either from the shops or through the practitioners. �That is more than two-thirds of respondents in the last age group buy siddha medicine either in country medical shops (38.46%) or from siddha medical practitioners (42.31%).
����������� From this study it is clearly evident that the respondents of above 40 years mainly want to buy siddha medicine in country medical shops or from siddha medical practitioners. The computed chi-square value is 129.9, which is greater than its tabulated value at 1 per cent (21.7) level of significance, with its DF as 9. Further, the data reveals that there is less influence of the manufactures of Siddha medicine on the buying behavior of the respondents (19.09%). With in this value, more than 50% fall in the age group of 40 � 60, indicating that these could be due to their long term needs. Hence, it is depicted that there is a significant difference between respondents of different age groups on the buying sources of siddha medicine.
����������� Among different types of treatment modalities available to public, Siddha System of Medicine is practiced by a limited number of physicians. However, it lacks well-organized, preclinical and clinical trial evidences to advocate their scientific merit and supremacy over other existing therapies. Rajagopalan, (1991) pointed out that innovative effort is required to define the advantages of this traditional system of medicine with respect to safety and efficacy so as to popularize it in the public domain. Sarwade and Ambedkar, (2002) and Krishnan et al., (2008) pointed out that selection of buying source of Siddha medicine is one of the daunting task.
����������� Based on the results of the present study, it is concluded that more number of respondents those who fall with in the age group of 40 -60 and above meet their needs from Siddha medical practitioners and Siddha medical agencies. Further, it has to be stressed that Siddha medical practitioners play a vital role in customizing need based treatment. Hence, scientific validation of the safety and efficacy of the Siddha drugs both individually as well as formulation has to be carried out in a systematic manner to compete in the international market and provide consumer satisfaction.
Table 1. Influence of Age on Buying
Source of Siddha Medicine in TN,
Source: Primary Data, figures in parenthesis denote percentage.
Chi-Square result: Calculated Value 129.9; Degree of Freedom 9; Table Value 1% 21.7.