Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Under the aegis of the World Health Organization, the Movement for Global Mental Health and an Indian Supreme Court ruling, biomedical psychiatric interventions have expanded in India augmenting biomedical hegemony in a place that is known for its variety of healing modalities. This is occurring despite the fact that studies by the WHO show a better outcome in India for people suffering schizophrenia and related diagnoses when compared to people in developed countries who have greater access to biomedical psychiatry. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine in Kerala have been mounting a claim for a significant role in public mental health in the face of this growing hegemony.

This study examines efforts by ayurvedic practitioners to expand access to ayurvedic mental health services in Kerala, and profiles a rehabilitation center which combines biomedical and ayurvedic therapies and has been a key player in efforts to expand the use of Ayurveda for mental health. The paper argues for maintaining a pluralistic healing environment for treating mental illness rather than displacing other healing modalities in favor of a biomedical psychiatric approach.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Anthropology & Medicine on September 2, 2020, available online:



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.