Roman Hovsepyan, Head of the Scientific Department of the University of Traditional Medicine, Ph.d. in Biology , is an ethnobotanist by profession, studying the use of plants for nutritional, therapeutic and other purposes.
"My research is of interdisciplinary nature: archeobotany, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, etc. My publications mainly refer to the study of the processes of cultivation, foraging and use of plants in the South Caucasus in the past in situational and historical terms," says Roman Hovsepyan, referring to his scientific activity.
Since 2013, Roman Hovsepyan studies the folk medicinal traditions of the communities living in Armenia. The studies that are of an interdisciplinary nature are carried out within the framework of cooperation with specialists of different fields of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography and Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.
"We have published articles on the folk medical traditions of the Yezidis and Kurds of Armenia and the Armenians of the Tatev community of Syunik," says Roman Hovsepyan and adds that while working at the University of Traditional Medicine, within the framework of cooperation with Dr. Nina Stepanyan-Ghandilyan, a partner of the Institute of Botany, studies the traditions of Molokans’ folk medicine in Armenia. He informs that in September 2020, field ethnographic and botanical investigations were carried out, on the basis of which an article is currently being prepared.
How herbal medicine is perceived today as a traditional medicine, whether he has carried out any of researches referring this question, referring to the issues, Head of the Scientific Department of UTM Roman Hovsepyan mentioned.
"It is a difficult question that we had to ask ourselves when started our research on traditional medicine. First, the concept of traditional medicine is different․ Different social strata and professional groups interpret it differently. For some people, traditional medicine is the folk medical knowledge and skills passed to them by the community elders, for others, it is a variety of alternative therapies that have been started in different parts of the world and may not be popular at all.”
According to him, people's attitude towards traditional medicine depends first of all on the perception of that very concept.
"Ordinary people usually believe in medicine based on the folk medical traditions of their community, rather than on medical practices of foreign origin. People mostly trust the traditions of their community elders. However, the situation is actually more complicated and multi-layered. In particular, it is worth examining the trust of Armenians towards "official" written sources (books, articles, TV and radio programs, internet, posters, etc.), which may be conditioned by the anti-folklore, anti-traditional propaganda existing in the Soviet period." According to Roman Hovsepyan, the head of the scientific department of UTM, globalization processes, tourism and the Internet also play a role in shaping people's attitudes towards the traditional medicine. Let us inform you that an article on these issues was published in the American "Ethnobiology Letters" periodical, which you should get acquainted with by following this link: https://ojs.ethnobiology.org/index.php/ebl/article/view/1266?fbclid=IwAR090kOO0j40Jdel9m-oLMENAJrSQ_Z3xiPCZrZscKqtbBjoiYmMN2Le8-8
According to the head of the scientific department of UTM, traditional medicine, if not specified by country, region, community or culture, may include different branches of traditional medicine of different peoples: herbal medicine, mineral therapy, acupuncture, etc. The directions (or separate pieces of knowledge) of traditional medicine that are scientifically proven, have passed scientific examination, are acceptable in modern medicine and are widely used in public health in our times.
Another article by Roman Hovsepyan, "Plant-gathering and herbal medicine in the life of the Yezidis of Armenia" with this link: