Ethnomedicine: Medicinal Beliefs and Practices in Different Cultures

Topics: Ayahuasca, Shamanism, Culture Pages: 4 (1396 words) Published: October 10, 2012
Since the beginning of man, there have been ailments that have plagued the human race without concern of who it is inflicting or why they occur. These ailments had to have been combated by some sort of medicine by each culture and their remedies must have been plenty. The plethora of different kinds of medicines and remedies to these ailments among the different kinds of cultures is what we, Team Bloodnut, define as ethnomedicine. Many cultures throughout the world practice some form of ethnomedicine. A field of anthropological research, ethnomedicine seeks to describe the medical systems and practices utilized in different cultures. It examines the origins of what people believe cause illness, as well as examine the ways in which individual cultures treat such maladies. Team Bloodnut wanted to discover the healing beliefs and practices held by Amazonian shamans. Through the use of a life history interview, we sought to understand the traditions held by a people through the experiences of a man working with a former shaman of the tribe.Team Bloodnut formed a hypothesis regarding ethnomedicine in today’s modern world. We hypothesized that the remedies and medicines indigenous cultures use to heal the ill are unorthodox from the stand point of western civilization. Western society will view these remedies as barbarian and a total fallacy. We conducted our research through a life history interview, contacting a filmmaker named Matthew Vincent. Possessing an interest in natural medicines, Vincent spent over half a year living in Peru documenting the experiences of an American Shaman’s journey into the depths of Amazonian Shamanism. Together, they discovered the origins and methods involved in practicing shamanism in relation to this particular cultural group. Matthew trained under the ‘gringo shaman’ Ron Wheelock, learning the techniques and methods required to effectively heal members of the community in which they lived. In order to effectively film his...
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