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More Books in Anthropology See All. In Stock. Social Determinants of Indigenous Health. Aboriginal Australians A History Since Aboriginal Australia Wall Map Large. Guns, Germs and Steel Patterns of Life. Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind. Popular Searches medical book store melbourne the gene an intimate history women in history book the peaceful warrior book history of feminism in australia. Item Added: Medical Pluralism in the Andes. View Wishlist. Another example is the magic mushrooms of Oaxaca, similar to the Peyote in which the consumer enters a psychedelic state and is able to allow the mushrooms to heal themselves spiritually and physically.

Ayahuasca is an Amazonian plant mixture that is capable of inducing altered states of consciousness, usually lasting between 4 to 8 hours after ingestion. The drink is taken in the form of tea, typically in a ceremonial session under the guidance of an experienced drinker. This vine is combined with a variety of plants that contain the psychedelic drug DMT.

Coca, tobacco and alcohol can also be considered healing substances and are more prevalent across cultures than the aforementioned drugs. Ethnobotany The study of native plants that is used by a particular culture. The study of these plants is used to garner accurate understanding of their medical potential and cultural usage.

An ethnobotanist's job is to travel to different locations in the world for the purpose of studying the relationships between plants and culture. Their knowledge is gleaned from the perspective and information provided by the culture with which the plant is used. Ethnobotanists look for plants which effectively treat disease or relieve symptoms. These plants can then be synthesized into medication to provide treatment for other populations.

The roots of ethnobotany can be traced back to an ancient Greek surgeon named Dioscorides. He was the first person to organize plants into specific classifications. This botanical reference book compartmentalized approximately plants. It also included facts about the plants such as; what season it was in bloom, how to use it medicinally, its toxicity level and whether or not it was edible. Another important figure in the development of ethnobotany was John Ray.

He was the first person to understand and explain the concept of species; he also produced important publications such as, Catalogue of Cambridge Plants, Synopsis Methodica Avium et Piscium and Methodus Plantarum works were published between — The methods for categorizing plants continued to develop and it reached its apex with a Swedish medical student named Carl Linnaeus.

Linnaeus invented the classification system known as taxonomy. This system of classifying organisms is still utilized in contemporary times. His book, Species Plantarum, had listings for approximately 5, plants. The term ethnobotany was developed by John Harshberger around Harshberger was the professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent many years traveling the globe researching and cataloguing different regions native plant life. As stated previously, ethnobotany is the study of how a culture uses its indigenous plants for medicinal purposes.

An example of an idiosyncratic way of healing pertinent to ethnobotany can be seen in the religious rituals of the Bwiti. Bwiti is a religion that is practiced by the people of Gabon a country in west central Africa. This particular creed relies heavily on the use of ibogaine a powerful psychoactive which is derived from the root of the Tabernanthe ibona shrub.

Tabernanthe iboga is indigenous to Gabon and is easily accessible to people of the Bwiti religion. Iboga is most commonly ingested through chewing on the root of the shrub or brewing the plant into a tea. The plant is revered by the Bwiti because of its hallucinogenic properties which cause practitioners to receive revealing visions and deep introspective self-contemplation. Iboga is consumed for religious ceremonies, initiations, coming of age rituals and healing processes. When a person within the Bwiti community becomes ill he or she is fed iboga to get in touch with their imbwiri.

The imbwiri is a spirit represented in a human configuration which will either cure the individual or provide valuable information on the antidote. The medical potential of this drug was discovered by a man named Howard Lotsof in He realized that this substance could combat heroin and opiate addiction. It also could alleviate the painful and mentally exhausting withdrawal symptoms.

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Howard cured his own heroin addiction through this method and introduced ibogaine to his friends who were also habitual heroin users with positive results. As time progressed ibogaine was found to be useful in treating many addictions including unhealthy reliance on cocaine, crack, alcohol, methamphetamine, and nicotine. Even though this drug showed potential towards battling addiction it was outlawed in many countries including the U.

Although ibogaine has been marked illegal there are still underground clinics that provide full treatments serving the drugs medical ideology. Research on ibogaine is still being conducted today and it could eventually become a fully marketable, synthesized anti-addiction medication. Ayahuasca For thousands of years Amazonian shamans have been concocting and administering one of the most powerful psychoactive substances on earth.

The main psychoactive ingredient in Ayahuasca is DMT, and users report life-changing trips, often involving out of body experiences and extraterrestrial contact. Ayahuasca remains a schedule 1 drug in the U. The brew is made by mixing Banisteriopsis caapi, which contains the DMT, with Psychotria Viridis, which contains MAO inhibiting alkaloids and allows for oral ingestion. Ayahuasca is gaining popularity in the western world as people attempt to create centers in the U. The Candlenut Tree The Kukui or Candlenut tree, is an example of an indigenous plant used by a culture for food, medicine, and other purposes.

Native Hawaiians used the nut, sap, and leaves for various everyday uses. The nut, which produces copious amounts of oil, was strung onto palm fronds and used a torch or candle thus the name Candlenut. The nut was also roasted and sprinkled on food for added flavor, but it was also known to have laxative properties. The sap of the green nut was spread on cuts and cold sores to speed up healing.

The leaves and flowers were used for making lei. As a child growing up in Hawaii, my friends and I made spinning tops out of the shell of the nut. Many visitors to Hawaii would recognize the Kukui nut as the black, shiny nut strung on ribbon to make a lei that lasts indefinitely. The unique part about this tree is that all of the components of the tree are toxic, but the seed, leaves, flowers and bark can be all be used in medicine systems if used in the correct way.

The candlenut tree provides a multitude of uses including health benefits, decoration, jewelry making, and more. It is found in West Africa, specifically Senegal. This drinking herb has a positive impact on the population drinking it. Kinkiliba is the most common herbal tea found throughout West Africa. Many West-Africans begin their morning with a cup of this powerful tea that is great for maintaining general health and well-being.

Kinkiliba is known to aid in the treatment of fevers, colds, aches, pains, and the flu; but is also used to aid weight loss, sleep loss, and even cancer. This herb is a natural diuretic and helps to speed up the healing process when one is ill. One may also apply solutions of the leaves or the roots to speed up the healing of old wounds. This miracle tea is also known to prevent malaria and lower blood pressure. The herb serves as an antibacterial and antispasmodic as well. Kelle khaya senegalensis is a common herb used throughout West Africa for a body cleanser and energy booster.

West Africans soak the bark in water and drink the mixture for a general detoxification and intestinal cleanser. Kelle is also used to bring down fevers and to combat general fatigue. Khaya senegalensis is very effective when it is used as a body cleanser or an energy booster, but it also has other uses. For example, the seeds and leaves can be used to treat fevers and headaches, and the roots can help with the treatment of mental illness or as an aphrodisiac. In conjunction with various astringents, it is helpful for coughs, sore throat, and catarrh excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat, associated with inflammation of the mucous membrane.

The mucilage makes a good vehicle for other medicines, in addition to having nutritional value in its own right. However, most of the gum arabic imported to USA goes to the food industry to give body and texture to products for bakers and a hard sheen coating on candies. Marijuana has an extensive medical and shamanic history throughout a multitude of cultures.

Other cultures such as the Egyptians, going as far back as BC, have made use of cannabis. It was found in the tomb of Ramesses II. Ancient Egypt would often use marijuana for a myriad of issues such as inflammation, psychological problems, treat glaucoma, cataracts, hemorrhoids, vaginal bleeding, in addition to many other issues. In modern America, the homeopathic potential of cannabis only just began to be recognized in when Oregon decriminalized the use of marijuana. Recently the use of medical marijuana has become much more widespread across the country.

The most common use for medicinal cannabis is pain management, specifically for patients with long term illnesses, such as cancer. Muscle spams can be much improved with the use of medicinal marijuana, especially in the case of treating multiple sclerosis. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD in marijuana is the non-psychoactive, medicinal part of the cannabis plant. In conclusion, marijuana has numerous medicinal properties that have been respected and cultivated by cultures throughout our long human history. Native to North America and has long been used by the Plains Indians for its medicinal properties.

It is believed to shorten the duration of a cold and treat many of the symptoms such as coughing, sore throats, and headaches. Recent studies have suggested that Echinacea has little or no effect on the duration or severity of a cold, and it is merely taken to provide some sort of comfort to the sick person, in many ways a placebo.

The effectiveness of Echinacea is still a subject of debate, but it remains a culturally important remedy in North American ethnobotany. Also known as Orange-root, Orangeroot, or Hydrastis Canadensis, is a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States and is another prominent herb used in North America.

Goldenseal was in extensive use among certain Native American tribes of North America, both as a medicine and as a coloring material. Goldenseal was extensively used for cancers and swellings of the breasts by the Eclectics, although it was not considered sufficient for cancer alone [1]. Also known as taxus brevifoila or the Western Yew, is a small fir like a tree that can be identified by its flaky bark, as well as its flat needles that protrude horizontally from either side of the twig. It is usually found in shaded environments alongside trees such as Douglas firs and hemlock.

In recent years Yew bark has become famous for containing a cancer-fighting compound called Taxol that slows or stops cell replication in cancer cells. It is most commonly used in the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancer. Turner, Nancy J. Another form of ethnobotany that has been on the rise in popularity in the United States is the use of 'essential oils'. Those who use them believe that they are nature's medicine, and if used properly can treat many infections and ailments, replacing or assisting modern medicine. Through laboratory studies, scientists have found that these oils contain antiseptic and skin permeability properties.

Certain essential oils can be even more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics due to their complex chemical makeup. One popular way that essential oils are used is through aromatherapy. Many are still skeptical of its use, the FDA has not approved of the oils act as medicine. However, use of plants has been the way that many cultures have historically gone about creating medicine, and the effectiveness of essential oils has been proven to many who choose to fight their ailments a more natural way.

Some examples of essential oils are Lemongrass, peppermint, orange, and countless others all of which can be used in different ways. Essential oils are starting to become more well known and potentially used on an everyday basis for some, and they are easy to find at pretty much any local grocery store or market. Although most individual ethnomedical practices have been criticized for various traits they possess e. This argument criticized the mental orientation of most forms of ethnomedicine. Biologist Horacio Fabrega Jr.

The implicit assumption adopted by the researcher is that he is dealing with a disorder that is either typically psychiatric or at least psychiatric-like. Excessive preoccupation with this dimension on the part of culturally oriented anthropologists has tended to obscure the influences that biological components have on [culturally defines] illnesses.

Consequently, the potential of examining the reciprocal influences that psych culture and biological factors have on instances of illness occurrence [as defined and categorized by subjects] has been missed. Doctors and anthropologist who practice ethnomedicine experience criticism for making the assumption that an ailment can be cured using ethnomedicine without weighing the possibility of biological medicine. Biopiracy is the exploitation of plant and animal species by foreign entities to restrict their general use.

There are two parts to biopiracy, being bioprospecting that exploits plant and animal species by claiming patents to restrict their general use. The second piece is the 'piracy', this takes place when individuals or corporations patent these plants and the methods of processing plant based substances, aromas or the genetic information for their exclusive use and sale. The patent often prohibits the communities that identified or actively use the bio active properties, developed processing and extractive technologies and bred the plants, for personal use or sale.

A related concept is bioprospecting. This term is sometimes used to refer to biopiracy with a less negative connotation, where the assumption is the patented item had a known use already. Alternately, the bioprospecting company is searching for novel compounds or genes in items that were not used traditionally. Companies can harvest plants or organisms with little to no opposition in some parts of the world, and then patent any part of them that ends up being useful. An example of biopiracy was the basmati rice patenting! Basmati is a variety of long, slender-grained aromatic rice which is traditionally from the Indian subcontinent.

There have been many efforts by the Indian government to reclaim the use to their traditional rice grain and to some avail. In one attempt the Indian government filed fifty-thousand pages of evidence to prove that high quality basmati rice varieties already contain the qualities that Rice Tec Inc had patented. Naturalistic Systems can be an approach to the explanation, diagnosis, and treatment of illness which focuses on the underlying bio-mechanical processes behind human disorder.

Naturalistic medicine is largely the foundation of the Western model of bio-medicine and practitioners rely heavily on the use of imaging technologies and the scientific method to develop treatment plans. Philosophically, naturalists approach human disorder from the perspective that illness is impersonal and that there is always an identifiable source of pathology in the diagnostic process. Largely uncommon in the developed world, the personalistic approach to medicine explains human disorder in terms of preternatural sources of pathology such as spiritual possession or religious transgression.

Illness is considered unique to the patient and medical practitioners often call upon supernatural forces to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of disorders because the illness is caused by supernatural forces as well. Modernly, personalistic systems of medicine are most commonly found in small-scale societies. Globally, the personalist approach in decline and has disappeared completely in some cultures. For example, therapeutic shamanism was commonly practiced amongst Inuit peoples and a complex tradition of spiritual healthcare was reported by early ethnographers see Merkur These traditions are now very rarely practiced and many of the traditional practices have been lost entirely see Shamanism amongst Eskimo peoples.

Medical models are the explanations of health and illness that are accepted by different cultures. The biomedical model is the most widely accepted medical model by many cultures, including the vast majority of Western culture, but there are multiple other explanations that are accepted by some cultures. Some anthropologists believe that the biomedical model is quite provincial.

They do not believe that there is enough room for the interpretation of the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of all of the illnesses. Something called a biopsychosocial [2] model has been proposed. In this there would be more room different aspects of health care. The term Humoral refers to elements in the blood or other fluids that reside within the body. In medicine,the term humor refers to a fluid substance.


The aqueous humor is the fluid that normally resides within the front and rear chambers of the eye. The humors were part of an ancient theory that believed that health came from balance between the bodily liquids. These liquids were termed humors. If these fluids were not balanced, a person was more likely to become infected with diseases.

This theory which was also known as the humoral theory, humoralism, and humorism was devised before the time of Hippocrates c. Today pathology rests on a cellular and molecular foundation. All of the humors have been dispelled, except for the aqueous humor and vitreous humor of the eye. The theory of humors was commonly used until the nineteenth century when modern medical techniques were developed.

The health and healing system of Haiti incorporates humoral-influenced concepts from West Africa. Their system relies on monitoring and regulating their four humors hot and cold, dry and wet. Eventually their system was simplified, with the dry and wet humors being omitted. They believe a balance is necessary to maintain good health. The balance is affected by the season, how they live and especially how they eat. The shamans of the Kallawaya people, located in the Andes in Bolivia are an example of humoral medicine.

They believe that health and illness are affected by the balance of spirit and soul caused by the earth, or the goddess Pachamama. Their healing art is based in their ability to look into the lives of the ill to see patterns in the day to day aspects such as work, health, routines and relationships and to recognize where there are imbalances. Shamans make use of music, dance, and animal sacrifice to help appease the divine, thus curing illness.

The shamans use many herbs, for instance most of the Kallawaya healers have knowledge of at least herbs. They also incorporate alcohol and ayahuasca, which, with the guidance of the shaman, can produce a drug-induced state of healing [6]. Ayurveda is a year old traditional system of medicine in India that originated during the Vedic period of Indian history. Ayurveda is a humoral system, in which blood, chyle, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and semen are the primary elements.

These are divided into air or spirit , phlegm, and bile, each of which represent a divine force, or dosha. The three doshas are vata air , pitta bile and kapha phlegm. According to Ayurveda, humans are dominated by one or two of these doshas. Having a balance between the three means that one is in complete health. This balance is achieved through moderation of sleep, sexual intercourse, medicine, and food. Different types of foods are beneficial to people of different doshas. When the doshas are too far out of balance, it can lead to both physical and mental sickness.

Ayurvedic practices include hygienic rituals, ingestion of certain foods and herbs as treatments, and yoga or meditation. The balance between the physical and mental is an important aspect of Ayurvedic healing. Spiritual healing practices transmit energy to a person in need through means of meditation, prayer, or the presence of a healer, and provide an alternative to standard medical procedures.

It is part of the holistic approach to healing which involves the unification and harmony of the mind, body, and spirit in order to achieve wellness. Sickness often originates in the mind so spiritual healing can be beneficial in alleviating stress, coping with emotional issues, and increasing overall happiness. The absence of such mental problems can eliminate physical troubles.

Medical Pluralism in the Andes

For example, meditation aids in lowering heart rate, decreasing high blood pressure, and lessening cholesterol levels because it clears and calms the mind to the extent that stress does not affect the physical state of the body. A popular and recommended act of spiritual healing, is found in Yoga. It has been said by many that it allows and gives a sense of self-awareness, benefits to positive mental presentation, and overall encourages personal strength and confidence through living a spiritual and healthy lifestyle.

Another act of spiritualism comes through shamanism and shamanistic rituals. The shaman is a person in the community who has been given the power of healing sometimes through divine annunciation, Where god or some form of a deity gives the person the ability to heal. This healing can come in several forms, that of rituals that give the shaman the power to heal, such as the trance dance or boiling energy that the!

Kung perform. Another for comes as herbs and medicine that the healer gets knowledge about from the divine connection that they have. Religion often plays a role in spiritual healing in that people form a relationship with a higher source and are able to channel energy from such a source. This being could be God, nature, or something else meaningful to the individual. It is important to note that if the individual who chooses to form this connection holds full commitment and trust in the higher source, feelings of security, peace of mind, and guidance and are likely to follow, all of which are essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A popular form of spiritual healing is found in Kundalini Tantric Yoga, practiced in various parts of India and the United States. Kundalini energy refers to dormant or spiritual energy within the body that we are usually unaware of. Once Kundalini energy is activated through deep meditation and yoga, the Nadi system, referring to channels of Kundalini energy, is activated as well. This creates a connection between the seven levels of chakras; the centers of consciousness potential that reside along the spine.

Each chakra corresponds to a set of desires connected to a certain element. The first of the seven chakras is called the Muladhara. Its color is red and it is said to lie between the genitals and the scrotom. It governs sexuality and instinct. The second chakra is orange and it is called the Svadhisthana. It lies on the belly and is said to govern, among other things, creativity. Manipura is the third chakra. It is yellow, lies just under the solar plex and controls one's will power.

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The fourth chakra is the Anhata. Anhata is located near and governs the heart. It is the color green. Vishuddha is the fifth. Its color is turquoise and it governs the voice. It is located in the throat. Ajna, the sixth chakra, is indigo blue. It lies in the brain and governs wisdom. The final chakra can only be tapped upon once all the other chakras have energy flowing through them.

It is called Sahasrara. It is purple and it brings enlightenment. It sits on top of the head and is said to inspire universal consciousness and unity. The goal of Kundalini Tantric yoga is to free oneself from such desires as energy moves higher and higher along the chakras, opening them until it reaches the seventh chakra, called the Sahasra Chakra, located at the top of the cranium.

A person can move energy through his or her chakras through tantric yoga, a form of yoga in which one seeks to free the mind of desires through various breathing exercises, contemplation, and meditation. When the seventh chakra is finally opened, a person is said to achieve full consciousness and liberation from the slavery of desires. Through the spiritual experiences one has encountered with the opening of each chakra, the result is inner harmony and overall happiness, which are significant aspects of living a positive, healthy lifestyle.

On a religious note, Hindu mythology offers an explanation for the movement of Kundalini energy throughout the body as one practices Tantric yoga. It is said that the serpent goddess Kundalini Shakti resides at the base of the spine, coiled up around the first chakra. As energy is activated and released through Tantric Yoga, she awakens and rises up the spine, opening the chakras along the way and energizing these conscious potentials. When she reaches the seventh chakra, she is united with her spouse, the God Shiva. Shiva is a symbol of change and the destruction of old habits.

This is the most popular medical model in medicine today and can be found all across Western societies, as well as others. It looks at humans as biological organisms in order to discover methods for curing diseases and treating illness. This model focuses mainly on physical processes such as physiology and biochemistry and disregards social or spiritual factors. Under the biomedical model, health is defined as the absence of pain or disease, and the body is treated with scientifically-based methods.

It should be noted that the Western approach to biomedical theory and practice is constantly adapting in response to new scientific and philosophical revelations regarding illness. The model focuses on the treatment and cure of disease through medical science, and does not promote disease prevention. In recent years, naturopathic medicine once largely considered at odds with orthodox bio-medicine has gained recognition as a viable facet of treatment for a wide variety of disorders.

Biomedicine is seen as a model that allows for the repair of the body and to fix problems that happen to the body from the surrounding environment. Biomedicine arose during the industrial revolution as a way to help people recover from diseases that affected them. One of the criticisms of the Western Biomedical Model is that it discounts the personal knowledge and beliefs of its participants. This leads to potential tension between health care providers and patients.

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Ethnographic example: The biomedical model has been critical in the development of our country. One of the many influences it has had was treating tuberculosis , a life threatening infectious disease. In , after studying the disease, scientists confirmed that it was contagious. Even before antibiotics this helped to dramatically decrease the number of people that died by using quarantining and sanitizing methods. In the mid 20th century, the antibiotic streptomycin was discovered and offered an effective alternative cure for tuberculosis. Many strains have become resistant to certain antibiotics, however, forcing immunologists to develop new vaccines and treatments to cure more virulent species.

The term immunization refers to rendering an organism immune to a specific communicable disease. Immunizations work by triggering the human body to produce antibodies that will help fight a particular disease. The antibody response is created by injecting a small amount of either a dead or live virus, depending on the virus into the person receiving the immunization in order to initialize a immune system response to the virus.

Therefore in the future if the person who was immunized was exposed to the virus, he or she would already have the antibodies to fend off the virus. Along with the introduction and transmission of many new complex diseases, population growth and the globalization of medicine has brought about the eradication of many previously devastating disorders, including smallpox and polio, through wider availability of immunizations. Many parents in Western countries routinely schedule immunizations for their children to prevent them from contracting a specific communicable disease. While many vaccinations are routine and readily available only in developed nations, the continued globalization of medicine will eventually have a dramatic effect on the improvement of health care in developing countries.

There is a great deal of controversy over vaccination in some cultures regarding the morality, ethics, necessity, safety, and practicality of vaccination have led some parents to keep their children from being vaccinated.

Medical Pluralism in the Andes (Theory & Practice in Medical Anthropology)

Opponents of vaccines claim that they are dangerous, ineffective, and infringe on personal rights. And example of this is the current debate over whether or not certain vaccines cause autism in children. There is a small but dedicated group of doctors who claim that vaccines may be linked to the onset of autism in children. As a result many parents are insisting their children be exempt from the mandatory vaccines although there are no medical findings which prove the link between the two.

Malaria is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes pick up malarial parasites from the blood of infected. While only one species of mosquito can carry the parasite, there exist four types of the malarial parasite leading to four types of malaria. Symptoms include fever, shivering, pain in the joints, headache, vomiting, convulsions, and coma. If an infected person is not treated, he or she can die. In recent years, globalization has increases the spread of malaria through travel, war, and urbanization.

Persons traveling to countries which have a larger rate of malaria cases can become infected and carry the disease back to their country, and malaria-carrying mosquitos can stow away on international flights to bring the disease far from infected areas.