Jamaican Folk Medicine: A Source of Healing

Jamaican Folk Medicine: A Source of Healing

Jamaican Folk Medicine: A Source of Healing

Jamaican Folk Medicine: A Source of Healing

Synopsis

This pioneering work is multi-disciplinary in approach as it examines the rich folk medicine of Jamaican. The authors analyse the historical and linguistic aspects of folk medicine, based on their research, extensive fieldwork and interviews. They explore the sociological and ethnological dimensions of common healing practices and Jamaica's biodiversity, in both flora and in fauna. As is the case with other aspects of Jamaican traditional culture, Jamaican folk medicine is largely misunderstood and subject to negative pejorative attitudes. This comprehensive study challenges some of the myths and misinformation. Particular attention is paid to cultural transference from Africa and the use of herbals in African-Jamaican religions. The comprehensive book is of academic value to teachers, students and researchers, and can also aid practitioners and policy makers in the field of health and healing. The work has an appendix and glossary as well as a detailed bibliography.

Excerpt

This book is the result of collaborative work by the co-authors. We had both been working independently on various aspects of Jamaican culture, and it was our common interest in folk medicine that brought us together in 1989. We set in motion a systematic research programme under the aegis of an exchange protocol between Howard University and the University of the West Indies. It was a very complementary relationship, the one interested in the sociological and ethnological dimensions of folk medicine and in herbals, the other in linguistic aspects, in history and in the underlying philosophical structures of folk medicine.

It was the strong opinion of both authors that Jamaica was an extremely fruitful location in which to conduct folk-medicine research. No comprehensive single publication has brought all the issues and dimensions of folk medicine together under one cover. It seemed vitally important that the case of Jamaica be fully added to the literature of medical anthropology and that the extensive folk pharmacopoeia based on herbals be more widely known. Indeed, besides its academic value to teachers, students and researchers, such a publication would aid health and healing practitioners and policy makers in carrying out their work.

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