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Indigenous narratives of health: (re)placing folk-medicine within Irish health histories.

Foley R - J Med Humanit (2015)

Bottom Line: The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities.While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices.The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Rhetoric House, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, ronan.foley@nuim.ie.

ABSTRACT
With the increased acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within society, new research reflects deeper folk health histories beyond formal medical spaces. The contested relationships between formal and informal medicine have deep provenance and as scientific medicine began to professionalise in the 19th century, lay health knowledges were simultaneously absorbed and disempowered (Porter 1997). In particular, the 'medical gaze' and the responses of informal medicine to this gaze were framed around themes of power, regulation, authenticity and narrative reputation. These responses were emplaced and mobile; enacted within multiple settings by multiple agents and structures over time. The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities. While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices. The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

No MeSH data available.


Coltsfoot (Source: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de)
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Fig4: Coltsfoot (Source: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de)

Mentions: In considering a demand for folk medicine, Cox’s (2010) description of the medical marketplace in Ireland from 1750 to 1950 demonstrated the existence of a hybrid setting where folk and scientific cures were equally used, a forerunner perhaps of the online medical marketplaces of the early 21st century. Herbal medicines were central to folk-medicine and drew from pharmacopeias of considerable range. The violet was used in Ulster as a cure for cancer by dint of stewing and drinking of the liquid and the same applied to coltsfoot (Fig. 4) as a cure for asthma and lung disorders (Ballard 2008). This simple form of extracting concentrated therapeutic materials from original herbal form would not be unfamiliar to a modern pharmacist. Poultices, evident in forms such as eel-skin bandages from Lough Neagh, have parallels in many cultures (Ballard 2008). In such rural settings, the relationships between the authenticity of a folk medical practice/cure was cemented by their perceived efficacy as well as a place-specific sourcing of materials considered to be curative.Fig. 4


Indigenous narratives of health: (re)placing folk-medicine within Irish health histories.

Foley R - J Med Humanit (2015)

Coltsfoot (Source: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de)
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4352604&req=5

Fig4: Coltsfoot (Source: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de)
Mentions: In considering a demand for folk medicine, Cox’s (2010) description of the medical marketplace in Ireland from 1750 to 1950 demonstrated the existence of a hybrid setting where folk and scientific cures were equally used, a forerunner perhaps of the online medical marketplaces of the early 21st century. Herbal medicines were central to folk-medicine and drew from pharmacopeias of considerable range. The violet was used in Ulster as a cure for cancer by dint of stewing and drinking of the liquid and the same applied to coltsfoot (Fig. 4) as a cure for asthma and lung disorders (Ballard 2008). This simple form of extracting concentrated therapeutic materials from original herbal form would not be unfamiliar to a modern pharmacist. Poultices, evident in forms such as eel-skin bandages from Lough Neagh, have parallels in many cultures (Ballard 2008). In such rural settings, the relationships between the authenticity of a folk medical practice/cure was cemented by their perceived efficacy as well as a place-specific sourcing of materials considered to be curative.Fig. 4

Bottom Line: The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities.While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices.The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Geography, Rhetoric House, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland, ronan.foley@nuim.ie.

ABSTRACT
With the increased acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within society, new research reflects deeper folk health histories beyond formal medical spaces. The contested relationships between formal and informal medicine have deep provenance and as scientific medicine began to professionalise in the 19th century, lay health knowledges were simultaneously absorbed and disempowered (Porter 1997). In particular, the 'medical gaze' and the responses of informal medicine to this gaze were framed around themes of power, regulation, authenticity and narrative reputation. These responses were emplaced and mobile; enacted within multiple settings by multiple agents and structures over time. The work is drawn from secondary material from Ireland, which identify more indigenous narratives of health and act as potential sources for medical humanities. While assumptions have been made as to the place of folk-medicine being essentially rural, evidence will be presented which shows a more complex network of health beliefs and practices. The narratives of informal practice and folk-medicine drawn from evidence from Ireland point to more fluid and hybrid relations with formal medicine and suggest that the complementary nature of the two models reflected wider cultural debates and models of belief (Del Casino Jnr., Health & Place 10:59-73, 2004).

No MeSH data available.