Wednesday, January 6, 2010

traditional remedies promoted in Bolivia

Good news from Bolivia. From the Latin American Herald Tribune
"Bolivia’s socialist government has inaugurated two “inter-cultural” pharmacies in the Andean highlands that will sell both conventional drugs produced by the pharmaceutical industry and plant-based medicines used by Indian healers known as “kallawayas.”
Health Minister Ramiro Tapia said this is the start of a broader effort to distribute these traditional remedies in pharmacies nationwide.
In addition to these inter-cultural pharmacies, the Health Ministry is planning to set up a herbalist’s shop, a germplasm bank and a pilot center for growing and preserving these medicinal plants.
Tapia said the project is consistent with provisions of the new Bolivian constitution – enacted by President Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of this Indian-majority country, in February – that state that natural medicines must be valued, respected and promoted.
The president of the Bolivian Federation of Traditional Doctors, Eduardo Fernandez, told Efe that natural remedies are used to combat respiratory, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, nervous system, ophthalmological and other ailments.
He said that, because they are completely organic, these medicines “are metabolized and the body assimilates them more easily.”
Imagine that  - natural medicines must be valued, respected and promoted. What happens here? Have you heard of any traditional remedies or natural medicine being offered. I have been to a hui where traditional healing and natural remedies were presented, from a western trained maori doctor. I asked how the two worldviews could be reconcilled. He said that there can be conflict. The Bolivians have shown a way to work through that conflict. We could do it here. Our bush is chocker with medicinal plants. Just think of manuka honey. It's not about comodifying anything but working with the indigenous people, in proper partnership. And that requires us to value, respect and promote maori.

Hat tip Traditional Knowledge Bulletin blog

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