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Traveling Cultures and Plants

Traveling Cultures and Plants: The Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacy of Human Migrations

Andrea Pieroni
Ina Vandebroek
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Traveling Cultures and Plants
    Book Description:

    The tremendous increase in migrations and diasporas of human groups in the last decades are not only bringing along challenging issues for society, especially related to the economic and political management of multiculturalism and culturally effective health care, but they are also creating dramatic changes in traditional knowledge, believes and practices (KBP) related to (medicinal) plant use. The contributors to this volume - all internationally recognized scholars in the field of ethnobiology, transcultural pharmacy, and medical anthropology - analyze these dynamics of traditional knowledge in especially 12 selected case studies.

    Ina Vandebroek, features in Nova's "Secret Life of Scientists", answering the question:just what is ethnobotany?

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-578-9
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences, Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)
    Andrea Pieroni and Ina Vandebroek

    The research area that represents the lynchpin of this book is situated betweentranscultural health studiesand what we call todayurban ethnobotany(Balick et al.2000) . In the late 1990s, ethnobotanists became interested in urban ethnobotany when they began to realize that biocultural diversity (Maffi 2001) is not restricted to dispersed and marginal communities of the planet; it is also very much a part of metropolitan areas. Young ethnobotanists often talk of their dream to “boldly go” in the tradition of Star Trek, where no man (or woman) has gone before, to some remote and exotic tropical place where they...

  5. Chapter 1 Medicinal Plants and Cultural Variation across Dominican Rural, Urban, and Transnational Landscapes
    (pp. 14-38)
    Andreana L. Ososki, Michael J. Balick and Douglas C. Daly

    Ethnobotanical knowledge evolves as it is exchanged, transferred, and appropriated by people adapting to new surroundings and changing environments (Lee et al. 2001; Voeks and Leony 2004). As people migrate between rural and urban environments, they exchange knowledge, cultural traditions, and medicinal plants. Fixed borders do not exist between rural, urban, and transnational groups, nor do they exist between laypeople and healers, as information is shared through various channels.

    Medicinal plant knowledge is important for health care initiatives (Bodeker 1995; Bodeker and Kronenberg 2002) and conservation efforts (King 1996; Balick et al. 2002), yet our understanding of the distribution of...

  6. Chapter 2 Use of Medicinal Plants by Dominican Immigrants in New York City for the Treatment of Common Health Conditions: A Comparative Analysis with Literature Data from the Dominican Republic
    (pp. 39-63)
    Ina Vandebroek, Michael J. Balick, Jolene Yukes, Levenia Durán, Fredi Kronenberg, Christine Wade, Andreana L. Ososki, Linda Cushman, Rafael Lantigua, Miriam Mejía and Lionel Robineau

    The growth of the Dominican population in the northeastern United States in the past two decades constitutes one of the major immigration waves during the second half of the twentieth century. This movement is equal in magnitude to the massive Puerto Rican migration in the 1950s and 60s (Rivera-Batiz 2002). If current trends continue, the Dominican immigrant population in New York City (NYC) will grow to be larger than that of Puerto Ricans in the next ten years. Fifty-three percent of all Dominicans in the United States live in New York City. Depending on the source, the number of Dominicans...

  7. Chapter 3 Between Bellyaches and Lucky Charms: Revealing Latinos’ Plant-Healing Knowledge and Practices in New York City
    (pp. 64-85)
    Anahí Viladrich

    This chapter provides a contribution to the fields of urban ethnomedicine and medical anthropology by examining the reliance on alternative forms of healing among Latino immigrants, via the provision of and access to traditional plants and herbs in New York City. In particular, this chapter explores the migratory careers of Latino healers in New York City, and the ways in which they adapt their prescription of herbs and plants both to what is affordable and available to their Latino clientele.

    Two bodies of research inform the focus of this chapter: (1) classic studies onSantería,and; (2) recent work on...

  8. Chapter 4 The Changing Scene of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Strategies Due to Migration of Indians from the Asian Subcontinent to the United States
    (pp. 86-103)
    Usha R. Palaniswamy

    The history of the Indian subcontinent is a mix of dynasties, religions, and invaders who conquered and ruled India and imposed their own cultural institutions and religions. This has resulted in a complex cultural blending of the native cultures and religions in modern India. Among the major religious influences in Indian history are Hinduism (2500 B.C.), Buddhism (184 B.C.), Islam (A.D.1526–1707), and Christianity (A.D. 1858–1947). At the time of independence (1947), what had been the Indian nation was divided into India and Pakistan, with the majority of Hindus establishing residency in India and the Muslims in Pakistan. Later,...

  9. Chapter 5 Use of Traditional Herbal Remedies by Thai Immigrant Women in Sweden
    (pp. 104-121)
    Pranee C. Lundberg

    In Swedish society, which has become multicultural as a result of transnational migrations, different groups—such as Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and European—express their own cultural identities through traditions, values, beliefs, and symbols. Thai immigrant women in Sweden expressed the meaning of health as a state of well-being, absence of illness, and the ability to perform daily role activities and adapt to their new life situation (Lundberg 1999; 2000). The use of herbal remedies is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Folk medicine involves the use of culturally known herbs and remedies for self-administered treatment of sickness or...

  10. Chapter 6 Medicinal Plant Use by Surinamese Immigrants in Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Results of a Pilot Market Survey
    (pp. 122-144)
    Tinde van Andel and Charlotte van ’t Klooster

    Almost 90 percent of the population of developing countries relies largely on traditional herbal medicine to meet their primary health care needs (WHO 2002). The frequently inadequate supply of Western medicine, the cost of consultations and pharmaceuticals, the distance to the nearest primary health care center, as well as cultural and religious practices, contribute to the widespread and continued use of herbs as medicine in developing countries (Slikkerveer 1990; Ososki et al. 2002; Hamilton 2004; Vandebroek et al. 2004). It is often assumed that the demand for wild plants will decrease with increasing welfare, because they will be replaced in...

  11. Chapter 7 The Use of Home Remedies for Health Care and Well-Being by Spanish-Speaking Latino Immigrants in London: A Reflection on Acculturation
    (pp. 145-165)
    Melissa Ceuterick, Ina Vandebroek, Bren Torry and Andrea Pieroni

    Today Britain is one of the most multicultural of societies, encompassing traditional Commonwealth immigrant groups from Indian, Caribbean, African, and Irish descent, as well as increasing numbers of people originating from South America and Central Europe (Kyambi 2005). Despite the government’s aim of rendering the National Health Service (NHS) more culturally appropriate for the ethnically diverse population, little attention has been paid to study traditional health care practices of immigrant communities in the United Kingdom (UK) (Green et al. 2006). When people migrate to urbanized centers, they often bring along their medical traditions. Balick et al. (2000) describe how immigrant...

  12. Chapter 8 Hackney’s “Ethnic Economy” Revisited: Local Food Culture, Ethnic “Purity,” and the Politico-Historical Articulation of Kurdish Identity
    (pp. 166-185)
    Sarah Keeler

    It has long been noted within anthropological discourse that absorption of foodstuffs can serve integrative and appropriating functions socially and symbolically, with the old adage “we are what we eat” serving as a recurrent everyday reminder of this (Van den Berghe 1984; Douglas 1997). Increasingly since the emergence of theories surrounding globalization, researchers have also turned their attentions to the cross-cultural consumption of food, and the ways in which this can act as a site for the construction of identity and reiterate social relations at the global, national, and local levels (Caglar 1995; James 1996; Warde 1997; Bell and Valentine...

  13. Chapter 9 A Strange Drug in a Strange Land
    (pp. 186-203)
    Neil Carrier

    In the last couple of decades a plant stimulant has traveled into lands not traditionally associated with its consumption and in the process has become highly controversial, causing panic not only for worries over its impact on health, but for far wider reasons as well.Khatis the substance in question, and unlike other plant stimulants such as coffee, tea, and tobacco, which also met with considerable opposition when they first entered the West, khat arrived along with representatives of the indigenous groups who consumed it in its lands of origin. This is a crucial factor in its reception, and...

  14. Chapter 10 Traditional Health Care and Food and Medicinal Plant Use among Historic Albanian Migrants and Italians in Lucania, Southern Italy
    (pp. 204-226)
    Cassandra L. Quave and Andrea Pieroni

    In this chapter, we explore the scientific questions related to the issue of traditional health care and food practices in a community founded by a historical ethnic group of Albanians who migrated to southern Italy during the fifteenth century and among an autochthonous south Italian community. In doing this, we employ the use of food and medicinal plants as a lens for better understanding the ethnomedical practices, including the perception and use ofmedicinal foods,which we recorded in that area during four years of fieldwork. The specific aim of our reflections is a cross-cultural comparison of traditional medical practices,...

  15. Chapter 11 Plant Knowledge as Indicator of Historical Cultural Contacts: Tanning in the Atlantic Fringe
    (pp. 227-244)
    Ingvar Svanberg

    Although I began to study ethnographic aspects of husbandry, traditional crafts, and exploitation of locally available biological resources among a historical sedentary Sami minority in Sweden in the mid 1970s (Svanberg 1986), it took some time before I decided to specialize in ethnobiological research. I actually continued with ethnographic fieldwork among Yörük herdsmen, Turkish peasants, and various marginal groups in Anatolia in the late 1970s and subsequently, in the mid 1980s, with Kazak nomads and other ethnic groups in Central Asia. In the beginning I focused on sustenance and utilization of the environment (Svanberg 1987; 1988; 1996). However, this research...

  16. Chapter 12 Procurement of Traditional Remedies and Transmission of Medicinal Knowledge among Sahrawi People Displaced in Southwestern Algerian Refugee Camps
    (pp. 245-269)
    Gabriele Volpato, Abdalahe Ahmadi Emhamed, Saleh Mohamed Lamin Saleh, Alessandro Broglia and Sara di Lello

    Traditional medicinal systems worldwide are based on natural resources from the surrounding environment and on the ethnobiological knowledge needed to exploit those resources. Culture is seen as the filter between man and the surrounding environment; this implies that when the latter changes, traditional knowledge and practices come under pressure. When displacements occur because of war or other calamities, migrants and refugees strive to keep the connection between cultural identity, traditional resources, and their homeland (Brainard and Zaharlick 1989; Pieroni et al. 2005). However, their cultural identity comes under threat due to the loosing of ties with the place of origin,...

  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 270-275)
  18. Index
    (pp. 276-284)