Healthcare Perspectives - Indigenous Cultural Medicines

Indigenous Medicine, also known as “Traditional Medicine”, generally refers to the body of knowledge that is concerned with healing as it is practiced in a particular region, culture or country. Indigenous Medicine is known to be practices holistically designated to promote mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Having been rooted in practical wisdom over the ages, Indigenous Medicine predates the spread of Western/European Medicine and can ultimately be seen, in many cultures, as the very roots of the modern medicine which would serve as its counterpart. Long before the discovery and development of modern scientific medicine such as the use of pharmaceutical drugs and doctor’s surgery, traditional healing methods had been in use, and are still being used today in every culture.

In many rural communities of developing countries, the use of remedies based on indigenous and traditional medicine form the basic net of health care. Indigenous Medicine has a systematic methodology of its own and a body of knowledge preserved through many centuries and is typically passed on orally from generation to generation. Application of Indigenous Medicine include a wide range of activities, from physical cures using herbal medicines and other remedies, to the promotion of psychological and spiritual well-being using ceremony, counseling and the accumulated wisdom of elders. The preparation and dispensing of herbal medicines is one of the most common forms of Indigenous Medicine practiced in different ways in different parts of the world. An example might be the use of local herbs and plants prepared as drinks, salves or inhalants.

Indigenous knowledge and its application through healing and medicine is therefore ultimately tied to the land, the spiritual laws that govern that land, and how the co-existence between animal, plant and human life collectively interrelate through the day-to-day experience of one’s life journey. Elders, sometimes called the spiritual leaders, shamans, healers, counselors or medicine man/woman of the community, are generally the practitioners of Indigenous Medicine, serving as a significant part in a living, evolving belief system and system of healing. The characteristics of Indigenous Medicine remain steeped in cultural principles, values and beliefs but also adapt to fit new and different circumstances that constantly honor the greatest health for the individual and their community.

Healing Modalities within Indigenous Cultural Medicines

  • Aboriginal Medicine
  • Shamanic Medicine
  • Tibetan Medicine
  • Fijian Medicine


No medical or professional license required.

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