Plants, Health and Healing: On the Interface of Ethnobotany and Medical Anthropology

Elisabeth Hsu, Stephen Harris
Berghahn Books, 2012 - 316 páginas

Plants have cultural histories, as their applications change over time and with place. Some plant species have affected human cultures in profound ways, such as the stimulants tea and coffee from the Old World, or coca and quinine from South America. Even though medicinal plants have always attracted considerable attention, there is surprisingly little research on the interface of ethnobotany and medical anthropology. This volume, which brings together (ethno-)botanists, medical anthropologists and a clinician, makes an important contribution towards filling this gap. It emphasises that plant knowledge arises situationally as an intrinsic part of social relationships, that herbs need to be enticed if not seduced by the healers who work with them, that herbal remedies are cultural artefacts, and that bioprospecting and medicinal plant discovery can be viewed as the epitome of a long history of borrowing, stealing and exchanging plants.


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Editorial Introduction
1 NonNative Plants and Their Medicinal Uses
2 Qing hao 青蒿 Herba Artemisiae annuae in the Chinese Materia Medica
Editorial Introduction
3 Shamanic Plants and Gender in the Healing Forest
4 Persons Plants and Relations
Editorial Introduction
5 East goes West
6 Medicinal Stimulant and Ritual Plant Use
Notes on Contributors
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Sobre o autor (2012)

Elisabeth Hsu is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oxford, where she has convened its master's courses in medical anthropology since 2001. Based on her earlier studies in biology (botany), linguistics and sinology, she has published widely on the history and anthropology of Chinese medicine.

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