Evans, S 2002, 'Chilean stories: exploring herbal medicine in South America', Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 2-6.
The abstract and pdf of the published article reproduced in ePublications@SCU with the permission of Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
I visited Chile for a month to teach herbal medicine and learn about its place in Chilean life and particularly in the culture of indigenous people there, the Mapuche. The Mapuche culture is animistic and highly complex. Any attempt on my part to summarise their approach to medicine in a short article such as this would be woefully inadequate. However my contact with the culture deepened my understanding of what it is for me to be a herbalist, and challenged my perspectives on some of the pressing contemporary issues for our profession.
In this article I will first introduce the Mapuche with a brief outline of their history. I will then outline the issues which confronted me particularly regarding ownership of knowledge of intellectual property, education and the place of stories, and the importance of the relationship between herbalist and the land issues of the place.