Teachings from the Amazon

I recently attended the AMH (Association of Master Herbalists) series of lectures and was completely absorbed by the 2hr talk given by Dr Francoise Freedman, a Medical Anthropologist who shared her fascinating research and experience of living in the Amazon.

She described the process the Amazonians used for healing; the preparation of both the patient and the healer before embarking on the healing journey. The importance of using herbs firstly to purge and cleanse the body and then the necessity to relax the body before going onto using the specific herbs for healing. She spoke about how they used tobacco (the whole plant) and its traditional uses to help open up the body for healing and its unfair demise due to its commercialisation. A refreshing support of how herbalists constantly battle the way medicinal plants are taken out of the context and misused.

A Cambridge lecturer it was interesting to see how she was captivated by their way of life and thinking towards a different system of health. Such value can be gained to our western reductionist approaches. The whole process to healing I believe is overlooked in our modern world, even where once doctors used to talk about convalescence now it seems a thing of the past.


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