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Plants of the four winds

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... In Veracruz, it is used for diarrhea and colic, for "latido" (pulse), and to calm the nerves (Cano Asseleih 1997). Bussmann and Sharon (2007) report that A. millefolium is used in Peru, under the names of milenrama and chonchón, for gastritis, diabetes, "blood", and cholesterol, and topically for skin infections and to "dispel bad spells." Likewise, it is used in Brazil, under the names of mil-folhas and erva de cortadura, to treat wounds and skin problems, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems (Cruz 1979;Hatsuko Baggio et al. 2008;Silva and Sant'Ana 1995). ...
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Yarrow ( Achillea millefolium L.): A Neglected Panacea? A Review of Ethnobotany, Bioactivity, and Biomedical Research. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.) is one of the most widely used medicinal plants in the world, primarily for wounds, digestive problems, respiratory infections, and skin conditions, and secondarily, among other uses, for liver disease and as a mild sedative. Preclinical studies indicate that it may have anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, hepatoprotective, anxiolytic, and perhaps antipathogenic activities. Animal studies have also shown that yarrow is generally safe and well tolerated. The claim that yarrow has been shown to be specifically contraindicated during pregnancy is based on a single low-quality rat study the results of which were incorrectly interpreted. The combination of human use data from multiple cultures, independently reporting similar activities for yarrow, and the discovery of potentially relevant bioactivities by in vitro and animal studies represent meaningful evidence of the plant’s efficacy. We therefore argue that human clinical trials should be funded and conducted.
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Vilca (Anadenanthera colubrina) is a small leguminous tree occurring as a species component of the dry tropical forest of the Urubamba and other Andean valleys. The powerful psychotropic properties of its seeds account for the long and important place of this plant in Andean culture history. Archaeological evidence from painted pots, snuff tubes, bone pipes and clyster tubes indicate its diverse modes of past use. Wari and Inca artifacts, as well as the reconstruction of Inca history from early colonial documents, suggest the role of vilca in shamanic-style religion and medicine. When understood that the tryptomines in vilca trigger a characteristic three-stage hallucinogenic experience, new interpretations emerge of several aspects of the Andean past. Vilca uses can be implicated as a feature of oracle shrines at pre-Columbian religious sites as well as the behavior of the Chanka people, enemies of the Incas. After the Conquest, vilca was the substance behind the drug-induced manifestations of the so-called Taqui Onccoy movement. Strong Spanish opposition to vilca which was viewed as a diabolical intervention of Satan, had much to do with the competition it was perceived to pose to Catholic conversion.
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Therapeutic applications of the psychedelics or hallucinogens found cross-culturally involve treatment of a variety of physical, psychological, and social maladies. Modern medicine has similarly found that a range of conditions may be successfully treated with these agents. The ability to treat a wide variety of conditions derives from variation in active ingredients, doses and modes of application, and factors of set and setting manipulated in ritual. Similarities in effects reported cross-culturally reflect biological mechanisms, while success in the treatment of a variety of specific psychological conditions points to the importance of ritual in eliciting their effects. Similar bases involve action on the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems that can be characterized as psychointegration: An elevation of ancient brain processes. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. All rights are reserved.
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Using personality, psychopathology, and neuropsychological assessment instruments, our team assessed the therapeutic effects of an ayahuasca ritual treatment. Data was collected at the Institute of Applied Amazonian Ethnopsychology (IDEAA), in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Psychological assessments were obtained both before and at the end of the treatment. The ayahuasca treatment lasted between three and nine months and included biweekly ayahuasca consumption. The sample consisted of 13 patients (eight men, five women) with a mean age of 35 years. Nine had a diagnosis of drug abuse and/or dependence; one of borderline personality disorder, and 3 were at IDEAA for personal growth. Results showed that the “Impulsiveness,” “Disorderliness,” “Anticipatory Worry,” and “Shyness with Strangers” subscales of the Temperament and Character Inventory presented statistically significant reductions after treatment, while the “Self-Directedness,” “Responsibility,” “Purposefulness,” and “Congruent Second Nature” subscales presented significant increases. The psychopathology subscales “Positive Symptoms,” “Obsessive-Compulsive,” and “Anxiety” of the Symptom Check-List-90-Revised, were significantly diminished after treatment, as well as all subscales of the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale: “Total,” “Apathy,” “Disinhibition,” and “Executive Dysfunction.” In addition, the “Resistance to Interference” measure of the Stroop Color and Word Test, the Purpose in Life Test, and the “Transcendent Dimension,” “Meaning and Purpose in Life,” “Mission in Life,” and “Material Values” subscales of the Spiritual Orientation Inventory presented statistically significant increases after treatment. Despite important limitations, such as the small sample size and the lack of a control group, the present pilot study provides preliminary evidence suggesting psychotherapeutic effects of ritual ayahuasca treatment in drug-related disorders.
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Among the Warao Indians of eastern Venezuela herbalism is a nonritualized occupation practiced by women. As a medical practice herbalism complements the ritual occupation of shamanism practiced by men. But whereas Warao herbalism is governed by a theory of supernatural causation of illness mystically brought about by contagion, Warao shamanism is a theory of supernatural causation of illness attributed to spirit aggression and object intrusion. According to herbalist theory, pathogenesis results from odoriferous agents that invade the body regions (head, thorax, abdomen) of the victim. Here they expand in the form of fetid gas, producing clinical symptoms by affecting the organs and the soul of a particular region. Treatment of disease by herbal medicines is allopathic. Upon administration the remedy transforms into an aromatic gas which is denser, hence more powerful, than the noxious gas. This enables the therapeutic air to displace the pathogenic air. A cure is achieved after both gases have left the body, returning the patient to an inodorous state. This study presents physical, cultural and ideational data as they relate to health, disease and herbal medicine among the Warao. The status and role of the female herbalist are described. Warao herbal curers make use of more than 100 plant species from which they prepare 259 remedies. The collecting and processing of materia medica conform to a meticulous protocol which is transmitted from mother to daughter through informal methods of training. Treatment of 'symptom-oriented' diseases is effected through the administration of ablutants, ingestants and/or inhalants. While practicing medicine in a nonritual way Warao herbalists are nevertheless directly aligned with the Mother of the Forest.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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Traditional methods of healing have been beneficial in many countries with or without access to conventional allopathic medicine. In the United States, these traditional practices are increasingly being sought after for illnesses that cannot be easily treated by allopathic medicine. More and more people are becoming interested in the knowledge maintained by traditional healers and in the diversity of medicinal plants that flourish in areas like Northern Peru. While scientific studies of medicinal plants are underway, concern has arisen over the preservation of both the large diversity of medicinal plants and the traditional knowledge of healing methods that accompanies them. To promote further conservation work, this study attempted to document the sources of the most popular and rarest medicinal plants sold in the markets of Trujillo (Mayorista and Hermelinda) and Chiclayo (Modelo and Moshoqueque), as well as to create an inventory of the plants sold in these markets, which will serve as a basis for comparison with future inventories. Individual markets and market stalls were subjected to cluster analysis based on the diversity of the medicinal plants they carry. The results show that markets were grouped based on the presence of: (1) common exotic medicinal plants; (2) plants used by laypeople for self-medication related to common ailments ("everyday remedies"); (3) specialized medicinal plants used by curanderos or traditional healers; and (4) highly "specialized" plants used for magical purposes. The plant trade in the study areas seems to correspond well with the specific health care demands from clientele in those areas. The specific market patterns of plant diversity observed in the present study represent a foundation for comparative market research in Peru and elsewhere.