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The Witchdoctor medical guide

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In developing countries, traditional medicine is still popular because it is much cheaper than the more effective modern medicine.

Despite this, I think we can improve the standard of 'traditional medicine'/witchdoctors, (as it can be hard to convince poor country folks that traditional medicine is not really all together that effective, when modern medicine can cost them many months worth of pay)

My idea is to have an organization that interviews all witchdoctors on the plants they use, and try and match it with its modern equivalent modern medicine. The information is then complied into a book, and distributed to all witchdoctors, (and also to normal doctors, to give poor patients a cheaper alternative they can buy off a 'witchdoctor').

Again, traditional medicine will not always be more effective than modern scientific method, but as people are using it regardless for its cheapness. We might as well help them improve their method.

PLACES THIS METHOD CAN BE USED: India, as it is a developing country, with lots of traditional medical providers.

mofosyne, Jun 06 2010

PubMed even has a couple of papers http://www.ncbi.nlm...9&cmd=DetailsSearch
Wherever there's connection to internet, post, or civilization [lurch, Jun 06 2010]


       Then maybe we should promote this book too all doctors/witchdoctors in developing countries, free of charge.   

       Perhaps customized, for the type of plants that exist in... say india.
mofosyne, Jun 06 2010

       "catch a rhino..."
po, Jun 06 2010

       You have got to be kidding me. We do talk to each other you know. We also have dirty great conferences with papers and so on.
nineteenthly, Jun 06 2010

       herbal and traditional medicine is a heavily studied subject. one of the biggest consumers (and often times supporters) of such research is big pharma, because the medicines/techniques occasionally do work and can potentially contribute to marketable "modern" medicine.
swimswim, Jun 06 2010

       nevertheless a pamphlet handed out to aboriginal "witch doctors" in undeveloped countries pointing out that each 300mg ASA tab is equal to a square foot(?) of willow bark might go a long way towards establishing a Kwik-E-Mart in every village. After you teach them how to read.   

       [ ] there's some stuff in there I like, but I'd be more interested in keeping people from making endangered species more so. Start a rumour that it isn't actually the powdered rhinoceros horn, but the spittle from the guy who collects it, that is the active ingredient in the concoction.
FlyingToaster, Jun 06 2010

       The Hocus Pocus Manual + (Not widely known to exist to me.)
blissmiss, Jun 06 2010

       Photos for National Geographic.
DrWorm, Jun 07 2010

       See link...
normzone, Jun 07 2010

       I probably ought to mention the placebo effect.   

       Some of the "effectiveness" will come from cultural belief in the medicine man. We probably benefit from some of that effect due to our beliefs in our own medicine and our own physicians too - even if we might have been misdiagnosed and treated.   

       I'd probably recommend that people study the anthropology and mysticisms connected with local tribes, such as the Tea Party in the US, before we decide to look at "more backwards" people.
Aristotle, Jun 07 2010

       [A] I may be misreading your anno, but this is a simple translation from "manufactured drugs" to "field drugs"; I don't read any cultural snobbishness.
FlyingToaster, Jun 07 2010

       [FT] //cultural snobbishness// Your point is well-taken but [Akimbomidget] could go some way towards defusing [Aristotle]'s implied criticism by omitting the term "witch doctor." That's just based on my own notion of the connotations of that term, but Wikipedia seems to support it: it seems that a "witch doctor" (unlike, e.g. a sangoma or a shaman) is a quack.
mouseposture, Jun 07 2010

       Good luck finding a non-pejorative term for "aboriginal-practices healer". Since such practitioners are at least stereotypically also the local priest, they get stomped on with the conqueror's religion. (My background has the word "shaman" at the same weighting as "witch doctor")   

       [19th]... got anything to make the crops grow faster ?
FlyingToaster, Jun 07 2010

       I tend to feel that the primitive nature of mankind remains fairly constant, even in supposedly advanced cultures. We are all human after all.   

       Codifying traditional medicine, and expecting it be consistent, would be as challenging (and as impossible) a task as codifying conspiracy theories. It also could be equivalently hard to get those corresponding people to adopt conventional, "modern" viewpoints.   

       After all how would the religious right in the Bible Belt feel if people came up with a book to explain why contraceptives and the theory of evolution might be some considerable use for them? I tend to believe there might be some friction ...   

       A recent study of health in the developing world discovered that selling soap in small enough quantities for the poor to be able to buy it, and advertising it's use, was probably the most effective way to raise health standards there.   

       Sometimes you have to think and act laterally.
Aristotle, Jun 08 2010


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