This pioneering work is multi-disciplinary in approach as it examines the rich folk medicine of Jamaican. The authors analyse the historical and linguistic aspects of folk medicine, based on their research, extensive fieldwork and interviews. They explore the sociological and ethnological dimensions of common healing practices and Jamaica's biodiversity, in both flora and in fauna. As is the case with other aspects of Jamaican traditional culture, Jamaican folk medicine is largely misunderstood and subject to negative pejorative attitudes. This comprehensive study challenges some of the myths and misinformation. Particular attention is paid to cultural transference from Africa and the use of herbals in African-Jamaican religions. The comprehensive book is of academic value to teachers, students and researchers, and can also aid practitioners and policy makers in the field of health and healing. The work has an appendix and glossary as well as a detailed bibliography.
"Jamaica Folk Medicine: A Source of Healing" is a very informative book on Jamaica's folk medicine traditions. A variety of styles and practices are explored including Jamaican bush doctors, balm yard healers, kumina, obeah, myal and mother healers. "Jamaica Folk Medicine" is an in-depth study by two Ph.D's with input from their students, in short, it is built on solid scholarship. The book highlights Jamaican healing methods but also discusses its connections to other forms of healing in the African diaspora and elsewhere. The only thing readers might have to get past is the dry writing style--once you get past the lackluster presentation, there is much to learn. This is the type of book you will want on your book shelf rather than taking it out of the library--readers interested in this topic, will return to this dense book again and again.
An authoritative account2010/9/13
This is a comprehensive, detailed, and scholarly account of `folk medicine' or `ethnomedicine' in Jamaica, largely from the perspective of medical anthropology. Payne-Jackson is an American anthropologist and Alleyne a Jamaican linguist. They demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the published literature on the subject and, in addition, have done extensive field research. The book effectively covers herbal, spiritual, and magical causes and treatments for illnesses and misfortunes. Jamaicans still utilize a large number of herbal treatments, along with magical oils, incense, and powders. In most cases, their folk medicine is intimately tied to religious beliefs and practices. Traditional healers are still common in the population. Even though the medical profession and government institutions ignore the folk sector, the authors argue that folk medicine is increasing in popularity, partly because of the difficulty of accessing and affording mainstream medicine but also because of the faith people hold in it. The book is well-organized, clear and easy to follow. It is also definitely the best source of information on the topic.