Renée Ferrer

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Renée Ferrer
“Exploring Gender Issues and the
Use of Ethno-medicine among
Women in Latin American Cultures”
Profesora Clementina E.
Clemson University
• For generations, Asian,
Latin American, and
even North American
women, have trusted
ethno-medicine to deal
with gender-related
Women and Ethno-medicine
Women and Procreation
Women’ s sensitivity and
trust in ancestors’ choices
increases their motivation
and interest in ethnomedicine. In their role as
procreators, women try to
improve their chances with
the “magic potions” that
ethno-medicine can
Women and Ethno-medicine
Trust in Ethno-medicine
Ethno-medicine helps to
reduce levels of stress in
female patients, which
contributes to increases in
their general health and
fertility. There is not
sufficient hard data to
justify the effect of those
remedies; however,
modern technology and
globalization have
contributed to validate
women’s trust.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Health as a Balance
For centuries, scientists
and naturalists have
tried to find the causes
and best cures for
diseases. First, the
Greeks believed
diseases were caused
by unbalanced humors.
This concept is similar
to Latin Americans’
beliefs in diseases as an
inbalance between cold
and heat in the body.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Hot and Cold diseases
• The following are examples
of hot diseases:
pregnancy, hypertension,
diabetes, acid indigestion,
susto, ojo and bìlis.
• The following are
considered cold diseases:
menstrual cramps, frio de
la matriz, coryza,
pneumonia, empacho, and
Women and Ethno-medicine
Remedies that Bring Balance
The “curandero” or
healer reestablishes the
body’s balance using a
reverse treatment: Cold
remedies for "hot"
diseases and hot
remedies for “cold“
ones. For example,
hypertension, a hot
illness, is treated with
cold remedies: bananas
and lemon juice; herbs
and fruit teas.
Women and Ethno-medicine
• Fitoterapia: the use of natural remedies:
• Advantages:
– Easy to find in our own house or
– Provides more prolonged and constant
effects, with less damaging side effects.
– Do not cause stomachache of headache.
– They are free or have a very low cost.
– Can be taken with tea or coffee or mate.
– Names are easy to recognize and pronounce.
– The plants can be grown in your garden or
collected for free in nature.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Women’s Use of Ethno-Medicine
• For this presentation
three important aspects
of women’s use of folk
medicine are considered:
– Women and Fertility
– Women and Beauty and
– Women and Common
Women and Ethno-medicine
Women and Fertility Issues
• A large number of women
with fertility problems
believe in the
effectiveness of natural
and folk remedies. Being
fertile also requires a
healthy sexual desire
which many women prefer
to treat with the help of
folk and ethno-medicines.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Women’s Liberation
• “…Many women are enjoying
motherhood later in life in order to
pursue their dreams…And those
beyond menopause are reclaiming
their sexual selves to take pleasure in
vibrant, active sex lives.”
• “Nature has given both men and
women the ability to enjoy sexual
pleasure for the duration of their lives!”
Women and Ethno-medicine
Ethno-medicine and Fertility
Homeopathy, naturopathy,
Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese
Medicine use ancient techniques,
such as herbal remedies, cleansers,
and acupuncture, to increase
fertility. These approaches usually
work best if both partners
(producers of egg and sperm) are
Women and Ethno-medicine
Fertility Treatments and Side
Scientists have used HRT to treat fertility and
menopause in women; after many real trials,
they found definitive evidence that the risks
of long-term combinations of therapy
outweigh their benefits. The benefits: fewer
hip fractures and a lower rate of colorectal
cancer; did not top the risks—of breast
cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, and
HRT and WHI research comes from Susan Jacoby’s article weighing the Risks In Study's
Aftermath, Experts Urge Women Taking Combined HRT To Assess Own Needs, of September 2002.
All the information about
Women and Ethno-medicine
Fertility Plants Alternatives
• Alternatives to HRT: "bio-identical"
or "natural" hormones, such as Triest or Estrace, contain estrogens
synthesized from plants. (not
thoroughly tested).
• Some believe, soy black cohosh,
the Chinese herb dong quai, and
evening primrose oil, relieves their
symptoms, but clinical evidence is
equivocal and they have not been
proven more effective than
Women and Ethno-medicine
Fertility Treatments
Just as infertility is
usually a combination
of causes, the path to
conception usually
takes a combination of
changes, treatments
and options. Don’t be
afraid to combine the
ancient with the
modern, or the natural
with the high-tech.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Remedies for Women’s Sexual
• *Gingko Biloba: Used in
China, for thousands of
years, it is believed to
promote longevity, improve
circulation and libido. It also
enhances mental alertness.
• *Mentol (eucalypts): Has
relaxing and dilating effects
on skin cells for better blood
circulation and fluency to the
body limbs including the
Women and Ethno-medicine
Other Remedies for a Healthy
Sexual Life
• *Ginseng Siberian and palm:
Increases the libido’s energy
and promotes better vaginal
• *Bayberry: It is a sexual
stimulant, improves the blood
flow and vaginal lubrication.
Women and Ethno-medicine
More Remedies for Healthy
Sexual Life
*Catuaba: A South American
bush, and a great stimulant,
used by natives for
centuries. It stimulates the
central nervous system and
the areas that control sexual
responses. It is also
recommended for men.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Beauty Remedies
Cola de caballo/ Ortiga
Emolients y demulcents
Aloe Vera / Batatilla
/Borraja/ Malva
Cangorosa / Ceibo /
Cangorosa/ Cola de
caballo / Ñandypá
Women and Ethno-medicine
Beauty Remedies
• Hair Problems: Berro /
Culantrillo / Romero
• Perspiration and
Sweating: Kapi’i kati /
Kuratu (Cilantro)/ Romero
• Clinical trials have shown:
– Vitamin E delays some
symptoms of Alzheimer's
– Gingko Biloba slightly
improves mental
functioning in patients with
Female-Focused Remedies
• For the urinary and
genital tracks
• Diuretics
– Amargón /Cepacaballo/
Cola de caballo/
Perdudilla/ Siete sangrias/
Tapakue/ Zarzaparrilla
• Uterine Stimulants
– Arasá/ Poleo/ Ruda
• Urinary Disinfectants
– Ajenjo/ Albahaca/
Batatilla/ Ñandypá
Women and Ethno-medicine
Female-Focused Remedies
• Genital Disinfectants
– Cepacaballo/Karanda’
y/ Ñandypá/ Tapakue
• Menstrual Problems
– Borraja/Burrito/
Cedrón/ Culantrillo/
Hierba lucero/ Hinojo/
Marcela/ Perejil/
Poleo/ Romero/ Ruda
Note: Remedies cited come from the book on
Fitoterapy, presented by María Stella Cáceres A.,
Executive Director of the Celestina Pérez de
Almada Fundación, Asunción, Paraguay, June
Women and Ethno-medicine
Integrative Medicine
• Goal: to treat each individual holistically,
and to increase his/her life span and
strength. (In TCM, this is called qi; in Ayurvedic
medicine it is referred to as prana.)
• In TCM, practitioners will also assess the
nature of the energy flow between a
couple and adapt their treatments
accordingly. These techniques have
helped people become parents for
Women and Ethno-medicine
Complementary Integrative
Treatment occurs in the
least invasive, most
natural way to foster a
well-balanced, wellnourished body that will
resist disease, fight
infection, heal faster,
age gracefully and
rarely if ever need more
radical intervention.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Complementary Integrative
Alternative medicine as
part of a conventional
treatment is called
complementary medicine.
Many leading hospitals
now offer that alternative.
There is still confusion
about the appropriateness
of the name.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Complementary Integrative
Medicine in the Curriculum
Integrative medicine is
now a part of the
curriculum at 28 major
medical schools in the
United States. This is
great progress, but
unfortunately, what is
being taught in medical
schools is far ahead of
what most doctors are
telling their patients.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Traditional and Conventional
• Both practices have benefits and
limitations, but together they provide a
synergy that can transform your health
and fill you with vitality, naturally, for
the rest of your life.
• Chronic diseases are on the rise and
are evidenct at younger and younger
• Drugs have side effects that often
diminish or shorten our quality of life.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Herbal Medicines
• Herbal remedies are the basis for
many prescription drugs in the
Western paradigm.
• Therapeutic herbal remedies are the
specialty of herbalists, but they are a
component of teas, tinctures, oils,
creams, and pills.
• Many herbs can be poisonous or
interact dangerously with prescription
drugs, so it is best to use them under
the supervision of a qualified
Women and Ethno-medicine
Ethno-medicine is one widely used
alternative for a good number of
women. The main motivations are to
increase their procreative power and
their desire to have a healthy balanced
life, not only internally but also in their
physical appearance. Another
motivation lies in the trust in the
experience of ancestors. It is evident
that ethno-medicine has a place as one
of our medical alternatives.
Women and Ethno-medicine
Herbal Medicine Research
• Original Publication Date:
Last Modified: 02/16/2010
Principal Author: Marcelle Pick,
• Manual De Uso De Hierbas
Medicinales Del Paraguay.
Investigation by María Stella
Cáceres A., Editing: Marta Machaín
Singer; TranslationCastellano Guaraní: Arnaldo Gutierrez Acosta.
• Medicina Natural, Manuel Lezaeta •
Acharan, Editorial Pax Mexico,
1997. [and others].
Traditional Medical
Beliefs (list of
references) Selected
and compiled by
Jacquelyn Coughlan,
M.S., M.L.S. , May 2004
(126 citations)
Plantas medicinales
andinas, EduardoRuiz,
Ediciones Abala-Yala,
Nature’s Cures, Michael
Books, 1996.
Women and Ethno-medicine
The End
Thank you for your attention;
for questions or suggestions,
please contact me via e-mail at
[email protected]
Women and Ethno-medicine
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