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August 2021

South Med J. 1987 Feb; 80(2): 209-12.

Influence of folk medicine on the family practitioner.

Gums JG, Carson DS.

The practice of folk medicine in the United States is increasing. Awareness by the family practitioner is essential in order to effectively communicate and successfully recommend medical treatment to those patients who hold belief in these traditional practices. Root medicine is particularly thriving in the southeastern United States. The influx of refugees into the southern coastal states has introduced new concepts into traditional medical practices. Interaction with patients who are involved with traditional health care providers and the modern medical community occurs more frequently than may be appreciated by the physicians. This article is intended to increase physicians' knowledge of some of the basic philosophies and practices of folk medicine, particularly root medicine, and to provide some insight into the reasons why the practitioners of folk medicine can be strongly influential in the medical and psychologic concerns of patients who believe in the power of the supernatural.


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