Health Care Women Int. 1997 Sep-Oct; 18(5): 425-37.
Understanding ethnic women's experiences with pharmacopeia.
Millersville University, PA, USA. [email protected]
For centuries, women have been the primary caregivers and healers in their communities. The literature documents well that the tasks involved in caregiving, such as preparing remedies, providing physical nurturance, and attending the sick, give a gynocentric flavor to healing traditions. Ethnic women, in particular, promote caring and curing through a wide range of folk remedies. These remedies employ foods, herbs, and over-the-counter medications. Importantly, the actual remedies are not as critical to the care of an ill person as the meaning of the cultural memories inherent in acts of caring. I discovered comfort, nurturance, and familiarity to be intrinsic to the holistic nature of the remedies used and to be salient features of the memories of healing and curing within Puerto Rican and African American groups. Through the use of remedies, the Puerto Rican and African American women who participated in these phenomenological investigations impart healing for the body, mind, and spirit.