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October 2021

Prim Care. 1997 Dec; 24(4): 723-41.

Folk medicine and health culture in contemporary society.

Hufford DJ.

Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA.

Folk medicine comprises "unofficial health beliefs and practices" which rely heavily (but not exclusively) on oral transmission. It is one form of alternative medicine, and a major source for many other forms such as phytotherapy and mind/body medicine. While many folk medicine ideas and practices are associated with particular ethnic groups, many others are widely distributed throughout American society. Folk medicine is not dying out in the modern world. Because it has both medical benefits and risks, effective medical care with folk medicine requires awareness and discussion of its influence.

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