In Peru, traditional healing practices address a range of health issues, from physical illnesses to psychological and spiritual ones. During our health clinics and campaigns in remote river communities, Amazon Promise offers treatments to patients that combine these traditional approaches with Western medicine.
Upon arrival in a village, an Amazon Promise volunteer and a local community healthcare worker (or “promoter of health”) seek out the knowledge holder of the medicinal plants in the area. This person is often an elder and may also be a known healer. The group then collects samples of the medicinal plants and brings them to our clinic for patient use and education.
Amazon Promise integrates shaman and traditional healers into our clinical settings whenever possible. Sadly, in many communities, they no longer exist or keep a low profile.
Watch our short film, “Where Western and Traditional Medicine Meet.”
Some local healers and shaman utilize the healing properties of a variety of plants, while others rely on the power of just one. All parts of the plant are utilized, including resin, roots, leaves, bark, pulp, vines, flowers and stems. Tobacco, Agua de Florida (“spirit water”) and mud are also used for healing. Treatments can last from one day to months, depending on the illness.
Many of our Peruvian patients are helped by traditional medicine after Western medicine has failed to cure them.