Ethnomedicine:  by Pamela I. Erickson
124 pages, $21.95 list
eBook availability
People throughout time and place, no matter their belief system, have sought to discover causes and cures for illness and disease. Among Westerners is a groundswell to augment biomedicine with holistic practices inherent in ethnomedicines of non-Western traditions. Yet missing are awareness and knowledge of the foundations and outgrowth of these alternative concepts.

Erickson fills this gap by clearly explaining the basic organizing principles that underlie all medical systems, the full range of theories of disease causation, the geographical distribution of medical practices, and the historical trends that led to biomedical dominance. Her efficient, balanced approach highlights commonalities among the world’s vast and diverse medical systems, making ethnomedicine easier to internalize and to apply in clinical settings.
“I have used this in Medical Anthropology since it was published. Students like it because it speaks to them rather than lectures at them.” — Margo-Lea Hurwicz, University of Missouri, St. Louis

“Erickson, with this timely survey, has performed a valuable service for the field of ethnomedicine and for anyone interested in health care.” — Marsha B. Quinlan, Washington State University

“A wonderful overview and complement to other texts that provide case studies of different topics.” — Mary Lorena Kenny, Eastern Connecticut State University

“This is a very accessible and well-written text. It provides a nice historical background on ethnomedicines and covers all the basic topics well.” — Jaida Samudra, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

“A concise yet insightful work that clearly elucidates ethnomedicine.” — Gregory R. Campbell, University of Montana, Missoula

“Well written. Covers topics not given attention in other texts.” — Karol Chandler-Ezell, Stephen F. Austin State University

“Loved it. It will be great for teaching.” — Elisa J. Sobo, San Diego State University
Table of Contents
1. What Is Ethnomedicine?
Anthropology and Ethnomedicine / Medical Systems / Health: Disease and Curing, Illness and Healing

2. Historical Origins of Medical Systems
Medical Systems and Subsistence Strategies / The Great Historical Medical Traditions / Comparison of the Great Medical Traditions

3. What Causes Disease?: Theories of Disease Causation
Personalistic and Naturalistic Disease Causation / Common Theories of Disease Causation in Nonbiomedical Systems

4. The Geography of Disease Causation Theories
Theories of Disease/Illness Causation in the Ethnographic Past / Contemporary Trends in Theories of Disease Causation / The Culture-Bound Syndromes

5. The Healing Lessons of Ethnomedicine
What Do Ethnomedicines Tell Us? / What Do the Ethnomedicine Lessons Mean for Cultural Competence in Biomedical Care? / The Future of Ethnomedicines