Folk Medicine, Does it Work?

Essay by AmberibcUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2005

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Have you ever heard your grandmother tell you to put butter on a burn? Most of us have heard of folk remedies one way or another. I know my grandparents have all kinds of weird things to do when you are sick. Every culture has their own way of dealing with sickness. Some carry over to other cultures; some get changed along the way. Some work and some of them really are just a waste of time. But, there are some cultures that whole-heartedly rely on these remedies. The remedies go back thousands and thousands of years and are spread all over the world.

The Hawaiian culture is one that has their own little remedies. The Hawaiian word for health is "ola". It also means life. This reflects their belief that there is no life without health, which is true in most cases. Hawaiian's do not rely entirely on these forms of medicine.

They have normal hospitals and doctors just like we do. They just have some different folk remedies.

For example, Aalii (hopseed bush) leaves are used to treat burns, rashes, and other skin diseases. This plant is something that they have relied on for years. Awa (Kava) is used in the treatment of headaches, muscle pain, and to induce sleep. This can also be used for general debility, chills, colds, and other lung problems. Such as, bronchitis and asthma. There is also a plant that Hawaii is famous for, that they use to heal. Ko (sugarcane) the juice from the shoot is used to treat lacerations. Who knew?

Hawaiians are defiantly not the only ones who have their own way of thinking when it comes to medicine. There are places and people all over the world that differ in medical treatments. Irish culture is one of them. These...