© 2017 Marina Olegovna ORLOVA, Denis Borisovich PLEKHANOV

2017 – №2 (14)

Keywords: ethnomedicine of the Amazon Basin, Peruvian ethnomedicine,  neo-shamanic centers, ethno-tourism, vegetalists, ayahuasca, plant diets, intercultural contacts, folk medicine, non-conventional medicine, herbal medicine, medical anthropology.

Abstract: The interview presents experience of Russian professional physician D.B.Plekhanov  who has been living for five years in Loreto region of Peru being for more than 3 years the apprentice of local shaman. The interview is devoted to the specific traits of requests of Western tourists and the local population when they attend (neo)shamans. It demonstrates heterogeneous nature of existing ethnomedical practices – different practices addressed to native audience and ethno-tourists. Magico-medical practices of shamans based on animistic worldview, folk medicine naturopathy and biomedicine coexist in the Peruvian Selva region, complement each other as a resource for maintaining the health of the local population.

The interview is of interest since it depicts the attitudes and observations of medical doctor who found himself as adept of local shamanic medicine and was able to totally stop using medicaments prescribed by the official medicine that he used before and undergo various plant diets with local plant teachers under supervision of curandero.

While use of biomedical drugs is getting more and more widespread in Peru among the mestizo population pushing out domestic remedies local people maintain respect towards ethnomedicine and knowledge about herbal medicine. Shamanic practices including rituals with psychoactive plants are used mostly in the cases of severe diseases which are not prone to be cured by pharmaceuticals. Unlike ethnotourists local population usually do not practice rituals with ayahuasca just for new experience. Locals are aware of risks caused by this rituals and restrictions in lifestyle required by the plant diets there ayahuasca sessions are served as exceptional healing tool.

The respondent emphasize the fact that traditional plant diets and curanderos’ activities can not be explained just as the naturopathic practices. Its efficiency is caused by its spiritual nature and cannot be understood beyond the animistic worldview.


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This article is available in full version in Russian

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