History of sickness and medical art 4: in preliterate society 2

sweat lodge, a steam room of North American First Nations 

< sweat lodge, a steam room of North American First Nations >


We look at how shaman treats some medical arts.


Medical art of the easy illness

As for an injury or a stomachache, people do not request shaman.

In the case of a stomachache, Tasmania indigenous people bite and drink some asteracea plant.

In the case of constipation, Pygmy people in Africa give liquid medicine into his body through a hollow stem of vine for an enema.

Each indigenous people use many medicinal herbs.

If injured, a surgical operation will also be performed, and a medicinal herb with a hemostatic effect is used.

American Indians give man the melted fat, when he is deficient in meat, before becoming atrocious or man-eating fantasy

A steam room is used for medical treatment in northern Eurasia and the North American Continent.













in Malaysia, a shaman is treating a medical art

< in Malaysia, a shaman is treating a medical art >


Treatment to depend on shaman



An illness wasn’t cured by easy method, and his physical strength declined gradually and he became thin.

In this instance, the people considered the evil spirit and magic to be the cause of it.

Shaman gives a patient the diagnosis and the treatment.

Diagnosis is to find a supernatural cause of a disease.

Was a soul of the patient pulled out? Someone who bore him a grudge shot a kiss of death to his body?

He clarifies the taboo and the crime that the patient perpetrated, and the spirit that brings an evil.

He identifies the cause by hearing an oracle in a possessed state, by interview, or by a fortune telling.








患者の魂が抜き取られたのか? 恨みを抱く者が呪って災いの種を身体に射込んだのか?




in Borneo island, people dance throughout the night, and a shaman removes a soul from her head or puts in it. 

< in Borneo island, people dance throughout the night, and a shaman removes a soul from her head or puts in it. >



The disposal is whether a soul is returned or an evil spirit is driven out or a risked place is removed.

Many methods are performed with a ceremony, mystic words, and the fetish.

Occasionally, people will continue to dance and to cry several days, and send away evil spirit or calm down an angry spirit.

Holding up a rat near patient’s head of headache, the shaman of Andes moves evil thing from the head to the rat, kills it, and finds out evil part by fortune telling of internal organs of the rat.

The act of shaman that takes out diseased internal organs only with fingers from outside of patient’s body is widely seen, too.

For the cause of disease, they may suck out directly and may use a phlebotomy, a smoking process, and a steam room.

A lot of medicinal herbs are employed with mystic words, giving the droppings of an animal for driving out an evil spirit is also seen all over the world.













a shaman sells several medical herb in Peru

< a shaman sells several medical herb in Peru >


Shaman has full knowledge of cultivation, extraction, process, and effect of medicinal herb, and properly uses it to alleviation of fever, painkilling, urination, purgative, etc. 

Especially, when a ceremony was held, the hallucinogen was necessary for not only shaman but also families other than the patient.


Next time, I look at the life of pastoral tribe of Kenya.











Categories: culture+society, <english language, <japanese language, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “History of sickness and medical art 4: in preliterate society 2

  1. Nice.
    We were exposed to a number of home made remedies by our parents as a child but now a days it is getting very hard to share the same knowledge with the younger generation because of less of acceptance among them. There are remedies using easily available products for almost all sorts of illnesses http://indianhomeremedies.net/ http://www.iloveindia.com/home-remedies/

  2. Thank you for the information on the home remedies of India.

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