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Traditional medicine revived in Argentina
By María V. R.
The indigenous peoples who lived in South America before the Spanish conquests, used natural medicines that work in harmony with our immune systems to prevent and cure diseases. The Mapuche are one of the original tribes that populated the areas that are now Argentina and Chile. In order to preserve their traditional healing methods they have opened a hospital where doctors, scientists and traditional healers all work together. This venture is the culmination of a 15 year study to find the optimal ways of combining modern medicine with traditional Mapuche healing. Each one has its own values, so the goal is to take full advantage of both forms of knowledge.
Western medicine is based on the idea that everything is separate, whereas the Mapuche believe that everything is part of a greater oneness. So Western medicine is more effective in fighting a specific problem, but the traditional medicine works better to keep the body in balance on a daily basis. The new hospital uses modern medicine in harmony with the local culture. One of the doctors summarizes it this way: “We didn´t know about many of the health problems that affect the Mapuche people because, like any disease process, it is closely related to culture. All cultures are different, so medicine must also be appropriate to each culture.”