Evolving Traditional Medicine in the Urban Amazon


This project looks at the evolution of traditional medicine – including the use of medicinal plants and other magical or spiritual techniques – in regions of the urban Peruvian Amazon. Through interviews and observations with folk healers and their clientele, residents practicing household herbalism, and researchers of biology, biomedicine, and phytotherapy, I sought to understand the ways that traditional medicine is approached and utilized in modern contexts. This includes a look at the integration of traditional and biological medicine in these areas. The research will inform the writing of a thesis for an MA in anthropology/folklore at UC Berkeley, and the text will examine the translation, or “validation” of folk medical knowledge into scientific knowledge that surrounds the practice of integrative medicine, and pharmaceutical research in Peru. Before completing this study, I have conducted research on the use of a native African plant species for the treatment of opiate addiction in clinical settings of Mexico, among other health-related research projects.

Tracy Brannstrom
Publication date: 
August 18, 2017
Publication type: 
Student Research