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Ethnopharmacy is the interdisciplinary science that investigates the perception and use of pharmaceuticals (especially traditional medicines, but not only), within a given human society.

It deals with the study of the pharmaceutical means considered in relation to the cultural contexts of their use, e.g. the the study of the cultural determinants that characterise the uses of these means within a culture.

It involves studies of the:

  1. identification and ethnotaxonomy (cognitive categorisation) of the (eventual) natural material, from which the remedy will be produced (medical ethnobiology: ethnobotany or ethnomycology or ethnozoology);
  2. traditional preparation of the pharmaceutical forms (ethnopharmaceutics);
  3. bio-evaluation of the pharmacological action of such preparations (ethnopharmacology);
  4. their clinical effectiveness (clinical ethnopharmacy);
  5. socio-medical aspects implied in the uses of these pharmaceuticals (medical anthropology/ethnomedicine).
  6. public health and pharmacy practice-related issues concerning the public use and/or the re-evaluation of these drugs.

Ethnopharmacy is often erroneously associated with ethnopharmacology, which is instead "only" focused on the bio-pharmacological evaluation of traditional medicines.

Ethnopharmacy shares instead a common terrain with medical anthropology and anthropology of pharmaceuticals.

External links

  • Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
  • International Society of Ethnopharmacology
  • Complete list of links to ethnopharmaceutical professional journals, associations, and databanks
  • Introduction to Ethnomedicine
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ethnopharmacy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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