Presentation Title

**A Culture of Health: Herbal Remedies of the Peruvian Highlands** Exemplary Presentation

Faculty Mentor

Teresa Delfin

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 2:30 PM

Location

15-1807

Session

Social Science 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

At the core of social relationships in the Peruvian highlands is reciprocity, the giving and taking of mutual assistance. In Quecha, the native language spoken in the Peruvian highlands, many words are used to differentiate between differing modes of reciprocity. Ayni refers to the sharing of work between kinsmen and compadres that is expected to be kept in balance, while mink’a refers to an asymmetrical situation in which one party is owed a service by the other. As reciprocal relationships are central to the sociocultural worldview of the Peruvian highlands, reciprocity can also be used as a foundation for understanding a Peruvian “model of health.” The goal of this research is to describe a model of health for residents of the Peruvian highlands, with the hope that it be employed in the development of future health promotion initiatives, working in the region. Findings are based on more than ten formal ethnographic interviews and significant participant observation conducted in June, 2016 throughout the Peruvian highlands in and around Cusco, and on Amantaní, Taquile and Uros islands plus other locations. Participants described spiritual and physical health as the two most important aspects of health that comprise holistic health. Participants categorized faith, and religion as factors with the capacity to influence spiritual health, and defined physical health in terms of fitness for the labor necessary to sustain oneself and family. It was made clear that spiritual health and physical health are inextricably linked, both able to influence one another. Spiritual health and physical themselves interact in an asymmetrical form of reciprocity where the relationship between spiritual and physical health is like mink’a and the relationship between physical and spiritual health is like ayni. Spiritual health has a greater capacity to influence physical health than physical health does spiritual health.

Summary of research results to be presented

In developing a model of health, one seeks a culturally significant social model that can be used as a foundation to begin describing a communities’ understanding of wellbeing. One such model that is inherent in the worldview of the Peruvian highlands is that of reciprocity, and its cultural significance gives its application to health credence. As reciprocal relationships between two people force the tides of balance back and forth, so do those relationships of reciprocity between spiritual and physical health in the Peruvian highlands. As spiritual health changes, so does physical health. Participants define physical health in terms of aptitude to perform labor, which makes sense particularly in rural settings in which people are dependent on their own bodies for the production of caloric sustenance. Those that appear healthy in this region are somewhat short and heavyset, which is according to participants, beneficial for work. Each aspect of health has its own practitioners: physical health has medical doctors, and spiritual health has shaman and priests. Faith and religion are two key factors, among countless, with the capacity to influence spiritual health. Shaman and priests each influence spiritual health in the context of faith and religion respectively. While pharmaceuticals are used exclusively in the context of influencing physical health, medicinal herbs are used to influence both spiritual and physical health. Medicinal herbs are used in both a curative and prophylactic context, and those herbs used to influence spiritual health are of the highest cultural significance.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 2:30 PM

**A Culture of Health: Herbal Remedies of the Peruvian Highlands** Exemplary Presentation

15-1807

At the core of social relationships in the Peruvian highlands is reciprocity, the giving and taking of mutual assistance. In Quecha, the native language spoken in the Peruvian highlands, many words are used to differentiate between differing modes of reciprocity. Ayni refers to the sharing of work between kinsmen and compadres that is expected to be kept in balance, while mink’a refers to an asymmetrical situation in which one party is owed a service by the other. As reciprocal relationships are central to the sociocultural worldview of the Peruvian highlands, reciprocity can also be used as a foundation for understanding a Peruvian “model of health.” The goal of this research is to describe a model of health for residents of the Peruvian highlands, with the hope that it be employed in the development of future health promotion initiatives, working in the region. Findings are based on more than ten formal ethnographic interviews and significant participant observation conducted in June, 2016 throughout the Peruvian highlands in and around Cusco, and on Amantaní, Taquile and Uros islands plus other locations. Participants described spiritual and physical health as the two most important aspects of health that comprise holistic health. Participants categorized faith, and religion as factors with the capacity to influence spiritual health, and defined physical health in terms of fitness for the labor necessary to sustain oneself and family. It was made clear that spiritual health and physical health are inextricably linked, both able to influence one another. Spiritual health and physical themselves interact in an asymmetrical form of reciprocity where the relationship between spiritual and physical health is like mink’a and the relationship between physical and spiritual health is like ayni. Spiritual health has a greater capacity to influence physical health than physical health does spiritual health.