Unbound MEDLINE

Rootwork: description of an ethnomedical system in the American South.

Abstract

The traditional medicine of black Americans, often labeled "rootwork," has its origins in slave culture of the antebellum South. Its continued influence on the health behavior of black Americans is reported for rural areas of the South and for poor urban areas throughout the United States. The rootwork system combines a belief in the magical causation of illness with cures by sorcery and an empiric tradition stressing the natural causation of illness with cures by herbs and medicines. Adherents of rootwork are medically pluralistic and seek help from a variety of practitioners when faced with illness. Adherents enter the clinical setting for the treatment of natural illnesses and present symptoms in accordance with traditional beliefs about the blood and "folk" categories of disease. Adherents may also consult magical practitioners, known as root doctors, for treatment of a variety of psychosocial problems.

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  • Aggregator Full Text
  • Authors

    Mathews HF

    Source

    Southern medical journal 80:7 1987 Jul pg 885-91

    MeSH

    African Americans
    Culture
    Diet Therapy
    Hematologic Diseases
    Humans
    Magic
    Medicine, Traditional
    Mental Disorders
    North Carolina
    Poverty
    Rural Population
    United States
    Urban Population

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    3603109