Shahid S, Bleam R, Bessarab D, Thompson SC. “If you don’t believe it, it won’t help you”: use of bush medicine in treating cancer among Aboriginal people in Western Australia. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2010 Jun 23;6:18. PubMed PMID: 20569478; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2902429. [Free full text via PubMed Central]
Researchers at the Centre for International Health, Curtin University undertook a qualitative study exploring Aboriginal Australians’ perspectives and experiences of cancer and cancer services in Western Australia, “providing an opportunity to analyse the contemporary meanings attached and use of bush medicine by Aboriginal people with cancer in Western Australia.”
The authors note that Aboriginal Australians with cancer are twice as likely to die from the disease than non-Aboriginal Australians.
From the Discussion and Conclusions:
Bush medicine has spiritual significance for Aboriginal people as it is natural, comes from the land, connects to identity and spirituality and plays an important role in people’s health and wellbeing. Bush medicine is also connected to the holistic world view in such a way that the interplay between the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects is crucial in attaining wellbeing. Whereas hospitals and Western medical systems are representative of the dominant society reminding Aboriginal people of their loss of cultural knowledge, access to the traditional healing system, bush medicine and other healing processes repairs some of the damage inflicted by colonisation. The opportunity to access traditional knowledge through other groups who have retained this knowledge can be reassuring for Aboriginal people with cancer.
The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.