About the Book
from San Salvador Island, including Pharmacology and Oral Histories
Jeffrey Holt McCormack, Kathleen Maier, and Patricia B. Wallens Foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan.
396 pages with 161 illustrations (104 in color), large hardcover (11.25" x 9" x 1")
Hardcover: $37.00 E-book: $14.50
Winner of Mary W. Klinger Book Award for outstanding book
of the year, by the Society for Economic Botany.
The residents of the Bahamas practice a form of traditional medicine using tropical plants for curing diseases and treating ailments. Their enslaved African ancestors brought to the New World a practical knowledge of medicinal plants, and a legacy of "medicinal plant literacy" that helped them "read" and recognize the potential healing qualities of the many new and unfamiliar plants of the Bahamas. Under the influence of European and colonial practices, their diverse beliefs and healing practices were then simplified, distilled, transformed, reformulated, and further refined by generations of experimentation. This form of medicine is of value today not only for what it tells us of a unique culture but for what it might have to teach us about traditional healing. This book, a comprehensive treatment of Bahamian bush medicine, is dedicated to the preservation and continued use of this knowledge before it is lost. Chapters explore the cultural roots, principles, and practice of bush medicine. The Materia Medica covers 120 medicinal plants, including details of administration and dosage, pharmacology, and cross-cultural uses; non-botanical remedies are covered as well. Throughout the book, oral histories provide details of the healers' practice and glimpses of the culture of San Salvador Island. Includes color illustrations of over 100 medicinal plants, and the people who use them.
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Dedication and Acknowledgments
This book is dedicated to the practitioners and teachers of bush medicine in San Salvador Island, Bahamas. This project would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of the interviewees who welcomed us into their homes, who shared their stories, served us their bush teas, and took us out into the bush to teach us about their knowledge of plant medicine. This is our gift to them, and their children, who we hope will carry the past on into the future. A portion of the net proceeds of this book will be donated to the Bahamas National Trust.
The research for this book was made possible by the Amy P. Goldman Foundation and Open Hands, Inc.