Redefining Apothecary

Today’s trip to the birthing center was another example at how well Bolivia works at maintaining and encouraging its indigenous culture. Witnessing the integration of Western and traditional medicine in such an accepting manner was inspiring. It’s common to see the medical field look down on traditional methods and remedies simply because it isn’t taught in medical school or advised/administered by an MD, but there is so much to be learned from these traditional techniques. After all, medicine originated from these very techniques; merely later refined and corroborated by science. It takes receptive, confident individuals, like the doctors in Oruro, to be willing to consider and incorporate the methods taught by the midwives, and trustworthy midwives to work with these Western-taught physicians; illustrating the high character of this staff.

As a quasi-hippie, the opportunity to learn about and buy all-natural medicines and remedies from these knowledgeable indigenous peoples was a dream come true. I’ve always been fascinated by how people were able to discover which plants had medicinal effects and how best to prepare/administer them, so having the chance to speak and learn from these individuals was remarkable. I will also note that the blemish remedy I bought has already had positive effects on my skin, proving the power of nature in healing organic matter. I once wanted to become a pharmacist so that I could explore the natural medicinal effects of plants and one day open an apothecary, and though I am now on the international law track, this experience has inspired me to grasp that past interest and explore the natural, regional medicines within every country I travel to in the future.

 

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One thought on “Redefining Apothecary

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  1. It’s interesting how we often forget that pharmacy began as apothecary, and that it’s not limited to “non-western” areas. I remember in Florence, visiting one of the oldest apothecaries in the world (Santa Maria Novella), where locals (and tourists) still purchase ointments and remedies.

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