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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.104

Indigenous Women's Health Knowledge


  • Leslie PAGE

Primary authors

  • Leslie PAGE (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)


Indigenous Women's Health Knowledge Human biology has cast women in care giving roles (parturition, nourishment, safeguarding infants and children, and often caring for the ill) in their familial, tribal and wider communities. Keen observation led to the acquisition and use of various remedies derived from the surrounding ecosystems, and to a division between providing physical remedies versus spiritual treatments. This indigenous health knowledge was passed through generations of women, even in cultures whose designated healers were male. Using detailed knowledge of their environment and aggregated knowledge of herbal treatments, women have sustained populations over many generations. When their cultures are not sustained, or their natural environments are significantly altered, that knowledge is lost. In this paper, I will explore the female roots of South Asian Ayurvedic medicine, the local ecosystem-derived medicines used by female practitioners of Tibetan medicine (before 1920), and the knowledge of an Italian village ""herb woman"" of the late 19th and early 20th century.