This essay presents results of an exploratory project from 2000–2002 on folk medicine among Latinx healers in Los Angeles, initiated because little research had been conducted on botánicas anywhere in the United States. The findings reveal that most of the healers are steeped in more than one religious and healing tradition, and that many of these specialists are not, as sometimes assumed, poorly educated, unsophisticated, or adversaries of biomedical care. In addition, clientele are not exclusively Latinx, immigrants, or impoverished, and they seek help for physical, emotional, interpersonal, legal, and other problems including alcoholism, the last of which practitioners attend to with plant and ritual therapies as well as by recommending treatment centers. Data from this study can help inform educational and medical programs regarding faith-based and herbal therapies by vernacular practitioners in Los Angeles.


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pp. 53-80
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