A Critical Reader
Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
Botánicas in America’s Backyard: Uncovering the World of Latino Healers’ Herb-healing Practices in New York City
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Botánicas in America’s Backyard
Uncovering the World of Latino Healers’ Herb-healing Practices in New York City
This chapter examines Latino healers’ use and prescription of herbs and plants in New York City (NYC), focusing on botánicas (ethnic healing-religious stores) as main healing outlets serving a pan-ethnic population of Latino immigrants in the city. Botánicas provide a physical and a social space for the exchange of information and resources, as well as for the support of informal faith- healing networks on the basis ofreligious belonging (e.g., Santeria and Spiritism). Rather than conforming to discrete categories, plants and herbs reveal a poly-functionality in how they impact different aspects of clients’ lives, ranging from getting back a loved one to recovering from a serious health condition. Healers’ treatments, based on ritualistic cleansing, are pivotal to resolving Latinos’ ailments rooted in sociosoma modes of causation that imply social relationships severed by sorcery, spirit intrusion, and stressful living circumstances. Most of the plants, herbs, and roots found at botánicas are believed to have both natural and supernatural healing properties, able to deal with the multi-dimensional aspects of disease and wellbeing. The article will finally discuss the implications of these findings from a research and policy perspective, particularly regarding the need for research models able to account for the role of spirituality and religiosity in Latinos’ integrative systems of healing.
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