By Avishay Artsy
Landis Brown/Unsplash A project more than 40 years in the making, the Archive of Healing is one of the largest databases of medicinal folklore from around the world. UCLA Professor David Shorter has launched an interactive, searchable website featuring hundreds of thousands of entries that span more than 200 years, and draws from seven continents, six university archives, 3,200 published sources, and both first and second-hand information from folkloric field notes.
The entries address a broad range of health-related topics including everything from midwifery and menopause to common colds and flus. The site aims to preserve Indigenous knowledge about healing practices, while preventing that data from being exploited for profit. “The whole goal here is to democratize what we think of as healing and knowledge about healing, and take it across cultures in a way that’s respectful and gives attention to intellectual property rights,” said Shorter, the director of the archive and a professor of world arts and cultures/dance.
Of particular concern is making sure pharmaceutical companies can’t mine the data and profit from Indigenous knowledge. The archive “doesn’t mention particular plant names or combinations that someone can make a lot of money off of, unless of course that […]
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