Folk medicine  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Folk medicine refers to healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to a limited segment of the population in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience.

All cultures and societies have knowledge best described as folk medicine. Folk medicine often coexists with formalized, education-based, and institutionalized systems of healing such as Western medicine or systems of traditional medicine like Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, but is distinguishable from formalized or institutionalized healing systems.

Use of folk medicine knowledge is not restricted within the society to those who have served an apprenticeship, undergone some sort of training or testing, or have achieved a specific social status. Theories and practices of folk medicine may influence, or be influenced by, the formalized medicine systems of the same culture. From a folkloristic point of view, folk medicine is characterized by a reliance on narrative patterns and folk statistics ("counting the hits and ignoring the failures") rather than rigorous empiricism.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Folk medicine" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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