«BULLETIN OF THE IRKUTSK STATE UNIVERSITY. GEOARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND ANTHROPOLOGY SERIES»
ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2016. Vol. 17

Folk Medicine of Mongolian Peoples: Drugs of Animal Origin in Beliefs and Practices

Author(s)
B. Z. Nanzatov, M. M. Sodnompilova
Abstract
The folk medicine of the Mongolian peoples is a generally understudied phenomenon, occasionally considered by scholars in the context of ethnographic, historical and sociological problems. Such aspect of folk medicine as healing methods and medicines is no exception. In this paper, the authors set the objective to present the most comprehensive survey of medicines of animal origin and healing methods used by Central Asian nomads. Analyzing the health of the indigenous population of Siberia and Central Asia, such as Yakuts, Evenks and Buryats scholars and travelers of the past (J. Georgi, M. Bogdanov, G. M. Osokin, V. L. Seroshevsky) arrive at a conclusion that the population of the region was generally healthy. The most typical diseases, such as fever, gastrointestinal diseases, ocular diseases (cataract), and rheumatism were mostly caused by the specific features of economic activity, specificities of everyday life and food ration. Geographical and climatic features of the region also contributed to preservation of good health of the local population. The conditions conducive to the preservation of good health are, undoubtedly, supplemented by the traditional nutrition complex of the Mongolian peoples. For instance, dairy food was widely used in the folk medicine. It also formed a considerable part of the Mongolian ration. Aarsa – a nutritious tasty milk beverage, a product of further distilling of arkhi, the milk alcohol, considered a highly useful medicine for gastrointestinal disorders and was believed to help strengthen the skeletal system of a man. Exceptional therapeutic qualities of mare’s milk were long known to Turks and Mongols since times immemorial. Since meat dishes were the kernel of the nomadic ration, medicines of animal origin occupied the central positions in folk medicine. It was, first of all, meat of the most valued and respected cattle – sheep and horses. Meat of practically all wild animals, birds, some reptiles and fishes considered medicinal. Besides meat blood, fat, hides, wool and horns of animals used in this or that way. Of special interest is such an effective ancient healing method as placing a patient into a raw animal hide, which used even nowadays. The efficiency of some healing methods of nomads confirmed by modern medical studies.
Keywords
folk medicine, Mongolian peoples, disease, complex food, medicines animals
UDC
392+613.4
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