Concepts of Illness and Treatment Practice in a Caboclo Community of the Lower Amazon

Abstract

Comparatively little has been written recently about the health consequences of social change and economic development in Amazonia. This study focuses on patterns of morbidity, treatment practices, and illness beliefs among caboclos of the Lower Amazon. It suggests that for these people traditional medicine is a salient marker of ethnic identity. An understanding of beliefs concerning disease etiology is critical to an appreciation of individual treatment choices in a plural medical system such as that found within the Lower Amazon region, where traditional healers can play a pivotal role in developing effective linkages to clinical services.