Can ancient potions treat COVID? Short on modern medicine, Peru’s indigenous groups give them a try

unnamed file
Comando Matico volunteer Isai Eliaquin Sanancino, treats Sara Magin, who suffers from COVID-19 symptoms, applying an ancestral practice of the Indigenous Shipibo, in Pucallpa, in Peru’s Ucayali region. Credit: Rodrigo Abd/AP

The coronavirus pandemic’s ruthless march through Peru — the country with the world’s highest per-population confirmed COVID-19 mortality rate — has compelled many Indigenous groups to find their own remedies. Decades of under-investment in public health care, combined with skepticism of modern medicine, mean many are not getting standard treatments like oxygen therapy to treat severe virus cases.

In the Ucayali region, government rapid response teams deployed to a handful of Indigenous communities have found infection rates as high as 80% through antibody testing. Food and medicine donations have reached only a fraction of the population. Many say the only state presence they have seen is from a group responsible for collecting bodies of the dead.

The Shipibo highlight the use of a plant known locally as “matico.” The buddleja globosa plant has green leaves and a tangerine-colored flower. [Indigenous teacher Mery] Fasabi said that by no means are the remedies a cure, but their holistic approach is proving effective. Unlike in hospitals, volunteers equipped in masks get close to patients, giving them words of encouragement and touching them through massage.

Related article:  Can decades-old vaccines against polio and tuberculosis protect against the coronavirus?

“We are giving tranquility to our patients,” she said.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Lizardo Cauper, president of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest, said that of about 500,000 Indigenous people living in the Amazon, his group estimates that 147,000 have been infected by the virus and 3,000 have died.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend