Traditional Medicine and Community Mental Health in Rural Mexico

By Rudolph C. Ryser

Leslie Korn

As pharmaceutical drugs gain dominance in rural Mexico, the plants from which many drugs are derived are being trampled, lost to concrete, and even forgotten. Recognition of the limitations of pharmaceuticals has stimulated the revitalization of knowledge about forest medicines and foods. For over 30 years, Dr. Leslie Korn has led a research team of indigenous and non-indigenous practitioners and scientists from the Center for World Indigenous Studies who are part of a growing movement to conduct community-based action and research about the use of plants, fruits, and vegetables that will help and heal individuals and communities. Together these partnerships may be fruitful for everyone, as we explore the wisdom of Mother Earth and discover anew how we may sustain and protect the bounty she offers.

Book reading
Medicinas de la Selva/Medicines of the Jungle
Fri, Oct 10, 2-3pm
LifePath Center
Rinconada de La Aldea 29
For more information:

One of the outcomes of a three-year community-based project in Yelapa, Cabo Corrientes, is a small full-color plant medicine “chapbook” (a one-chapter book). This book explores the integration of indigenous sciences and biomedical sciences to support traditional medicine and community health in the Comunidad Indígena de Chacala, south of Puerto Vallarta.

The project was designed to support community knowledge, provide training to women and teens, and bring arts to the schools while producing a book that could be used by community members. Community members identified and selected the most important plants and foods for inclusion and described these plants and fruits for varied medicinal purposes.

Dr. Korn will discuss the project from several perspectives: traditional medicine, community organizing, and as a response to community trauma. She will read briefly about one of the plants.

Medicinas de la Selva/Medicines of the Jungle is a bilingual full-color book available in hard copy with a recently revised version available online on iBooks for IPad. Sales from the book support the Cabo Corrientes Medical Massage project, which brings free therapy to the region.

The second part of the reading will be from Dr. Korn’s recently published book entitled Rhythms of Recovery, Trauma, Nature and the Body. Hailed as the seminal book on an integrative medicine approach to the treatment of post traumatic stress and its aftermath of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, Dr. Korn draws on her experiences working both in her jungle clinic in Mexico as well as the “jungle” clinic at Harvard Medical School where she brought integrative medicine to the Department of Psychiatry.

Dr Korn’s clinical work in rural Mexico and academic training at Harvard eminently qualify her to unite the complex threads of conventional and alternative therapies into a compelling tapestry of therapies addressing the complex social, psychological, cultural, biological, and energetic causes and meanings of traumatic experience.” Join us for a stimulating afternoon.


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