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Latina/o Local Knowledge about Diabetes: Emotional Triggers, Plant Treatments, and Food Symbolism

Latina/o Local Knowledge about Diabetes: Emotional Triggers, Plant Treatments, and Food Symbolism

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter Four Latina/o Local Knowledge about Diabetes: Emotional Triggers, Plant Treatments, and Food Symbolism
Source:
Diagnosing Folklore
Author(s):
Michael Owen Jones
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496804259.003.0005

Local knowledge and folk customs, in particular, play a significant role in shaping communal dietary practices and approaches to treating ailments and disease, sometimes in defiance of “official” medical knowledge and direction. In chapter 4, “Latino/a Local Knowledge About Diabetes: Emotional Triggers, Plant Treatments, and Food Symbolism,” Michael Owen Jones explores several areas of Latino/a local knowledge and belief about diabetes collected around Los Angeles, California. Here again, informant narratives powerfully reflect the critical intersection of folk culture and institutional authority. Charting explanatory models regarding causes and the course of illness or disease, the folk use of plants and botanicals to lower blood glucose levels, awareness of non-nutritional meanings and uses of food—rituals, symbols, and sources of identity—regularly ignored by dieticians, self-reported “barriers” to maintaining a recommended dietary regimen, and perceptions of the social and psychological dimensions of illness that all too rarely are considered by medical personnel, Jones sheds light into how clinical and public health officials must develop culturally sensitive treatment plans that more accurately recognize and respond to local exigencies and the preponderance of emotional and environmental stress in treating diabetes within Latino/a communities.

Keywords:   Diabetes, Folk Medicine, Herbal Medicine, Latino/a, Emotional and Illness

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