Shaman Medicine making news on NY times

An article on NY times dated January 1, 2008 caught my attention, an herbal medicinal approach in Shaman medicine. If you read the article it talks about marketing of Shaman medicine to the western world by fellow


In shamanistic religions a medicine is some magical object or ceremony, such as a medicine bag, that is used to control and direct supernatural forces. The term medicine also refers to the magical potential of the object or ceremony which is used for these purposes. Medicine Man or Shaman, carried a Medicine Bag or pouch with various medicinal plants and ritual objects, a copper headed axe, and a net, an object that is used to trap spirits in rituals and seen in various forms as a Dream Catcher. If we set aside the mystical and beautiful stories around Shamanic medicine, we can say that Shamanic medicine uses herbal plants to combat diseases. This is a very similar to Tantric and Ayurvedic practices.

The news article goes into the length of one Mr Kilham who has realized a gold mine in the Shamanic medicine and its beneficial effect, and is trading the herbal plants with the biopharmaceutical industries. He has a project going on in Lima, Peru to trade tuberous medicinal plants named Maca, that has shown to improve stamina, reduces the risk of prostate cancer and increases the motility, volume and quality of sperm. They article continues to say that Mr. Kilham is adored by the locals in these desolate, wind-swept villages. On a recent visit here, shamans, maca growers and their families flocked to him. Since only maca and potatoes grow at this altitude, they are thankful Mr. Kilham is helping them sell their produce.

This makes one think that only when the western world rubber stamps a product, then rest of the world follows it. Is Mr. Kilham a “biopirate,” an outsider who steals traditional knowledge and fails to pass on the benefits to the local community or is he a messiah who is helping the world and the local community from benefiting from each other?

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