On the dangers of nature - modernising and responsibilising Eastern and Western herbal medicine

  • Ayo Juhani Wahlberg (Foredragsholder)

    Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


    In Vietnam, it is often argued that traditional herbal medicine is "gentler, less aggressive and less toxic" than modern pharmaceuticals, a sentiment shared in the United Kingdom where herbalists suggest that their medicine is "a kinder alternative to mainstream medicine, providing a safe, gentle and effective approach to health care". Yet, on the other hand, the very 'naturalness' of herbal remedies has come under increasing challenge by a number of herbal product recalls by health authorities on the grounds of reported adverse effects due to heavy metal contamination or traces of undeclared synthetic medicines. This paper traces the problematisations of the products, practitioners and patients of herbal medicine that have informed and justified comprehensive national programmes to scientifically modernise and responsibilise traditional herbal medicine in both Vietnam and the UK since the 1950s. By analysing the introduction of national herbal pharmacopoeieas, improved quality control procedures, herbal practitioner training standards and consumer awareness programmes, I argue that past colonial and medical strategies to marginalise and exclude the 'quacks' of traditional and alternative medicines have been replaced by strategies of responsibilisation as a means to reconcile the problem of the gentle yet potentially dangerous 'natural' medicine.
    Periode17 aug. 2005
    Begivenhedstitel11th International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia
    PlaceringMunich, TysklandVis på kort