February 6, 1990 |
Lindy Saenz came to the United States in 1973, after a war-blighted childhood in Vietnam. The Los Angeles hairdresser remembers the sound of gunshots only a few blocks from her family's Saigon home. But just as fearsome a memory, she says, is her mother's therapy for colds--"coin-rubbing" or "spooning," a popular Southeast Asian remedy that relies on an herbal lubricating ointment known as tiger balm.
February 22, 1997 |
Horatio Zungu, a traditional African doctor, was trying to be helpful. "We don't use a medical system like Western doctors," he explained. Indeed. His patient, Victor Shabalala, removed his shoes to show respect to the ancestors. Then he lifted a goatskin bag, pressed it to his forehead and tapped it on each knee before spilling the contents on the floor. Zungu poked a stick at the scattered bits of bone, shell, ivory and coins to form his diagnosis. The patient was silent.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 20, 1992 |
This has been a rough week for Marta Limon. Her neighbor began selling crack, her son has joined a gang and her husband spent their savings when he flew to Mexico for his mother's funeral. If Limon were still living in the small Mexican village where she was raised, she would visit the local curandero (folk healer) to solve her problems. He would light candles to change her luck and then go into the mountains to pick a few herbs that would calm her nerves and help her sleep.
January 1, 1996 |
When Dr. Brian Berman first saw him two years ago, the man's face was paralyzed by pain. The 54-year-old cameraman suffered from trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that produces severe facial pain. He had found some relief through anesthetic nerve blocks and narcotic painkillers--but at a terrible price. He couldn't sleep, couldn't concentrate and was often depressed.
December 30, 1988 |
Too much of Africa's medicine was vanishing, it seemed to Mkhuluwe Cele. Dozens of species of trees had been harvested to extinction for their bark. So little ginger root remained that treating flu might never be the same. Even a special bulb for curing wheezing coughs and broken bones had been plowed under for sugar cane and highways. Professional herb gatherers were bringing less and less to Cele's pharmacy, even as the number of patients grew.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 7, 1991 |
The oft-quoted Journal of the American Medical Assn. said last week that it had been hoodwinked by followers of Hindu guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In a lengthy article and a series of letters from readers in the medical community, the publication accused authors of a report it carried last May of failing to disclose that they had a financial interest in the Indian herbal medicine promoted in the article.
August 20, 1987 |
They come hobbling on crutches. Others are in wheelchairs. Most walk without assistance. All share a common quest. They are in search of a medical miracle that they are told lies within the depths of old uranium mines--a natural radioactive gas with such curative powers that the crippled are said to walk and the blind made to see. "I was in bed three months and couldn't move.
August 16, 1998 |
The death notice arrived in the form of a blood test from an AIDS clinic. Ennie cried her heart out, but when the tears would come no more, she picked up the telephone. "I was raped by my own dad when I was 16," Ennie said the morning after learning she was infected with the virus that causes AIDS. Her last name is not being disclosed to protect her privacy. "The love I had for him failed after that, and I couldn't stand seeing him. But I called him yesterday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 25, 1991 |
An herb that the ancient Mayans claimed could cure athlete's foot has proved to be more effective than modern medications in combating the ailment, according to anthropologist Brent Berlin of UC Berkeley. He said tests of the plant, a member of the nightshade family, found it to be an effective cure for athlete's foot in a large number of patients.
August 19, 1995 |
On Avenue du Fleuve in the central market, young men sell dried dogs' heads. Pick from piles of them. Or heads of house cats, by the dozens. And stacks of monkeys cut into parts--all their assorted parts, with sun-dried faces shrieking silently and hairy dead hands clutching empty air.