folk medicine


Definition of folk medicine

: traditional medicine as practiced nonprofessionally especially by people isolated from modern medical services and usually involving the use of plant-derived remedies on an empirical basis

Examples of folk medicine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Many of those ingredients have been a part of folk medicine for centuries, but studies on their efficacy have produced variable results. Maura Judkis, Twin Cities, "A dozen stress-relief snacks, tinctures and teas later, and she’s still anxious," 3 Aug. 2019 But are these effects more than just folk medicine? Joanna Klein, The Seattle Times, "Lavender’s soothing scent could be more than just folk medicine," 26 Oct. 2018 In fact, honey has featured prominently in folk medicine for millennia, and reams of clinical studies confirm its wound-healing effects. Cristina Mueller, Town & Country, "Beauty and the Bees," 6 Dec. 2012 Many Indians rely on folk medicine Ayurveda practitioners and shamans in tribal areas. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "An unlicensed doctor with a dirty syringe infected dozens with HIV in India, officials say," 7 Feb. 2018 In these countries pangolins’ meat is a treat and their scales are used in folk medicine, even though those scales are made of keratin, the same substance as hair and fingernails, and thus have no medicinal value. The Economist, "Conserving pangolinsSome of Nature’s strangest mammals are also some of the most threatened," 31 Jan. 2018 Meanwhile, Leonie’s mother, Mam, lies bedridden, slowly succumbing to cancer; her commitment to voodoo practices and folk medicine are the only thing keeping her tethered to life. Ismail Muhammad, Slate Magazine, "Traumatized Ghosts," 18 Sep. 2017 According to her research, folk medicine in Armenia dates back nearly three millennia. Karine Vann, Smithsonian, "Why a Modern Cosmetics Company Is Mining Armenia’s Ancient Manuscripts," 22 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'folk medicine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of folk medicine

1878, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for folk medicine

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

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The first known use of folk medicine was in 1878

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More Definitions for folk medicine

folk medicine

\ ˈfōk- How to pronounce folk medicine (audio) \

Medical Definition of folk medicine

: traditional medicine as practiced especially by people isolated from modern medical services and usually involving the use of plant-derived remedies on an empirical basis — compare home remedy

More from Merriam-Webster on folk medicine

Britannica English: Translation of folk medicine for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about folk medicine

Comments on folk medicine

What made you want to look up folk medicine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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