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Fawcett, Lt Colonel Percival Harrison - And the efficacy of herbal medicine

Identifier

022770

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

The Lost City of Z – David Grann

It wasn't just the lndians' ability to generate an abundant food supply-a precursor to any densely populated, sophisticated civilization- that intrigued Fawcett. Though the Echojas seemed to have no defences against imported European diseases like measles, which is one reason Fawcett suspected their population was so small, they had developed an array of medicinal herbs and unorthodox treatments to protect themselves against the daily assault of the jungle. They were even adept at removing the maggots that had tortured Murray.

"[The Echojas] would make a curious whistling noise with their tongues, and at once the grub's head would issue from the blowhole," Fawcett wrote. "Then the lndian would give the sore a quick squeeze, and the invader was ejected." He added, "I sucked, whistled, protested, and even played the flute to mine, with absolutely no effect."

A Western doctor who was traveling with Fawcett considered such methods witchcraft, but Fawcett regarded them, along with an assortment of herbal cures, as a marvel.

“With illness and disease so prevalent it is no wonder that herbal remedies are used," Fawcett said. "It seems as though every disorder has its appropriate nature-cure." He added, "Of course, the medical profession does not encourage people to make use of them. Yet the cures they effect are often remarkable, and I speak as one who has tried several with complete success."

Adopting herbal medicines and native methods of hunting, Fawcett was better able to survive off the land.

"In 99 cases out of a 100 there is no need to starve," he concluded.

The source of the experience

Fawcett, Lt Colonel Percival Harrison

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: John Bryant