Starostina O. V. Folk Pediatrics among the Tajiks. Tradition and Modernity

Olga V. Starostina
The Russian Museum of Ethnography
St. Petersburg, Russia


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ABSTRACT. Folk pediatrics is a part of traditional medicine. It is an area of rational knowledge about the health of the child in the process of their development, which for many centuries developed ideas about the methods of prevention and treatment of various diseases. Medical practice in Tajikistan was performed by tabib “professional” doctors, who prescribed treatment and necessary diet, and prepared drugs. An important role in folk pediatrics was played by midwives, whose field of work included obstetrics and assistance to the newborn and his mother for some time. Health services could also be provided by older, experienced women. The main methods of treatment were inhalation, warming, massage, diet, and prescription of decoctions and herbal infusions for a sick child.
Isolation, inaccessibility and low level of professional medicine influenced the preservation and development of traditional folk pediatrics in Mountain Mascho. In every village there live folk “doctors” who have extensive medical practice and provide assistance to villagers. The most popular specialists are midwives. Archaic methods of obstetrics and hygienic childcare continue to exist in the upper reaches of Zeravshan up to the present day. For the treatment of injuries, dislocations and fractures, local inhabitants refer to bonesetters. The essential medicines, which are used now in the Mountain Mascho, are decoctions, infusions, ointments and poultices made from local herbs.

KEYWORDS: Tajiks, Mountain Mascho, traditional pediatrics, folk healers, midwives


УДК 39:616-053.2(=222.8)
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2019-2(4)-27-37



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