Advertisement

Nina L. Etkin: Edible Medicines: An Ethnopharmacology of Food

The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, 2006, 301 pp., ISBN-13: 978-0-8165-2093-0 and ISBN-10: 0-8165-2093-3
  • Gina K. Thornburg
Book Review

In this wide-ranging book, anthropologist Nina Etkin examines the healing properties of an array of foods across many cultures around the globe. Her analysis is informed by the literatures of ethnopharmacology, human evolution, applied biology, food history, nutrition, botany, geography, microbiology, the history of medicine, alternative and complementary medicine, and the science of food and agriculture. Throughout the book she interweaves findings from her 35 years of fieldwork among the Hausa people in Nigeria to bolster her central argument that biocultural and coevolutionary perspectives help to explain the interactions between culture and food and to “understand the health implications of people’s food-centered actions in the context of real-life circumstances” (p. 4). Both perspectives hinge on the principle that food, people, environment, and culture are best understood through their complex and dynamic relationships to one another. The biocultural view understands that the...

References

  1. Fasano, A., Berti, I., Gerarduzzi, T., Not, T., Colletti, R. B., Drago, S., et al. (2003). Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States: A large multicenter study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 163, 286–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Olshansky, S. J., & Ault, A. B. (2002). The fourth stage of the epidemiologic transition: The age of delayed degenerative diseases. In F. Trovato (Ed.), Population and society: Essential readings (pp. 48–62). Don Mills, Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Peters, G. L., & Larkin, R. P. (2002). Population geography: Problems, concepts, and prospects. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  4. Simoons, F. J. (1981). Celiac disease as a geographic problem. In D. N. Walcher & N. Kretchmer (Eds.), Food, nutrition and evolution: Food as an environmental factor in the genesis of human variability (pp. 179–199). New York, USA: Masson Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

Personalised recommendations