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Medicine men or healers are usually called arbularyo, albularyo or hilot in the Philippines. They may prescribe herbs, perform treatments or massages, certain protective prayers for curses, or even employ magic. Highly sophisticated arbularyos would correspond to Filipino shamans or witch doctors.
Arbulario comes from the Spanish word for herbalist. They are experts on folk medicine. Many, for example, know how to reset dislocated shoulders, sprained ankles etc. Thousands of plants and herbs in the Philippines are undocumented and need to be reasearched for the medical properties. Many arbularios have learned and handed down medical applications of these herbs.
Medical doctors are very expensive for indigent folk like farmers and fishermen. Arbularyos are a very cheap alternative and many times the only option for many indigent folk. They are typically found in barrios or small barangays with people lined up outside. Arbularyos do not necessarily ascribe to or believe in magic, but they are the poor man's alternative for medical relief in deeper rural areas. Diagnosis and treatments are made not only on the physical level but on an emotional or spiritual level as well.
- Folk medicine
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