A Place for Discourse
Five years ago, UCLA passed down to us this extensive archive of ethnographic and folkloric research. Since then, we digitized it to make it accessible to the public. The Archive of Healing™ constitutes over 375,000 entries, collected from both private and public folklore archives, some of which date back centuries. The AH team has made some progress without fully vetting the archive’s content for quality, and so reminds its users that the content in most cases reflects the age cultural context of its origin. The archive is, in part, a historical roadmap of healing modalities and may not reflect today’s knowledge on particular subjects. With this in mind we invite critical discussion on how healing knowledge differs across communities and cultures. You may find some of the data on the site to be objectionable, misleading, or erroneous. So do we! But we take pride in the fact that this archive draws from an array of content gathered from a wide variety of source materials, with language reflecting the unique—and often time-specific—cultural contexts from which the data was collected. Conserving the verbatim language of this historic data will help us observe the relationship between linguistics and medical literature which, like all institutional knowledge, is rife with flaws.
In light of the fact that The Archive of Healing™ serves as a scholarly database and not a medical platform, the AH team reiterates that no aspect of this site offers clinically verified professional advice for immediate health concerns or chronic ailments. Should you seek peer-reviewed advice for a health concern, please seek professional counseling from a licensed healer rather than rely on the information, opinions, or advice provided by the Archive of Healing. The AH publishes many pieces of medical literature that allopathic medicine has disproven or has not yet recognized, so the archive serves to prompt more questions than answers.
Community Vitality and Sovereignty
While most of the current data points included on the AH website are useful for healers and historians interested in unconventional medical practices, the AH aims to grow its website to serve rising numbers of global citizens (both medical patients and practitioners) interested in non-allopathic medicine as a supplement to conventional medicine. We encourage non-allopathic healers who wish to grow their community base to join AH our advisory board as we build solidarity towards the diversification of conventional medicine. All users are invited to participate in our comment sections where our thousands of members can share their experiences and expertise surrounding under-represented healing modalities.
Classroom and Service Learning
For educators seeking to prompt critical discussion among their students about cross-cultural perceptions of “wellness,” this database presents a unique resource where students will navigate multiple “truths” rather than one. Students might be surprised that a single search on“muscle pain” will result in hundreds of data cards citing highly varied naturopathic cures, some of which contradict one another, and many of which seem to defy clinical logic.
Here students might discuss: what have colonial institutions taught them about choosing one truth over multiple adjacent truths? What particular truths have our prevailing healthcare institutions historically silenced, and how does this limit what many in the Global North consider “common sense,” or even scientifically valid? Students might think critically about how their favorite data points were collected, and what about those data points potentially led them to be excluded from modern archives of conventional medicine.
Grassroots interventions in the control of knowledge production might one day democratize how public knowledge around “wellness” is normalized. The AH encourages all of its members to explore the comment sections on what they can do in service to communities whose healing modalities have been under-appreciated due to colonial restrictions on health and wellness.