First Nations Healing Traditions and Pain

Little is known of the prevalence of the use of herbal medicine for pain among Canadian First Nations peoples. The compounding of herbal preparations is not regulated under the Natural Health Products regulations. The use of healing rituals such as sweat lodges, smudging, pipe smoking, the use of song, sun dances and prayer, the concept of the "medicine wheel" , and herbs such as sage, sweetgrass and cedar have all been described. It is interesting to note that the use of herbs such as echinacea, goldenseal, St John, s Wort, and evening primrose by First Nations healers is also increasingly receiving interest from a wider population. It is clear that within First Nations cultures and, increasingly, within Western society, indigenous healers are given a credibility that goes beyond our current

13.4 Clinical Evidence of Safety and Efficacy 157

13.4 Clinical Evidence of Safety and Efficacy 157

CAM modality

Figure 13.1 CAM modalities used among 170 chronic noncancer pain patients. (Ware et al., submitted).

CAM modality

Figure 13.1 CAM modalities used among 170 chronic noncancer pain patients. (Ware et al., submitted).

paradigm of evidence - based medicine and points to a fundamental role of the healer in society. This role is crucial in addressing the suffering that is associated with chronic pain.

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