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n Mousaion - Documenting indigenous knowledge about Africa's complementary and alternative medicine : a cause for concern?

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Abstract

This article explores the global debates concerning documenting indigenous knowledge (IK) about Africa's complementary and alternative medicine (e-ACAM). The article further explores whether it is possible to document both the common and uncommon knowledge about e-ACAM given that the uncommon knowledge of e-ACAM is practised secretly as it is a source of livelihood for traditional medicine practices. The framework presented in the article stems from the notion that the ethnopharmacological information of medicinal plants is fast disappearing and in view of the rapid loss of such knowledge, its documentation as well as a better understanding of its botanico-historical roots has become an essential task. With further theoretical research it is revealed that the uncommon aspect of e-ACAM may be difficult or impossible to document as it encompasses secret knowledge. The article proposes measures within intellectual property rights (IPR) in the form of patents that could be implemented in order to document those types of e-ACAM that embrace secrecy and are a source of livelihood for traditional medicine practices.

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/content/mousaion/33/1/EJC173002
2015-01-01
2016-12-06
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