Ethnomedical practices of Tuva peoples and creation of drugs and biologically active additives

© 2012 V.I. Kharitonova, G.B. Kopeliovich


Key words: biologically active additives, ethnomedicine, Tuva, spiritual healing, practices, phytotherapy, medicinal plants

Annotation: The article represents the review of activities of the scientific seminar “Ethnomedical practices of Tuva peoples and creation of drugs and biologically active additives”, which was held on December, 6 2012 in Research Institute of Pharmacy (NII Pharmazii). The authors analyze the contents of the main speakers’ reports and make conclusions about the results of the event.


The scientific seminar “Ethnomedical practices of Tuva peoples and creation of drugs and biologically active additives” was held on December, 6 2012. The event was organized jointly by Research Institute of Pharmacy (NII Pharmazii) of I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and Group of Medical Anthropology of Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS.

For last several years the head of the laboratory of biologically active additives of NII Pharmazii, Ludmila Pavlova, leads the field research of plant raw materials in Tuva and their use in ethnomedical practices of local people. Based on this work L. Pavlova puts forward the following recommendations: to thoroughly study and use Tuva plant raw materials, to cultivate them in designated areas and prepare to use them industrially. The preferred way to do it is to create a factory in Tuva.

The idea of using Tuva plant resources was supported by the head of Tuva community, Ondar Chimit-Dordzhu Bayirovich. The Counselor of the Chairman of the Government of Tuva realizing how important it is to further study unique herbs and fruits of numerous plants used for long in local ethnomedical practices suggested to unite efforts of Moscow research institutes and Tuva research and practical forces.

The seminar was opened with a speech by Valentina Kharitonova who briefly talked about the peculiar conditions of Tuva folk medicine, spiritual practices of various local peoples, traditional medicines brought to Tuva from neighboring states. She suggested a classification of today’s local healing practices of Tuva. V. Kharitonova also supported the idea of the seminar promoted by L. Pavlova: to study local plant materials and create a local system of its application. It is well known that a very important part of any ethnomedicine, as well as authentic traditional medicine, has always been local raw materials. Many oral forms, as well as early written forms of medicine, advocated the idea that a human should take preventive measures and treat him(her)self when necessary using natural resources of the locality where (s)he was born and raised.

Later a series of talks were given by the researchers and students of the laboratory of biologically active additives of NII Pharmazii. Elena Rybakova gave an account of peculiarities of the plant pea shrub grivastaya, its use in folk medicine and local beliefs about it. Nino Chekhani expanded on the subject of research of antioxidant activity of plants used in Tuva ethnomedicine drawing on examples of some plants. Irina Pechenkina talked about how Showdon rose (Rhodiola rosea) is used in folk healing and traditional medicine. Healing practices of Old Believers living in the Tuva Republic were covered in the speech of Galina Kopeliovich. The last talk of Ludmila Pavlova was devoted to the usage of plant raw materials in ethnomedical practices of Tuva peoples.

The seminar was closed with a documentary called “Ethnomedicine of Tuva. Bouquet of Health” shot by the researchers of the laboratory of biologically active additives of NII Pharmazii based on their field work in Tuva.

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