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Review Article

The Role and Characteristics of Collections of Folk Recepies in the Folk and Traditional Medicine of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Armin Skrbo; Izet Masic.

Introduction: Folk medicine represents part of the folk culture, when we first think about the rural culture with characteristic of the rural population in the pre-industrial period. The difference between official and folk medicine is manifested in the education, knowledge and social status of those practicing folk medicine as well as their patients. The most common ways of treating were the treatment by use of herbs, magic and treatments based on religious beliefs. So, it is of no surprise that folk medicine was the main form of treatment for the inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) in the past. In addition to many herbalists, quacks and religious officials who treated the patients with records, there were also spells, i.e. women who, by pronouncing various magic formulas, treated the patients. Each village had at least one person who practiced this type of treatment. Discussion: Numerous, original documents and records have been stored in the archives of the monastery throughout B&H, including very valuable literature in the field of medicine and pharmacy, which testifies of the very important role of Franciscans in the treatment of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most extensive health service of the Franciscans since their arrival in Bosnia in 1291 was the decadent era of Turkish rule, mostly from the 17th century until the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1978. In the sources of national thought, and on the basis of professional medical books, the Franciscans created recipes for the treatment of certain diseases, which they then collected in so-called „Ljekaruse“ (Collections of folk recipes), and over time there was a lot of them. Most of the ljekarusa are hand-printed booklets, for some it is known the time and place of creation, and less often the author of the text. Ljekarusa is a very important source of information about our medical past. Some of them were processed and recorded, while a significant part of these manuscripts remained unknown to the general public. They included recipes for various diseases and the names they were called by the people. Professional terms were not used, nor were the illnesses and the recipes ordered in any order or systematic manner. We learn from them that our people were once treated in the absence of doctors and pharmacists. Most commonly mentioned are various herbs, animal parts, mineral substances, and some of these recipes can be even applied today. All medicines continue to be transcribed by the people and valued as good old medical receipts. Conclusion: This review article presents a book (ljekaruse) that was archived in several famous monasteries in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Key words: Folk medicine;Franciscans;monastic literature;ljekarusa

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