[Study on Healing Art Among the Aboriginals of Taiwan]

Zhonghua Yi Shi Za Zhi. 1994;24(1):5-8.
[Article in Chinese]


The aboriginals of Taiwan who settled the island prior to the Han nationally can be divided into two groups, sinified plain people and less sinified mountain dwellers. The mountain dwellers fall into different groups; the Atayal, Saisiat, Bunun, Tsou, Rukai, Paiwan, Puyuma, Ami, and Yami. Before modern medicine penetrated the lives of the aboriginal, disease was treated by sorcery or by empirically applied herbal medicines. We visited various townships in Taiwan, including Chenggong, Daren, Haiduan, Puyuma, Changbin, and Yanping of Taidong County, Taidong City, and the offshore island of Lanyu; Mudan, Pindong County; and Fuxing, Taoyiuan County. We thereby covered the Ami, Paiwan,, Bunun, Puyuma, Yami, and Atayal groups. Although the aboriginals of Taiwan belong to the Malayo-Poly-nesian cultural system, there are nevertheless major differences among them. The aboriginals of Taiwan believe disease to be a punishment of the gods or the malicious interference of evil spirits. The various groups have distinct shamanistic rituals. This paper discusses the practices of sorcery in the Paiway, bunun, and describes the herbal remedies used by them.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, Ancient
  • History, Medieval
  • History, Modern 1601-
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Traditional / history*
  • Taiwan