Ancestral Medicine: Rapa Nui
When the first colonizers arrived on Rapa Nui, there were many native diseases, which were treated with remedies that came from certain plants and it was prepared mainly by infusions and used like an oinment. In that way the crashed thistle was applied in the wounds and ulcers, the amaranta in burns and a type of dulcamara (yerba mora (Solanum nigrum)) or "poporo" in the rapa nui language, was used to heal the skin.
They also mentioned a type of plant (bush) "kava-kava atua", that grew thanks to the power of a king and was used like medicine and ocationally as food. The "Ngaoho" (Caesalpina bonduc), was used for various healing treatments although they dont specify which one (Gusinde 1920:224); the "marikuru" (Sapindus saponaria) as a astringent (Source 1913:326) and the "ohe" or bamboo that was used for tooth pain, by boiling or burning and then placing it in the painful place.
It was common the healing of colds and chest pains with water vapour. For this a one man size hole was made, put hot stones in the bottom and it covered with a thin layer with banana leaves and grass. The pacient was lied down on that, and covered with the same type of layer.
For people who were tired, with headaches, dizzy or vanished, they practiced a massage or "tauromi" that consisted in frictions, slaps and pinchs. The aplication was made in a vigorous way "with the palms and nuckles in each muscle and tendon, also in each articulation of the spine column till the patient fell in to a profound drowsiness". (Thomson, 1980:58). For stomachache as well for woman after labour, they would put hot stones above the abdomen.
Certain diseases were treated by preasts or "tumu ivi atúa", when they thought that the cause of the disease was a bad spirit that had taken over the body, the "tumu ivi atúa" would go inside the shack and would stay in there for a long while, trying to find out what spirit was inside the patient. He would talk to the "aku-aku", and if he denied to leave the body, the priest would take him out violently.
A lot of these methods are no longer practiced due to the contact with the exterior and the introduction of Modern Medicine, which has been leaving besides the practice of natural medicine. But, in spite of that the people that live in Rapa Nui have stopped to recognice the eficciency of traditional medicine.
Magazine. Clava Nº 4. 1988. Sonk Society Museum. Viña del Mar, Chile. Traditional Medicine in Isla de Pascua".