Follow by Email

Monday, 17 November 2014

A DAY WITH A HERBALIST

I am a very adventurous person. I always look out to try new things or meet new people. I think if Satan had some touring service. I would gladly go to visit hell.

So recently I had an opportunity to interact with some herbalists, partly because of the renewed interest in herbal medicine in the worldwide; I learnt the following about their activities.

I thought what they do had no links with the spirits, I was very wrong, yes they do. When I asked them how different they’re from the witch doctors, they couldn't give me any clear answer. But they insist that what they do is not witch crafty. May be for them they don’t ask for sacrifices, who know?   
The persons who administer the herbs are chosen by the spirits. They’re no ordinary people. One of them told me he has been practicing for over 2 years and he confesses that the work is hectic as it involves a lot of travelling to peoples home.

The initial phase of the treatment last for 3 and 4 days respectively for boys and girls.

The phase comes with all bunch of rules; no sex, no bathing (some herbs are applied to the skin), no hand shaking, no ‘arguments’, et cetera. It also includes a lot dietary restrictions that range from wild meat to fish. You’re also not to take any ‘western medicine’ during this period

When I asked about the correlation between the treatment and the rules, they told me, “we have been doing these for years, and for the medicines to work, the rules have to strictly adhere to.” They are just blindly following the rules with no explanation

Subsequent phases involve taking the medication until you’re feeling fine. There is no dose duration. If the disease reoccurs, you just resume.
A concoction ready for taking

My request to see the plants, from which the herbs were got from, was bluntly turned down. Looks like they jealously guard the plants. Even the idea of doing further research on the herbs was no exception.

Yes, they are Christians. They believe that there practice is in line with the faith of Christianity.
   
They were adamant to discuss the amount of money they earned. But one of them admits, “the money is good enough to enable us survive”.
  
They claim to treat many conditions including, bleeding disorders, edema (body swelling due to fluid accumulation), pain (joint, chest, muscle et cetera), and infections. “We have treated very many people, even prevented amputation of arms”, I was told.

Their clients include people from all walks of life. Some even travel from abroad to seek their service.

The fact is herbal medicines work. In fact the number of people using this alternative form of medicine is increasing rapidly. Most of the 'western' medicines are derived from plants. But what is lacking is regulation from the government. According to the president, the government will soon table a bill to regulate this emerging industry. It’s a good move by the government.

Of concern in medical practice, is the possible interaction between herbs and the ‘usual’ drugs. These interactions can sometimes be fetal. This call for more research on safety of herbs in Uganda.