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Role of Traditional and Herbal Medicine in Modern Society

Jul 1, 2008, 9:35 AM | Article By: By Augustine Kanjia

(An interview with Serigne Wagne)

Serigne Wagne recently gave us the first part of an interview on herbal and traditional medicine and cures. Serigne has just returned from his travel abroad and is giving us the 2nd and final part of the interview.

Point:Serigne, you are welcome back. How was your travel?

Serign: Alhamdulilah! I've gone safely and returned safely. Occasionally I to travel in order to visit sick people who call me, and I usually seize those opportunities to attend 'Gamo' or 'Maggal' and also visit relatives. I thank Allah for that and look forward to re-connecting with my cherished patients here in The Gambia.

Q. Serigne, you said in your first interview that you can cure most the illnesses in 3 days or 7 days, can you recount these?

A.Yes, with Allah's blessing, I do cure diabetes, hypertension, sexual impotence and dysfunctioning, goitre, piles, what is called in Wolof 'sochette' also 'ndoh-i-siti',  'coolie', and gynaecological problems including frequent miscarriage, menstrual difficulties or problems. I cure asthma and lesser problems like dysentery, open sores, toothache, and high fever.

Q. Diabetes is becoming quite rampant in The Gambia, how long does your cure take?

A. It can be cured in 7 days for those who follow the treatment strictly as directed. I always ask new patients to first go to the hospital for a check-up before starting my treatment. That way, people can observe the difference in condition. I just want to say that my medicines for diabetes and hypertension have presently finished, but I will inform everyone when the medicines are available again.

Q. What is the period of cure for the other illnesses?

A. They vary. I cure impotence and dysfunctioning in only three days. I have heard of other traditional healers and herbalists who treat this condition over periods of weeks, or month or months. I want you to believe that I am the only one who treats this in three days only. Also I can cure piles, ulcer, 'sochette', goitre, open sores and most gynaelogical problems. I can stop the coughing in tuberculosis n exactly three days provided it is not the TB that goes with coughing out blood.

Q. The other conditions take longer to treat, then?

A. Some of them do. Some of them which manifest various symptoms can take up to one month. These I want to call the mother of many related illnesses. For example 'ndoh-i-siti' which is water that circulates the body and causes dryness, excessive hotness going down to the sole or bottom of the feet, can also produce other symptoms or illnesses like hot flushes, peeling skin and pimples, asthma, severe constipation, leprosy, burning sensation on the soles of the feet, and many more. These numerous manifestations are what make it difficult to cure in a short time. 'Coolie' also takes a month or more, for the same reason. If diabetes and asthma take up to one month or more, it is only because people generally bring them up when the illness is at an advanced or critical stage, but they should normally take 7 days.

Q. Can I ask you what evidence you have of these cures?

A. Most certainly you can. I should like successful patients to speak for themselves. This is the best way. They can tell their own stories.

Q. How do we go about this?

(At this point Serigne produced a large quire book that contain records of patients and their phone numbers. Names were over one hundred).

A.  I wish to call a few of them at random so that you can hear from them first hand. (At this point Serigne Wagne called a minimum six clients which this reporter chose at random.We heard together some of the most impressive accounts of remarkable cures and recoveries. The patients were keen that we even put their names in any newspaper so that other sick people could call them for testimony of Serigne Wagne's treatment and their cure, and their great gratitude).

Q.  Well, we thank you for these amazing success stories and making us speak directly to your patients. So we shall provide their contacts as they themselves have requested, for the benefit of other Gambians with similar health problems.

A. That would be good for all. I can call hundred more names, and the story would be the same. All have recovered. Some of them call me to pray for me for what I have done for them. You heard a few of them just now. This makes me feel good and I have only Allah to thank for it.

Q. How much money do you ask; has any patient complained about your work?

A. No complaints , thank goodness. As for money, it is not the important thing; it is the restoration of good health that is important. Nevertheless, patients tend to ask me about price, sometimes right at the beginning.  That is understandable. But what is considered is the nature of the illiness and perhaps the work it entails. So you will understand why it would be difficult to state any fixed or mandatory fee. But I can say that cure and restoration of good health is always foremost in my mind. In fact for some of the lesser illnesses, I cure free of charge or give free directions.

Q. On what do you base your healing methods; God or man?

A. On Allah the Beneficient. I cure with various  herbs and plants, barks of trees and roots, and some of Nature's hidden riches, for drinking and for external application, both.  Certain prayers are also used.

Q. Finally, you stated in your first interview that all illnesses enter the body from things we eat, or drink, or through body openings. What do you want to advise our readers on protecting the body from these?

A. Yes, illnesses of all kinds enter the body at some stage of our physical development, either when we are grown up, or much earlier at the embryonic or foetal stage when parental illness  can affect the baby in the womb or at breast-feeding period. But all the same I want to advise that we should watch what we eat and drink. Food and drinks should be hygienic in the first place; in the preparatons, the serving, and the storage. If food is not hygienic or prepared in hygienic conditions, the body might pay a price for it. And

Food in particular should be properly cooked especially as to duration, condiments and timing of mixtures. We should chew or masticate our food well. What we drink should not be contaminated or polluted. We should try not to pollute the air we inhale, either through foul smoke, fumes, gaseous substances; also by cleaning our surroundings especially refuse dumps, we avoid inhaling germs or allowing them to invade our food or drinks. In short we should remember to eat healthy, drink healthy, and keep our environment healthy. It would also help to live healthy life-styles. This is basically what I can advise within this limited time and space.

Q. How can you be contacted, if necessary?

A. I can be contacted directly on 9753538 or 7048814, or by e-mail ( sereign2008@yahoo.com)

Q. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

A. It is my happiness, and I shouldn't forget to thank you also for making this discussion possible.

NOTE: Readers were promised contacts of successful patients who have volunteered to narrate their own sucessess and to give information about their treatment.

Those wishing to have some of these names and contacts may call this Column at 9953010 or 6459901.