#Article (Archive)

Role of Traditional Medicine in Modern Society

May 6, 2008, 6:09 AM

It was interesting and enlightening to hear from a traditional healer in The Gambia, Serign Wagne, expound on the theme of traditional medicine in an interview arranged with this paper.

From generation to generation man's condition of health and illness has become more and more complex, as the world itself has become more complex in its set-up, lifestyle and especially its eating habits. Disease and illness are multiplying, and their types and strains almost outpace medical science and research. Traditional medicine therefore comes in to play a major part that was hitherto not fully recognised or acknowledged. Traditional medicine has from time immemorial, not taken off from cure of symptoms, but from root causes of illness. It is championed by one of the schools of traditional medicine that all human illness come from outside the human frame and enter it through drinks, food, or ingestion, or any combination of these factors. Some of the foods we eat are either unhealthy or unhygiencally prepared, or not eaten sensibly (overeating or indigestion).

Some of our drinks leave much to be desired, ranging from carbonated drinks to 'attaya' to spirits. some even dare to imbibe 'koubee-jaaroo'! Traditionalists go further to stress that even the air we breathe has been mismanaged by the effects of allowing bacteria from refuse dumps, smoke, car exhausts, and airborne diseases to enter it. We impregnate our bodies with needles of heroine, or sniffs of cocaine, or sexually transmitted diseases. We take nicotine and marijuana into our bodies. The list is not conclusive and is growing ad infinitum.

It is true, as claimed by a group of traditionalists, that all of these agents can, and do cause negative or injurious conditions in the body's system and functions. It is also apparently true that all these harmful conditions do in fact enter the body through what we eat or what we drink or inhale or ingest, as also claimed by a school of traditional healers.

The lesson to be learnt from this premise is that man would be smart now to prevent these harmful occurences by healthy eating, healthy drinking, and guarding against ingesting harmful substances.

We should learn to eat natural foods and not artificial foods and seasonings. We should take healthy or healthful drinks only. We need to avoid polluting and contaminating the environment in which we live, or try to live. The position taken by modern traditional healers deserve all our commendation and our undivided attention.

"Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of; a blessing money cannot buy".

Izaak Walton