Zambian Traditional Medicine.
by P S.
Zambia Traditional Medicine Billboard
The Zambian traditional medicine is practiced hand in hand with western medicine for the benefit of the Zambians health. In fact the use of plants and plant products for medicinal purposes, also known as herbs, dates way back before the Zambian people were introduced to western medicine!
In Zambia, it is not unusual to find traditional medicine side by side with modern medicine in the same medicine chest. Zambian people have been using traditional medicine for the treatment of different ailments throughout history and it has become a popular alternative to western medicine.
Most rural dwellers of the country still rely on traditional healers due to a number of constraints. One of which is lack of medical facilities or they simply reside too far away to access modern medical services during an emergency.
But it has been found that even people residing near modern medical facilities patronize these traditional health establishments. In fact, traditional healers live and practice their trade among the communities they live in and so understand their patients’ beliefs and customs better. Traditional medicine helps in keeping the Zambians healthy.
Yes, Zambian traditional medicine is no respecter of status; the rich, the poor, the educated, the illiterate, the Christians and non-Christians all seek the services of the Zambian traditional healers!
Preparation of Traditional Medicine
To prepare his medicine, also known as herbal medicine, traditional healers use anything from leaves, bark, roots, seeds, stems, porcupine quills and other mixtures of plant ingredients and animal parts. Traditional medicine is used to treat a wide range of illnesses and a variety of complaints such as malaria, gonorrhoea, diarrhoea, madness and a host of other sicknesses.
The art of practicing traditional medicine is usually passed from one generation to the other.
Preparation of Modern Medicine
Modern scientists also use the same plants to isolate the active ingredients which they use to make western medicine. For instance, quinine, a drug used in the treatment of malaria, is extracted from 'cinchona' bark. Another example is aspirin, which is derived from the 'willow' bark.