Ardent users of public transport would attest to the fact that there are lots of things that one gets to see and hear when one takes public transport. You join a bus and there’s someone standing to share God’s word with you, someone else telling you about a recent business or a new development in the system. Or, the most common one, when you join a bus and having someone peddle one herbal medicine or the other.
I always wonder at the proliferation of “mobile doctors” in the system. No matter where you find yourself, there always seems to someone or the other selling you the latest herbal wonder cure. It’s either you’re being told about cinnamon, medicine for body pains, sexual weakness, issues with menstruation, and so many more.
Aside knowing that there exists an association for people who practise herbal medicine, I recently got to know that there are actual herbal medical doctors who are trained for six (6) years and deployed to herbal clinics. After having an encounter with one, she told me there are only two clinics of the sort attached to public hospitals. I was a bit taken aback because there are lots and lots of clinics using herbs as medicine.
In my quest to suppress the different perspectives I was having on herbal medicine, I took to asking some questions to get things clear once and for all and we took to talking at length.
According to the herbal doctor, there exist two different types of medicine. The Orthodox or Allopathic, popularly known as the “white man’s medicine” and then the herbal medicine. The former has been used extensively and when we visit the hospitals, that is what we are mostly given. These medicines come about as a result of taking the herbs through various procedures to extract the exact content needed to cure a particular ailment. As such, these medicines only have cure to mostly a particular discomfort one may be feeling. This is however not so with the herbal medicines. It is in its totality, a substance that does more than just giving relief. Whereas the “white man’s medicine” might be to suppress or control a malfunction in one’s system, herbal medicine does more than that. It goes a long way to eliminate whatever discomfort one is feeling.
It is true that humans have been exposed to the white man’s medicine extensively and as such, know very little or almost nothing about herbal medicine. However, herbal medicine has assumed some prominence in Ghana quiet recently. When asked why this is so, she said that research has shown that even though it has been in existence for long, the use of it is prevalent in some parts of the world and they are doing just fine. Since the world is now a global village, the use of herbal medicine extensively is now being incorporated into our public health centers.
I also took to asking her how we can differentiate the quacks from the original herbal practitioners. She claims that one should not always be on the lookout and not buy medicines that are just sold anywhere. Our health must be taken seriously and as such, we must give priority to that. Should you be experiencing anything which is not normal, get to the nearest hospital and you will be treated right. If the white man’s medicine is being prescribed to you and it is not working for you, you can ask your doctor to put you on herbal medication. It is done interchangeably with little or no problems recorded. Doctors with white man’s prescriptions can refer patients to herbal trained doctors and vice versa.
There has been a lot of successful stories on the use of herbal medicine and it can go a long way to even eradicate health cases that have come up if it is done holistically. A lot of misconceptions have come up . If you wish to get things right once and for all, just walk into any health facility to get the right thing done at the right time, and place.
We only get to live once and we cannot live what we have left with regrets.
WRITER: Millicent Fornyikpor