The past and The present - Mixing Traditional and Modern Medicine in Africa

Article By Samantha Trolli IN News - 27th May, 2022

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     Herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years across the globe. An estimate shows that around 80% of the world population relies on herbal medicine for their primary health care. With this being so, its importance must be taken into account and not disregarded in the medical community. A way of doing this while ensuring efficacy and safety for the patient, is to have herbal medicines empirically researched.
     Africa has a rich history of herbal medicine usage. At the same time, Africa also recognizes the importance of incorporating herbal medicine and modern medicine. Rather than throw away the thousand years of tradition, Africa is sticking to their roots and growing into the present. An example of this can be seen with the clinical research of honey and the relationships developed between traditional doctors and biomedical doctors.  
     In Africa, more than five clinical studies have been conducted that focus on the positive health effects of honey in relation to different conditions (ie., Febrile Neutropenia, Novel Coronavirus, Dyspepsia, Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Oral Mucositis). The most common theme found across the empirical studies, is that honey possesses antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects. Clinical trials around herbal medicine are extremely important because they ensure the safety around the usage of these treatments. 
      It has recently become common for traditional doctors to work directly with biomedical institutions. The traditional doctor often guides their patients to receive testing, which helps establish the effectiveness of the treatment. This relationship also helps to provide a diagnosis, allowing the traditional doctor to provide the correct treatment more efficiently.  The relationship established between the traditional and modern doctor meets the demands of many patients who wish to receive traditional treatment. 
     To summarize, we can not forget about the rich history of medicine. Yet, we also must continue to move forward with the advancements made in modern medicine. Incorporating traditional medicine into clinical research is the key to tying the two together. While at the same time, the growing relationship between traditional doctors and biomedical doctors adds to the strength of the relationship between the two approaches to treatment. 

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