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Ethnomedical science and African medical practice

The ethnomedical sciences are ethnobotany, ethnobiology, ethnopharmacology and phytotherapy. These fields are concerned with medicinal plants only, and the traditional medicines are mostly used. The author has extended the ethnomedical sciences by using traditional medicines in ethnomedicine, bacteriology, ethnobotany, and biochemistry, and thus ethnomedical sciences can be studied by a modern approach. The traditional doctors play a significant part in health care. They have both black and white patients, and they treat about 60%-70% of black patients in the country. Though they have been treating patients for many years, the patients' employers do not accept traditional doctors' medical certificates when they go back to work after treatment. In this case they first go to the traditional doctor for treatment and then go to an academically qualified medical practitioner solely because they need a medical certificate for their employers. Traditional doctors have been practising for centuries. In this country they are known as inyanga or ngaka and these designations mean doctor. Umthakathi or moloi means witch. Witchdoctor translates as Inyanga-mthakathi of ngaka-moloi.

Quoted from PubMed
Source: Matthe DS. Med Law. 1989;7(5):517-21.

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