In Gambia, traditional medicine is as much a part of life as
is farming. Many people rely on it more than they rely on Western
remedies. When possible, Western medicine is used in conjunction with
traditional medicines to heal the sick.
The use of traditional remedies is not restricted to particular
doctors or healers. Most older Gambians, particularly the leaders
elders of a community, know how to use certain plants or herbs to
facilitate good health. In fact, traditional
remedies are usually the first recourse. The average citizen will
visit one of the clinics that
rely on Western medicine only after individual efforts using
traditional remedies has not
proven sufficient. Certain plant products can be
purchased at the pharmacy; others are found in the bush.
Many people feel that there is something that can be gained
medicinally from all plants. Therefore there is an infinite bank of
treatments for disease. Compiled above right is a partial list
of some commonly used natural products.
Gambia has official legislative / regulatory texts governing the
practice of traditional medicine. There is a licensing process for
traditional health practitioners and some traditional medicine
practitioners are involved in Gambia's primary health care programme.
Alternative Plant Remedies used in Gambia
Used to treat
Kalkato roots with
Seno and Wonko
Seno tree bark
Seno tree leaves with
Seno root powder
Bitter Kola nut
NOTE: Always seek the services of a fully-qualified doctor
before taking any alternative herbal or other remedies, medicines or
potions as they may have adverse effects on your health and / or fail
to give you the desired benefit.