The majority of South African citizens experience inadequate healthcare due to underfunding, mismanagement, staff shortages, and infrastructure problems. Before a healthcare system was created, the sick turned to traditional herbal healers for care. South Africa’s Zulu healers possess specialized knowledge of local plants and medicine thought to have physical and spiritual healing properties. The country’s increasing reliance on Western biomedicine has created a current concern from indigenous medicine conservationists regarding the future of this kind of knowledge. In order to assess the effects of Western medicine on traditional healing practices, I collected data on the various uses of traditional medicine, the frequency in which it is used relative to Western medicine, and how it is maintained in the community. The data identified the various uses and potential problems of Western medicine and Zulu traditional herbal practice in helping the community. The traditional herbal healers revealed close connections between the informational, spiritual, physical, and cultural components of the practice that characterize its livelihood and practice for generations to come. This information allows for a greater understanding of how culture and medicinal knowledge can be entwined together and the positive or negative effects of biomedicine interacting with traditional medicine to help solve sicknesses in not only South Africa, but potentially in our global community.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Bahamonde, Holly K., "The Effects of Western Medicine on the Livelihood of Zulu Traditional Herbal Healers in South Africa" (2015). HIM 1990-2015. 1853.