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Traditional health practitioners' perceptions, herbal treatment and management of HIV and related opportunistic infections.

Davids D, Blouws T, Aboyade O, Gibson D, De Jong JT, Van't Klooster C, Hughes G - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2014)

Bottom Line: Remedies included mixes of up to five plants.THPs generally rely on biomedical diagnosis before treating a client.They also seek guidance from the ancestors for a particular diagnosis, the plants to use for a specific treatment, when to harvest, and how to administer herbal remedies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa. 2732266@uwc.ac.za.

ABSTRACT

Background: In South Africa, traditional health practitioners' (THPs) explanatory frameworks concerning illness aetiologies are much researched. However there is a gap in the literature on how THPs understand HIV-related opportunistic infections (OIs), i.e. tuberculosis, candidiasis and herpes zoster. This study aimed to comprehend THPs' understandings of the aforementioned; to ascertain and better understand the treatment methods used by THPs for HIV and OIs, while also contributing to the documentation of South African medicinal plants for future conservation.

Methods: The study was conducted in two locations: Strand, Western Cape where THPs are trained and Mpoza village, Mount Frere, Eastern Cape from where medicinal plants are ordered or collected. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 53 THPs of whom 36 were diviners (amagrirha: isangoma) and 17 herbalists (inyanga). THPs were selected through a non-probability "snowball" method. Data were analysed using a thematic content analysis approach. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted and plants used to manage HIV and OIs were collected. A complete set of voucher specimens was deposited at the University of the Western Cape Herbarium for identification. Plant names were checked and updated with Kew's online website http://www.theplantlist.org .

Results: THPs conceptualise the aetiology of HIV and OIs at two related levels. The first involves the immediate manifestation of the illness/condition because of a viral infection in the blood (HIV), the presence of bacteria in the lungs (tuberculosis), or weakened state of the body making it susceptible to OIs. The presence of OIs is indicative of the probable presence of HIV. The second level of causation affects the first, which includes pollution, changes in cultural sexual norms, witchcraft, environmental factors, and lack of adherence to ancestral rituals. THPs reported using 17 plants belonging to 12 families. Remedies included mixes of up to five plants.

Conclusion: This study explored the THPs' perspectives on HIV and commonly associated OIs and their herbal treatment methods. THPs generally rely on biomedical diagnosis before treating a client. They also seek guidance from the ancestors for a particular diagnosis, the plants to use for a specific treatment, when to harvest, and how to administer herbal remedies.

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Traditional Herbal Practitioners’ conceptualisation of the aetiology/cause of disease.
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Fig3: Traditional Herbal Practitioners’ conceptualisation of the aetiology/cause of disease.

Mentions: None of the THPs in both study areas claimed to have diagnosed HIV or TB. THPs always relied on a diagnosis of a qualified health-care practitioner from a local clinic. THPs in both areas had homogenous ideas about how to treat the symptoms of OIs, which is not surprising, since many of the THPs in Strand originated from or had received their training in the Eastern Cape. Practices varied between diviners and herbalists. Diviners relied more on guidance from the ancestors when treating OIs, while herbalists generally practice with herbs only, and in some instances would consult a diviner when a client presented with an uncommon symptom. Drawing on responses from semi-structured interviews and FGDs, THPs’ conceptualisation about HIV, and especially OIs, fell across four spheres of influence as can be seen in Figures 2 and 3. While it was evident that THPs relied on a biomedical diagnosis, they also understood the symptoms with which a client presented as a combination of biomedical diagnosis and symptoms, biomedical diagnosis and ancestors; and ancestors and symptoms. These ideas about HIV and OIs are also related to THPs’ understandings of the cause of disease which were further grouped into three categories, i.e. physical, environmental and spiritual pollution. These categories were sometimes used interchangeably as causes of disease and varied among the THPs and between THPs from Strand and Mpoza (see Figures 2 and 3).Figure 2


Traditional health practitioners' perceptions, herbal treatment and management of HIV and related opportunistic infections.

Davids D, Blouws T, Aboyade O, Gibson D, De Jong JT, Van't Klooster C, Hughes G - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2014)

Traditional Herbal Practitioners’ conceptualisation of the aetiology/cause of disease.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4414384&req=5

Fig3: Traditional Herbal Practitioners’ conceptualisation of the aetiology/cause of disease.
Mentions: None of the THPs in both study areas claimed to have diagnosed HIV or TB. THPs always relied on a diagnosis of a qualified health-care practitioner from a local clinic. THPs in both areas had homogenous ideas about how to treat the symptoms of OIs, which is not surprising, since many of the THPs in Strand originated from or had received their training in the Eastern Cape. Practices varied between diviners and herbalists. Diviners relied more on guidance from the ancestors when treating OIs, while herbalists generally practice with herbs only, and in some instances would consult a diviner when a client presented with an uncommon symptom. Drawing on responses from semi-structured interviews and FGDs, THPs’ conceptualisation about HIV, and especially OIs, fell across four spheres of influence as can be seen in Figures 2 and 3. While it was evident that THPs relied on a biomedical diagnosis, they also understood the symptoms with which a client presented as a combination of biomedical diagnosis and symptoms, biomedical diagnosis and ancestors; and ancestors and symptoms. These ideas about HIV and OIs are also related to THPs’ understandings of the cause of disease which were further grouped into three categories, i.e. physical, environmental and spiritual pollution. These categories were sometimes used interchangeably as causes of disease and varied among the THPs and between THPs from Strand and Mpoza (see Figures 2 and 3).Figure 2

Bottom Line: Remedies included mixes of up to five plants.THPs generally rely on biomedical diagnosis before treating a client.They also seek guidance from the ancestors for a particular diagnosis, the plants to use for a specific treatment, when to harvest, and how to administer herbal remedies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa. 2732266@uwc.ac.za.

ABSTRACT

Background: In South Africa, traditional health practitioners' (THPs) explanatory frameworks concerning illness aetiologies are much researched. However there is a gap in the literature on how THPs understand HIV-related opportunistic infections (OIs), i.e. tuberculosis, candidiasis and herpes zoster. This study aimed to comprehend THPs' understandings of the aforementioned; to ascertain and better understand the treatment methods used by THPs for HIV and OIs, while also contributing to the documentation of South African medicinal plants for future conservation.

Methods: The study was conducted in two locations: Strand, Western Cape where THPs are trained and Mpoza village, Mount Frere, Eastern Cape from where medicinal plants are ordered or collected. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 53 THPs of whom 36 were diviners (amagrirha: isangoma) and 17 herbalists (inyanga). THPs were selected through a non-probability "snowball" method. Data were analysed using a thematic content analysis approach. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted and plants used to manage HIV and OIs were collected. A complete set of voucher specimens was deposited at the University of the Western Cape Herbarium for identification. Plant names were checked and updated with Kew's online website http://www.theplantlist.org .

Results: THPs conceptualise the aetiology of HIV and OIs at two related levels. The first involves the immediate manifestation of the illness/condition because of a viral infection in the blood (HIV), the presence of bacteria in the lungs (tuberculosis), or weakened state of the body making it susceptible to OIs. The presence of OIs is indicative of the probable presence of HIV. The second level of causation affects the first, which includes pollution, changes in cultural sexual norms, witchcraft, environmental factors, and lack of adherence to ancestral rituals. THPs reported using 17 plants belonging to 12 families. Remedies included mixes of up to five plants.

Conclusion: This study explored the THPs' perspectives on HIV and commonly associated OIs and their herbal treatment methods. THPs generally rely on biomedical diagnosis before treating a client. They also seek guidance from the ancestors for a particular diagnosis, the plants to use for a specific treatment, when to harvest, and how to administer herbal remedies.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus