EPISTEMOLOGICAL BASE OF TRADITIONAL HERBAL MEDICINE: A CASE OF UGANDA
There is noticeable reversion of traditional approaches in the treatment of physical and psychosocial ailments. In part this comes because conventional medicines are becoming ineffective and expensive and there is a feeling that traditional medical approaches are more, this is coupled by the fact that western medicines are extracted from traditional approaches. The study tried to find out exactly the epistemological foundation of traditional herbals among traditional experts. The rational under guarding this research was that traditional approaches are not exactly the same as western approaches and in many instances, the practitioners are not aware of their methodologies, yet there is no way in post modernism where people can sustain a practice without a clear understanding of its verisimilitude, hence this study was an investigation of the epistemological foundation of traditional herbal medicine. The research was conducted in Central, Western, Northern and Eastern regions of Uganda and principally used document analysis, elite interviews and focus group discussions. In each of the four regions, five traditional birth attendant, five traditional bone setters, five traditional herbalists, five Village elders, and two NACOTHA (National council of traditional healers’ association) officials were purposely selected giving a total of eighty eight participants. Data was analyzed using emerging themes, cross case analysis and within case analysis were done in order to obtain the epistemological base of traditional herbal medicine in Uganda. The study concluded that the originative epistemic medium for African traditional herbals are non-conventional, involving Intuition and Conjectures and refutations always facilitated by plant communication, however, testimonial, perceptual and memorial seemings are secondary sources. In addition, their epistemological theory is twofold that is, Malebranche’s theory and bucket theory of mind. The study recommended that Bayesian epistemology (experimentation and verification) and Popperian world three of knowledge be introduced in traditional herbal practice.
|Keywords: epistemology, foundation, traditional, medicine, herbalism.|
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