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Title: A field-study of the use and understanding of umqalothi (Strychnos henningsii) by traditional healers in KZN and its relationship to the homoeopathic proving of the substance
Authors: Mdima, Sihle Velenkosini 
Issue Date: 2011
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the
understanding and utilization of Strychnos henningsii (umqalothi, Red bitterberry) by
Zulu traditional healers and the signs and symptoms induced by the thirtieth
centesimal potency (30CH) homoeopathic dilution of the crude substance in a
previously conducted triple-blind placebo-controlled homoeopathic proving.
The study was carried out in four dispersed areas of KZN (Harding, Durban, Weenen
and Melmoth). From each area one isangoma and one inyanga were interviewed,
resulting in eight interviews. All visits were conducted by the researcher, who acted
as principal communicator and translator, and his supervisor, who assisted him by
doing live video recording of all interviews. The methodology employed was that of
qualitative interviewing using semi-structured interviews.
Each video was transcribed into Zulu text and subsequently translated to English text
by the researcher and his supervisor. The data obtained from the interviews was
then compared to data obtained from the previously conducted homoeopathic
proving of Strychnos henningsii 30CH in order to evaluate the overlap between the
traditional and the homoeopathic approach to utilisation of the plant.
After comparison, it was found that there was an overlap in the gastro-intestinal
system, cardio-vascular system, respiratory system and female/male genito-urinary
system and in some mental symptoms.
However, there were no overlaps found in traditional usage of the plant as an antisnake
venom, and in the proving symptoms related to scalp, hair, eyes, ear, nose,
face, mouth, teeth and throat.
After comparison between the understanding and utilization of Strychnos henningsii
by Zulu traditional healers and the signs and symptoms induced by the proving of
Strychnos henningssi 30CH, it was concluded that while there are certain overlaps,
the homoeopathic proving produced a wider range of symptoms which may either
serve to extend the traditional use, or overlap with existing traditional use not
exposed within the scope of this study. Interviews with a greater number of
traditional healers in a wider geographic area may reveal a closer correlation
between homoeopathic proving symptoms and patterns of use by traditional healers.
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements of the Master’s
Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2011.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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