Research into Traditional Medicine Practices to Treat Fractures
A study into traditional medicine remedies used in South Africa and New Zealand to treat fractures earned Dr Nireshnee Ramchundar a PhD in Pharmacy.
Ramchundar’s study was titled: The Management of Fractures by Traditional Health Practitioners: The Case of Zulu Medicine (South Africa) and Maori Medicine (New Zealand).
‘I am proud of myself for this achievement and feel encouraged to have made a difference in the traditional health sector,’ said Ramchundar.
Supervised by Professor Manimbulu Nlooto, Ramchundar investigated how traditional health practitioners diagnose and treat patients with fractures.
‘Fractures have always been complicated to treat,’ said Ramchundar, ‘and traditional health practitioners generally agree with that assessment. I have found that any illness, irrespective of its origin, has a spiritual component in indigenous knowledge systems trans-continentally. As such, the approach to treatment strategies extends beyond traditional herbal or animal-derived medicines.’
In her study she focused on traditional medicines used to treat fractures, identifying over 70 remedies that were used. ‘I have always been interested in the effectiveness of traditional medicines and as a pharmacist, I sought to put together scientific evidence on their efficacy. I have dual SA/NZ nationality and thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast traditional medicine practices in both countries,’ she said.
Her choice of fractures as a focus was because she suffered a wrist fracture which triggered arthritis when she was a teenager. ‘This piqued my interest and I decided to explore the orthopaedic world in the area of traditional methods of healing.’
Finding traditional health practitioners willing to share information with researchers had been challenging. However, she plans to share her findings with the traditional healing communities in both South Africa and New Zealand.
Ramchundar thanked UKZN for the opportunity, funding and support throughout her study.
A mother of six, she prides herself in ensuring a delicate balance between hard work and relaxation.
A member of the scientific editing team at the Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cactus Global, she loves spending free time laughing with her children, swimming, enjoying nature and watching a good hospital TV drama series.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan