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Using Our Traditions

A Herbal and Nutritional Guide for Kenyan Families

 

At TICAH, we seek to learn and study “grandmother’s remedies” and bring them into more common and confident practice in AIDS-affected households.  Our approach to traditional medicine is from the user’s side in, from the patient or child in need.

 

In 2006, the Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) published a book called “Using Our Traditions: A Herbal and Nutritional Guide for Kenyan Families.” This beautiful 196-page book was the result of two years of work with HIV-positive support groups, herbalists, physicians, botanists, and others in an effort to catalogue and share safe and simple strategies for treating children and adults at home.

 

We also include how to know when a condition is serious enough to seek clinical attention, and how to identify the best natural remedy that is available if self treatment is possible.

 

The Guide the resulted from our participatory research and contains some 300+ herbal and nutritional recipes for treating and preventing 54 common illnesses.  It includes recipes for low-cost nutritious meals and has a plant index in six Kenyan languages and Latin.  The Guide is coded for use with low literacy groups.

 

TICAH also produced a bilingual English/Kiswahili deck of teaching cards to accompany training and this provides case studies for group discussion and learning.  Most of the plant remedies about conditions features in  Using Our Traditions are available on online here.

 

Since the publication of the Guide, TICAH has continued to work with community groups, health workers, HIV-positive support groups, adults caring for orphans and vulnerable children, traditional birth attendants and community health workers, and others to teach them how to identify illnesses, find natural herbal and nutritional strategies where they live, eat better, assure that their water is as safe as possible, prevent illness, seek help wisely when it is needed, and take more active and confident responsibility for their own health and the health of children and older people in their households.