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January 2022

J Ethnopharmacol. 1984 Dec; 12(3): 305-29.

Folk medicine in Tonga. A study of the use of herbal medicines for obstetric and gynaecological conditions and disorders.

Singh YN, Ikahihifo T, Panuve M, Slatter C.

We report on a study of the role of traditional medicinal practices in two communities in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, with particular emphasis on obstetric and gynaecological complaints of women and the traditional practitioners consulted by them. Data on the nature and frequency of obstetric and gynaecological complaints, patterns of consultations and preferences for the type of practitioner, Western or traditional, were collected from housewives. The nature, range and extent of expertise possessed by traditional practitioners were also assessed. The results indicate that reliance on traditional medicine is rapidly declining in favour of Western medicine. This seems to be due to urbanisation, increased acceptance of Western values and a lack of availability of traditional practitioners in sufficient numbers. However, self-administration of herbal remedies was still common, especially in rural areas, and might even be on the increase. The practitioners treated a variety of obstetric and gynaecological complaints using 60 plant species which were collected and identified.

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