Sep 28, 2012

Bosnian Folk Medicine

Just few decades ago, every settlement in Bosnia, no matter how big it was, had its traditional healers, herbalists, stravari, faladžija, Nowadays, situation is completely different and traditional occupations and crafts are condemned for disappearance. Disinterest of newer generations to preserve cultural heritage is not a problem only in Bosnia but in the rest of Eastern Europe.

1. Klinčići (hidrokela): a sickness that is present in newborns aged up to one year. It is manifested through a swollen scrotum which causes crying, nervousness and lack of sleep. The old Bosniak women regularly control their grandchildren's scrotum out of fear from them having klinčić. They are looking for water inside of them, if they are swollen or if they have changed their colour. This is done for the simple reason that the klinčić wouldn't evolve into a kila (hernia).

Derviš Husagić

Klinčić can be cured in several ways. The most famous way of treatment is for the child to be brought to a folk doctor which possesses the gift of healing which he received from Allah. That gift can only be bestowed upon those children whose father dies before they are born. In Bosnia it is believed that they possess the gift of healing.
The treatment method is very simple; the sick child is laid down on the floor, his legs are raised so that his scrotum is free. The folk doctor makes a circle three times around the scrotum with his heel, clockwise, and the he lightly touches the scrotum with his heel. The therapeutic process is repeated three times. Then the doctor exits the room leaving the parents to dress their child. There is a rule for him that he mustn't turn backwards and that he must say "Alahimanet!" when the parents leave with their child. The most successful doctor in curing Klinčić is Derviš Husagić from Kakanj.

2. Strunjen želudac (Gastritis) If a person feels pain in his stomach right after eating then it is believed in Bosnia that his/her stomach has been moved out of its natural position, to the right or left side of the stomach. One determinant that the stomach has been moved is the pain under the ribs. The Bosniak women that treat such problems are called Želudarice. Before treating the ill they touch their right hand, the part between the index finger and the thumb, and if they feel a knot in form of a small pellet, then they are certain that there are problems with the stomach. That uncomfortable and painful experience can be caused by various factors but the most common are; if a hungry person lifts heavy weight, bad diet, stress, emotional problems, falling and hitting oneself, strong coughs, etc.
Stomach problems can be treated with massages, vacuum or magic. All three methods warrant success.

3. Namještanje pršljena: A large number of people have the "atlas" moved (their first vertebra) which can cause various psychophysical problems. This problem is often first encountered in childhood, caused by falling or sudden head movements. The movement of atlas is noticeable by a barely visible blue line across the nose, it looks like the capillaries burst. A few days after the injury, the child loses appetite and has problems swallowing food. As soon as that happens, the neck should be returned in its natural position so that the vertebra can straighten, because if they stay in that unnatural position, they will cause many problems in the man's life.
If a child falls down suddenly, there is a practice that his mother or some other person, takes his head with both hands near the ears and lifts it off the ground, in such a way the vertebra will be returned to its place.

Podizanje tjemena (angina tonsillaris): when a small child falls off the bed or from somewhere else, he can usually "padne tjeme", it is sometimes called the "third tonsil", this causes a lot of vomiting and loss of weight. The woman that deals with such problems, dips her middle finger in oil, places it into the child's mouth and pushes it upward towards the roof of the mouth. When she completes this process she then massages the child behind the ears, then takes it by the legs and turns it upside down and shake's it a little. This completes the healing process.

4. Vađenje truna: Hava Čebić from Banovići is one of the last practitioners of this ancient method of curing the inflammation of the eye epithelia. When a small piece of wood, stone, metal dust, hay or something else falls into a person's eye then epithelia gets irritated, the eye reddens and hurts. Before the treatment, which lasts less than half a minute, Hava rinses her mouth with alcohol and then holding the eye lids of the patient she searches for the foreign object in the eye with her tongue, as soon as she finds it she removes it with her tongue.

Hava Čebić

5. Warts are treated among the Bosniak people in various ways and the most common one is to rub the warts each morning with one's own saliva. If one persists in such a treatment he warts will soon disappear.