Jan 12, 2018

Struna or the disease of the gizzard

 In the southeastern Europe, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a recognizable cult of healing exists for ages, this cult is the basis of what we today call folk medicine. Namely, humans of this region used things that surround him and through empirical experiences they developed ways to keep their health, not drawing a distinct line between medicine and magic. Actually, it never existed since anything that could help, whether only psychologically, was welcome. Direct influence of religion brought continuous influence of folk medicine to the masses, where with minimal modifications old magical formulas were transformed in socially acceptable forms and in such a manner they survived till today.

An ironic fact is that despite the advancement of technology and medicine people turn to “primitive” forms of healing, partially due to more expensive treatments, but more likely because there is no soul in modern medicine. Human beings cannot function without a spiritual component and intimacy with nature which is deeply intertwined in his entire existence. Actually, the more destruction we impose on nature, the more of an impulse to return to nature do we create in us.

Folk healers

Traditional medicine rests on the belief that individuals which practice it, folk doctors, often possess certain supernatural capabilities or that their knowledge was inherited from predecessors – a person which was initiated into the secrets of healing by a mystic ritual.

Among people there are stories of people which became shamans overnight, usually through an intervention of a higher force in their dream. During that event the sleeper received telepathically the gift of knowledge which mustn’t be misused. According to stravarka Ćanka from Velika Kladuša one night an unknown man and woman came into her room, clad in all white, they awoke her by pulling her toe. During that unusual encounter she received the gift of healing which she utilized until her death.

There is a belief among the folk that the gift of healing can be inherited but the only one qualified to inherit it is the mizinac i.e. the youngest child.

Knowledge that stravarke, želudarice and herbalists possess is based on empirical experience and represents a mixture of herbalist and homeopathic knowledge loaded with magical and religious meaning. It is deeply tied to the cultural basis of the area in which it originated.

Though there is no precisely formulated rule the general opinion is that folk doctors achieve the best results after his fortieth year, which obviously alludes to god’s messenger Muhammad S.A.V.S. which started receiving religious proclamation during those years of his life.