Throughout years, I was taught to believe that the best medicine is not a pill, but a folk
medicine. The most common folk medicine in my culture was plantain. This herb meant to help
in a variety of sicknesses. For instance, when I got food poison followed by high fever,
vomiting, and diarrhea, my mother prepared a tincture based on plantain, vinegar and salt. I had
to drink 15 drops of this mixture every hour and after 5 hours the reaction of poisoning in the
stomach terminated. At the same time my mother also put the fresh leafs of plantain on my
abdomen to relieve my pain. In addition, plantain was also believed to treat other diseases such
as burns, hemorrhages , dysentery and bronchial asthma. For example, when my cousin had
symptoms of bronchial asthma, she was given a mixture based on granule of plantain. She had to
drink it 5 times a day to stop her symptoms. After repeating procedures for 3 months, her
symptoms stopped and she fully recovered.
I think the root of the belief that plantain treats many diseases is cultural. My mother
learned about plantain from her parents , relatives and friends and thus passed her knowledge to
me. Even though fresh plantain was available only in a summer, many people in Russia collected
plantain and dried it for the use during the winter. Now that we live in USA we are able to buy
the granules of plantain in stores and continue to use plantain when needed.
I believe that experience in the folk medicine taught me about another way of
treating a sickness. I also think that besides my culture, there are also other cultures who believe
in folk medicine. Thus, when working in a health care field it will help me to understand better
why some patients refuse particular medicine and incline toward another medicine.