The practice of frigg: sociocultural changes affect traditional treatments in southern Morocco

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 13:45
, Irene - University of Reading
, Gary J. - Global Diversity Foundation
, Rajindra K. - University of Kent
, Ahmed - Université Cadi Ayyad
, Julie A. - University of Reading

Traditional medicine practices are embedded in dynamic sociocultural systems, and are therefore context dependent. In Morocco, especially in rural areas such as the High Atlas Mountains, specialist healers called ferraggat are a key health resource to treat infants for ailments believed to be caused by supernatural forces: taqait, taumist and iqdi present symptoms similar to those of ear infections, tonsillitis and gastroenteritis. Their treatment, known as frigg, involves ritual and the use of medicinal plants. Our research shows that the emphasis on using plants may be a recent phenomenon in the practice of frigg. In the past, coloured wool and blood were used, but these have been substituted as local religious values aligned with orthodox Islam and the State organized biomedical system has come to dominate healthcare options. We illustrate a change in the objects of cultural meaning as a strategy to adapt to new sociocultural realities.