Gov. Ralph DLG Torres recognized the benefits of natural and native medicines when he signed a proclamation yesterday declaring Native Medicine Week from Sept. 16 to Sept. 22, 2018, in line with the celebration of Cultural Heritage Month.
Torres noted that both the Chamorro and Carolinian cultures have native medicines in common. He said the proclamation signing acknowledges that local herbs and local healers should be protected and preserved.
“We are trying to designate a land for them to plant the [herbs] that they need,” Torres told Saipan Tribune.
Torres was also asked by members of the Amot Natibu, a group advocating for traditional healing through herbs and plants, to push for the inclusion of natural healers in insurance coverage.
“I do not know the extent of actually approving that request,” said Torres, adding that he directed Department of Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman, who also chairs the insurance committee, to look into the proposal.
“At any rate, I believe it is more important for us to designate some land to protect these plants,” he said.
Amot Natibu president Isidoro Cabrera encouraged the public to “continue practicing traditional medicine.”
“There are over a hundred…plants used to mix medicines for treating illness. We have been practicing this for thousands of years, and I would like our association to continue promoting this and teach our younger generation,” Cabrera said. “[Other islands] also practice this.”