Although she is now over 80 years old and her eyesight is gradually weakening, Emirati Ruwiya bint Al Alili still practises traditional medicine, including curing infertile women.
The veiled woman from Ajman says she had cured many women suffering from infertility and other diseases and that this has made her famous throughout the UAE, other Gulf Arab states and as far as Iran.
Female patients are still knocking at her doors and despite her old age and feeling of weakness, she still receives them.
Ruwiya, with 36 grandchildren and 61 great grandchildren, has been practising herb-based traditional medicine for nearly half a century. Her mother Mariam bint Saeed was a well-known traditional doctor and midwife in Ajman, using herbs, massaging and cauterization on her patients.
While Ruwiya boasts about her achievements, she acknowledges that modern medicine is indispensable on the grounds she had earned her medical reputation “in an age when there was no real medical care.”
On her first breakthrough in the treatment of women’s infertility, she says: “An Emirati woman came to me long ago and said she had been married for 11 years but did not get pregnant... I treated her with massaging and herbs… She returned after a while and told me she was pregnant… After that incident, I became widely known in the UAE, the Gulf and Iran.”
Her latest patient was an Arab women who had been married for 17 years. “I massaged her lower abdomen for a few days, using olive oil… I also used some herbs… two months ago, her husband knocked at my door at midnight to tell me his wife has just delivered at Latifa Hospital in Dubai.”
Ruwiya, quoted by the Arabic language daily Emarat Alyoum, said she had also treated tonsillitis, fever, stomach pain and other cases.
Defending traditional medicine, Ruwiya said it is based on experience and knowledge rather than chance and coincidence. She said she does not use or prescribe any medicine before she identifies the symptoms.
“Although I no longer see properly now and suffer from health problems, I still receive patients, mainly infertile women, who flock to my house from the UAE and other countries… I just can’t turn them back."