Traditional african medicines myths methods and it Essay

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Traditional african medicines myths methods and its place in modern society





Traditional African Medicines :
Methods, Myths, and its Place in Modern Society




















Jeffrey Ewusi
Race, Class, and Ethics in Psychology
Prof. Potts
Februaury 23, 2002







Traditional African medicines, and the spiritual healers that administer these medicines
are an important part of African society. For many centuries and even millenniums these
healers with there spiritual and naturalistic remedies have been responsible for taking
care of the African world as we know it. Traditional African medicines have been a
greater help to all of society and modern science, but still lie at the root of much
controversy over its ability to be a valid healing tool. Some doctorís and scientist
believe that a possible placebo effect may be the root of what makes these remedies and
rituals work; but there is also evidence that suggest that many of the ingredients found
in our medicines today are also found in the natural animal and plant products used by the
healers. In fact many pharmaceutical companies have recently been looking at the content
of these natural substances in hope of finding chemical compounds that can help modern
science in producing modern medicines to cure disease. Despite modern day societies use of
the healers remedies in modern medicine, there still seems to be some confusion as to who
the healer really is and what their motives are. Many people using naÔve thought process
perceive the healer as one practicing witchcraft. This may be due to the disbelief that
natural substances are capable of healing, or the belief that ritualistic and
spiritualistic ceremonies and practices stem from evil or voodoo. Despite all of this
opposition and change into a more scientific world, the healer remains as one of the most
sought after people in the African world, and even in large African cities were western
health care services are available, traditional healer compete for business in the world
of health care.

The profession of being a traditional healer in Africa is one that is and has been usually
passed down from family generation to family generation. Becoming a traditional healer
requires an intense amount of SBA, an ancient Kemetic word meaning teaching, learning,
wisdom, and study, or overall deep thought(1). In fact, the process of learning to become
a healer consist of a very high level of learning; it is necessary that every healer be
taught properly, in order for him or her to be able to share his knowledge properly with
the forthcoming generation. For the aspiring healer, one must first become a good learner
and listener before one can become a good teacher; the two concepts of teaching and
learning are intertwined, one hand washes the other. Once this level of SBA is reached as
a healer, the whole world is seen in a different light so says Asa G. Hilliard. III.
Sounds are heard that no one can hear, visions that no one else can see are seen by the
healer.

After his training the healer walks through the same world every person walks through.
But he sees signs others just donít see. He hears sounds others donít hear. The same tree
that just stands there dumbly to everyone, to the healer its leaves have something to
say. The healer learns the meaning of the riverís sound, of the sounds of the forest
animals. And when he needs the curing spirit from a plant , if his eyes are well prepared
, he may see from a great distance some small sign of a leaf that is ready to be taken(2).

This distinction between the healer and the common man puts the healer in a position of
power and respect in most African communities. Achieving this elevated level of perception
and awareness is due to the process of years and years of mental focus, good teaching, and
spirituality. Studies on spiritual healers have found the group to be very heterogeneous,
not having much in common relating to their religion, sex, or level of education.
According to Msiu and Chhabra there are four main types of traditional healers(3). There
is the herbalist, who treats his patients purely by using herbal medicine, minerals, and
Continues for 5 more pages >>




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