Traditional African Medicine

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“Over the years the people of Africa have used traditional medicine and traditional knowledge for their survival.” (Tsiko 2006) Traditional African medicine is a holistic discipline involving extensive use of indigenous herbalism combined with aspects of African spirituality. (Helwig 2005) Traditional African medicine has been practiced for centuries. This ancient system of healing continues to thrive in Africa, despite numerous attempts at government inferences, and practitioners can be found I many other parts of the world. (Helwig 2005) The origins of the traditional African medicine can be traced all the way back to the seventeenth century. (Kale 1995) Traditional African medicine is a holistic system with herbs and spiritual elements at its center. Traditional African medicine practitioners are healers who believe that their methods can cure many conditions including cancer, AIDS, mental problems, infertility, some sexually transmitted diseases, wounds and burns as well as many other ailments and conditions. (Helwig 2005) The primary healers in traditional African medicine are what are called diviners, midwives, and herbalist. (Helwig 2005) Diviners focus on the root causes of sickness and many feel that ancestral spirits and like play a role.(Helwig 2005) Midwives use herbs and other local plants to assist with pregnancy and childbirth.(Helwig 2005) Herbalists are completely ingrained in the African medicine tradition and herb markets and herb trading is common in every city and town and community. (Helwig 2005)

Traditional African medicine is based on accumulated experience of ancient Africans. (Okpako) Traditional African medicine’s mode of transmission is spread by word-of-mouth and has hindered emergency of a generally accepted theory and hence of the systematic development of traditional African medicine as a self-regulating profession.(Okapako)

Traditional African medicine has three distinct attributes. First there is a belief in the...
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