Africa is an entire continent with many different tribes, religions and norms. African culture and its traditional medicine have a long oral tradition. In this it differs significantly from cultures such as India and China, which can all look back on a long written tradition.
Medicines from Africa are therefore not valued enough, I think. Since we have no written sources, we can e.g. no longer judge whether a plant originally comes from India or Africa. We will definitely give preference to the written source. That is why this course also takes into account plants that do not have their historical roots in Africa, but are common there.
There are no generally binding standards in African folk medicine. Each tribe has its own tradition, so naturopathy is elusive and can easily be misused.
There are three aspects to be observed:
Many remedies are being researched today to use them effectively for the benefit of patients. African remedies are placed in the context of proven medical concepts.
As an example, I take one of the most famous medicinal plants in the world that has helped millions of people and is distributed worldwide: Artemisia annua.
It has an antiviral and antibacterial effect and stimulates the immune system.
Conventional medicine is the medicine of the university. When my husband and I studied in the university in Heidelberg, we were friends with a pharmacy student named Hans Martin Hirt. He did not get married, but dedicated his entire life to scientific research into African and tropical medicinal plants.
He wrote his doctorate on Artemisia annua. In it, he used the technical devices available to him at the university to examine the plant for its ingredients and medicinal properties. He found that the most important part of Artemisia annua is a herbal ingredient called Artemisin, which is used for malaria.
He developed a hybrid plant breeding, in which this active ingredient occurs in a higher concentration than in the natural plant.
Dr. Hirt had no business interests, but built a non-profit international organization called Anamed. It organizes weekly seminars for naturopathy in the tropics.
The seminar participants learn
So they can help themselves and their families and build their own livelihood by selling the medicine. Anamed itself takes over part of the sales to Europe. We also did such a seminar in Itigi / Tanzania and it was good and helpful.
You can read all about this medicinal plant and its effects on the homepage of Anamed www.anamed.org or look under Anamed in facebook. It is much better there than I can tell here.
Artemisia annua is an ancient medicinal plant of TCM and had been used against malaria 2000 years ago. This medicine has a different theory than conventional medicine.
The Basics: Living life
Let us imagine that we have a beautiful flower in our hands. Now we gradually separate each part of the flower, break it down into its individual parts and look at each one individually. Then we know a lot about the ingredients of the flower, but we have a problem: we can no longer assemble it and bring it to life.
Living life is based on a force that holds all the individual parts together - life force. The Traditional Chinese Medicine calls it Qi, for the Christians of the ancient church it is the power of the Holy Spirit - the power of Christ himself.
Living life is a force that holds all parts of a flower together in a living unity and at the same time can create new life again. All individual parts belong together and only make sense in their unity.
An old TCM prescription for malaria received the Nobel Prize in Medicine: Take a bunch of Artemisia Annua, soak it in 0.4l of water, wring the herb out to get the juice, and swallow it whole.
The juice tastes bitter, similar to myrrh, neem and aloe. They are all related to the blood and heart. We cleanse our hands externally with soap from all pathogens, our internal organs with these bitter remedies.
The liver is the detoxifying organ of our blood and it is strengthened by Artemisia annua. Since the malaria pathogens are lodged in the liver, Artemisia helps our body to overcome the disease.
That's how I learned it from Hildegard von Bingen, who lived in Germany in the 12th century and still knew a lot about TCM.
On this page, the African remedies are to be placed in the context of Christian monastic medicine. In many states, medical care is primarily in the hands of the church. Many residents are too poor to take conventional medical help or expensive treatment. The German Benedictine monastery woman and doctor Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179) met with great interest. Monastery medicine is comparatively cheap, almost a poor - people - medicine. It is an old Christian homeopathy in the context of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
Bishop Lupa from Central Tanzania: My grandfather was a traditional healer, my father a rainmaker. I myself am a first-generation Christian and reject pagan customs and incantations. I have often seen that they lead to new dependencies and not to health. But I know that my grandfather helped a lot of people with his medicine. And we see that many ordinary people die today because conventional medicine is too expensive for them and not adapted to their situation. In addition, it is a second class medicine compared to western conditions. Monastery medicine is familiar to us as Christians and not a foreign doctrine.
Find your identity!
One of the oldest written sources on African traditional medicine can be found in the New Testament of the Bible in the adoration of the wise men from the "Orient" (Mt 2). According to Christian belief, these three scholars are able to recognize God's actions in nature. But the powerful of their time exploit their knowledge for their purposes and do not shy away from murder.
Her gifts of gold, frankincense, myrrh form the basis of monastery medicine. Frankincense and myrrh are still a traditional part of Christian services around the world.
They come from Africa!