Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nature's Gift of Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is the art and science of using herbs for promoting health and preventing and treating illness and has been Africa’s primary form of medicine since the beginning of time.


[ Nyanga South African Herbalists ]



The herbal medicine field and practitioners are found throughout the world, from New Orleans, to Oregon, to Florida and Mississippi, across the ocean to Great Britain to India and China. Modern day practicing of herbal medicine is not unique to Africa, the world recognizes the gift of healing nature provides.
Nyanga South African Herbalist treating a young woman for ear pain.
Nyanga South African Herbalist
treating a young woman for ear pain. 

South African herbal medicine practitioners are called Nyanga. They seek the nature of the illness and its cure by meditating or going into a trance in order to get advice from a God or spirit. Nyanga's are not witchdoctors however the general population unofficially uses the term interchangeably, the official term is traditional healer used by governments and organizations.

The Traditional Healers Organization (THO) organizes, trains and certifies traditional health practitioners. Each society has different kinds of traditional healers. Traditional healing is linked to wider belief systems and remains integral to the lives of most Africans.

South African Nyanga is not a witchdoctor
South African Nyanga is not a witch doctor
Nyanga is a traditional herbalist using ancestors or amadlozi as a medium of prayer to God. Nyanga’s seek the nature of the illness and its cure by meditating or going into a trance in order to get advice from a God or spirit.

Nyanga African traditional herbalist and the THO work continue throughout Africa encouraged by the belief that they are contributing to the advancement of herbalism in Africa and the world. What is an herb? Medicinally, an herb is any plant part or plant used for its therapeutic value in contrast to modern day pharmaceuticals, which only about 12 percent of drugs are developed from plants.


Nyanga South African Herbalists
South African herbal medicine practitioners are called Nyanga. 
Nyanga’s seek the nature of the illness and its cure by meditating or going into a trance in order to get advice from a God or spirit. Some traditional healers use good magic as a cure because they believe that illnesses including psychological issues have supernatural origins. Some African peoples have an understanding of health as well-being and the harmony existing between individuals, communities and the universe. 

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