The African Medicine Man

Authored by: Maurice M. Iwu

Handbook of African Medicinal Plants

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466571976
eBook ISBN: 9781466571983
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b16292-6

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Abstract

The traditional medical practitioner occupies a unique role in African societies. He or she is not only a doctor but also a visionary, a seer, and often a priest. One can acquire the specialized skills of a healer by three methods: first, by training and a long period of apprenticeship; second, by divine selection and in answer to a call by a powerful spirit to be his chief priest or messenger; and third, as a family inheritance. In any case, the magical powers are acquired through ritual offerings and living in a prescribed manner, but the knowledge of efficacious herbs comes mainly from training and sometimes from revelation in dreams and trances.

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