Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Herbs and Witch Doctors

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Herbal history shows evidence that medicine men, also know as witch doctors were responsible for health of their tribes. They gathered herbs and even went about performing minor surgical treatment to patients. their job was to provide medical advice and give treatments that was tied up with supernatural elements. They used charms, spells to ward off evil spirits.

The most well-known medicine men and witch doctors are from the American Native Indian societies, mainly because of the American film industry and westerns, therefore research would have been made for this. Medicine men perform ceremonies over the patient with family and friends in attendance. Herbal and other components that are called magic formulas are used along with prayers and a constant rhythm through drumming.

There was an overriding belief that these medicine men were able to contact the gods and with the aid of herbs and supernatural powers the patient would be cured, effectively ridding them of the evil spirits. They had an escape clause though. It the ceremony didn't work it was explained that the evil powers were too strong. A medicine man would have great respect, just like doctor of today in the community. However medicine men would not have had any formal training in medicine and procedures that were learnt were passed down by word of mouth.

Although many herbs would have been used and many would have worked in their own circles, the procedures were more of a psychological practice. We used many of these herbs in the same way today with our scientific knowledge base behind it and leave the psychology to the psychologists. The science has taken away the respect for the medicine men many years ago. The pillar of their society and glamour of their practices has faded, but they have left a legacy of herbal practices that do go on.
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