TRADITIONAL MEDICINES

Traditional medicine is a subject that touches everyone, since we are all interested in our own health. All of us are likely to have experienced some kind of traditional medicine from childhood onwards. Herbal remedies form part of our cultures, but such knowledge is often rapidly being lost. Modern medicine has most of the answers to health problems, but is not always available or affordable. In addition, many countries experience considerable difficulties in obtaining medical supplies.

In the Bible in Revelation 22:1-2, we read that God has provided the leaves of the tree of life for the healing of the nations. So far only 1% of the world’s forest plant species have been screened for their chemicals. Many more are likely to have healing properties.

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 48 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 48 click here (778K).


  • Anamed ‘Natural medicine’

    by Dr Hans-Martin Hirt and Dr Keith Lindsey. When Europeans first arrived in Africa, Asia and the Americas and witnessed practices such as ritual sacrifice and ancestor worship, they quickly labelled these as primitive. Instead, they introduced the people to European customs, culture and religion. However, we now recognise that there is much to learn from these traditional cultures. In rejecting some dangerous practices, many other beneficial practices were ignored.

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  • Bible study: Traditional medicines

    Traditional medicines - a gift from God.   From the very beginning, we read in Genesis 1:29 how God placed plants in our lives. He gave us seed-bearing plants and trees that bear fruit for our use as food. And so in every place; wet or dry, land or sea, appropriate plants grow (Isaiah 41:19).

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  • Editorial

    Traditional medicine is a subject that touches everyone, since we are all interested in our own health. All of us are likely to have experienced some kind of traditional medicine from childhood onwards. Herbal remedies form part of our cultures, but such knowledge is often rapidly being lost. Modern medicine has most of the answers to health problems, but is not always available or affordable. In addition, many countries experience considerable difficulties in obtaining medical supplies.

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  • Finding the real community leaders

    by Robert Linthicum. To encourage change effectively within a community, you need to learn from the community about their situation. You also need to learn who the real leaders are. Often the elected leaders are not the people who make things happen in a community.

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  • Letters

    Nutritional biscuits. I am a nurse and also run a group for small children. We teach them how to work and about the word of God. To gain their trust, at the end of the meeting we give them sweets that we make ourselves, or biscuits that we buy. These biscuits are expensive. We already have some ingredients like soya, flour, sugar. Do readers have recipes for making biscuits so that we can reduce our expenses?

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  • Malaria: a new solution

    Malaria is a serious and growing problem world-wide, with about 2.5 million people dying as a result of malaria each year. The malaria parasites increasingly develop resistance to the well-known malaria drugs. New drugs are being developed, but these are often extremely expensive and not easily obtained. However, traditional medicine seems to be providing new hope.

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  • Medicinal gardens

    Cultivating medicinal plants ensures that they are preserved for your own use and for future generations. Many fruits provide medicine as well as food. These include banana, pineapple, mulberry, passion fruit and pawpaw (papaya). Food plants that also provide medicine include onion, garlic, groundnut, cabbage, chilli, coffee, pumpkin, sunflower, sweet potato, rice, maize, ginger, black pepper and sesame (Sesamum indicum).

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  • Natural remedies

    Here are just a few examples of the detailed recipes available in Anamed’s book Natural Medicine in the Tropics (see page 14).

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  • Production of medicines

    The preparation of a medicine from a plant that contains a beneficial chemical varies according to the chemical and the plant. Sometimes the chemical is extracted from the leaves by the use of boiling water. Sometimes the roots are dug up and ground. The most basic and common process for producing medicines is to use liquid and heat.

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  • Rain harvesters

    Information in Footsteps has helped people build ferro-cement tanks for rainwater. However, many people need to know how they can avoid mosquitoes breeding in these tanks. Here are some practical steps I have developed to make a dome shaped cover…

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  • Resources

    Anamed publications Natural Medicine in the Tropics by Hirt and M’Pia (Second edition)This is an excellent introduction and guide to the production and use of traditional medicines. It gives full and detailed instructions on how to use 65 medicinal plants to treat a wide variety of health concerns. The information on pages 7–9 was adapted from this book. Highly recommended. It is available in English, German, French, Ukrainian and Spanish.

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  • Traditional and modern medicine: the need for co-operation

    by Markus Müller and Innocent Balagizi. We opened a seminar about traditional medicine in Asmara, Eritrea with the question, ‘Do any of you have some experience with traditional medicine?’ There was a complete, even hostile, silence in the room. Finally some participants said, ‘We are Christians. We have nothing to do with it.’

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  • Traditional medicine - discussion questions

    Traditional medicine is a term that does not just simply refer to herbal cures for illnesses. It also touches on all kinds of healing approaches. In this issue we have focused on the enormous benefits available in using tried and tested herbal remedies. However, the boundary between herbal cures and more spiritual influences is not clear. Christians have often avoided all aspects of traditional medicine for fear of negative spiritual influences.

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  • Traditional practices in childbirth

    by Barbara Soung and Hang Sorya. Traditional healers are known as Khru Khmer in Cambodia. They learn their skills from old monks or older male relatives. They are nearly always male, though occasionally there are female Khru Khmer. Their female equivalents are the traditional midwives, who often learn some of their skills by watching the Khru Khmer at work.

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  • Working with traditional Medicines

    by René Gayana Simbard. The Pan-African Institute of Community Health (IPASC) in DR Congo has several departments including training, research, healthcare, mother and childcare and consultation.

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