What is Traditional or Indigenous African Healing?
To truly appreciate the African healing modality, it is important to grasp the essence of traditional and indigenous communities. Much like Native Americans in North America, the terms indigenous and traditional in Meritah (Africa) encompass groups sharing similar circumstances to indigenous populations worldwide.
In the last decade, an international movement has made the term “indigenous people” popular. There is no global consensus on a single universal definition of indigenous. But these are some defining characteristics:
- Direct Descent: They trace their lineage back to the original inhabitants of a land prior to the arrival of colonists and settlers.
- Cultural Preservation: They maintain the distinct cultures, knowledge systems, language, spirituality, and traditions of their ancient ancestors.
- Institutional Development: They establish their own official institutions.
- Marginalization: They face marginalization by dominant local governments and societies with their cultures often threatened by colonization.
- Advocacy and Reclamation: They often advocate for recognition from the dominant government and strive to reclaim or retain ownership of their ancestral lands, necessary for their survival.
Traditional African people
“Traditional” is a popular word from colonial languages that many groups can identify with. This is a term that also refers to indigenous African people. Traditional in and of itself connotes traditions. Traditions are knowledge and customs continuously passed from one generation to the next. In Africa, bloodlines (indigenous African tribes) inherit the responsibility of preserving culture and traditions. They have been preserving culture for over 120,000 years. So, here we often refer to these peoples collectively as both “traditional Africans” and “indigenous Africans”.
Traditional African Healing
Traditional African healing has one goal, simple and transparent - to preserve life.
The whole human being is viewed as more complex than just a physical body. The body is considered a physical manifestation (materialization) of energies. Whatever those energies project, the body follows.
Priority is given to preserving life, not simply killing illness. Sickness is remedied while keeping organs and the whole system of the body intact. In this way, traditional indigenous healing is considered a holistic approach.
A significant segment of African traditional healing utilizes potent herbal concoctions made from one or more herbs. An herbal remedy targets not only the physical body but also the essence and energies of a person. The network of Ankhkasta farmers and healers work together to conveniently provide 100% natural, homegrown, time-tested herbs produced into teas, capsules, tinctures, incense, salves, and soaps.
Within Africa, traditional African healers play an integral role in healthcare. Many populations rely upon them. They have undergone apprenticeships within traditional institutions and have been recognized by indigenous societies as competent individuals who can provide services to remedy illnesses. Additionally, it is not uncommon for healers to double as trained priests as well. Such was the case with Ankhkasta's founder Neb Naba Lamoussa Morodenibig.
Neb Naba Lamoussa Morodenibig was born into the Dogon tribe. The Dogon are a large community consisting of various small groups with specific qualities. Historically these groups were comprised of priests, farmers, healers, etc. who, notably, originate from the upper echelon of the Pharaonic society. They were in charge of preserving traditional African culture. It was within the Dogon institutions that Neb Naba was initiated and apprenticed. He ascended to the level of Dogon High Priest and Master Healer.
Today, Ankhkasta has two senior healers. Both are direct disciples of founder Neb Naba. Naba Iritah Shenmirah is the son of the organization’s founder. Like his father, he comes from the Dogon bloodline (tribe). Nehez Meniooh has also apprenticed with Neb Naba and other elder healers. These two senior healers each give in-person consultations within their communities and during their travels.
Our health coaches train with and support these healers on an ongoing basis and give online consultations. These senior healers and health coaches either live on the African continent or visit it periodically. They are united in the field of traditional healing. It is a system that genuinely acknowledges the human being and promotes the preservation of life. We share in our founder's mission: to advocate for indigenous African communities and to bring traditional African and Dogon knowledge to communities in the West.
Surviving Exploitation from Western Medicine
Naba Lamousa Morodenibig offered insight into the hurdles historically faced by traditional healers. He explained how the modern medical system began exploiting the traditional healing system:
“It takes time, history, empirical observation, to find out what type of plants will heal which illness, so with the modern medical system it really doesn't stand on anything. It's something that came about within the past four hundred years compared to traditional healing which has been around for the past 120 thousand years. And so the matter can [be summarized as] the modern medical system basically just takes an old face and puts a new face on it. A new face on something that is old.”
Naba Lamoussa Morodenibig
With the development of modern medicine, the West began to present itself as the exclusive authority on health. Science defines a human being as a primate that can walk, talk, and has a brain. Based on this limited definition of a human, western medicine only aims to kill illness on the physical level. The invention of the microscope and scientists' ability to see germs under the microscope really advanced this agenda. This is not a holistic approach.
Although called primitive by western science, products used by indigenous healers eventually began to attract western medical students to the African continent. These researchers went to see what types of plants indigenous healers were using. They documented, sampled, and or cataloged these plants. Then they went back to research labs to find the plant’s chemical composition and isolate the active ingredient/s.
From there, they would copy (chemically synthesize the active ingredient/s) of the original product in order to patent it. However, generally, there are ever-so-slight imbalances in the chemical compositions of the “new” medicines. The result is usually chemicals or pharmaceutical drugs that cause a whopping set of illnesses (side effects) and for many, those effects can and have been fatal. It looks like the person died of their initial sickness when they really died from the illness created by the synthesized medicine. The world recently witnessed this tragedy with the disastrous effects of major pharmaceutical corporations’ coronavirus vaccinations.
At the same time, indigenous African healers face the predicament of not being licensed to use their original remedies. This is due to a number of reasons, including refusal to surrender their product information to science for analysis and clinical trials. Due to historical exploitation, indigenous African healers continue to work on principle to protect and preserve their indigenous healing systems. This also explains why there is a sparse amount of information publicly available on these herbs in the “developed world”.
Today, while western medicine dominates the world, epidemics are ravaging communities across the globe. Unfortunately, many colonized people worldwide still live their lives ignorant and suspicious of remedies based in traditional healing.
And yet, you at home, on your computer landed here. Maybe you’ve been in a trance at the screen, searching and searching. You know you want a product for your health that's nontoxic and effective. You compare one company’s brand after another. You want to get down to the nitty-gritty details and information. Just keep in mind there are no synthetic ingredients added to authentic, traditional, African herbal remedies. Ankhkasta offers a great selection of pure, raw, and powerful herbs native to the African continent. Our team is ready to help you discover nature’s remedies that have preserved healthy lives for thousands of years.