traditional medicine image

Celebrating African Traditional Medicine Week 26 – 31st August

The celebration of African Traditional Medicine Week 26th – 31st August recognizes the work done by traditional healers for centuries. This holistic medicinal practice incorporates natural herbs, ingredients and African spirituality to bring physical, mental and spiritual healing to individuals.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) offers the following description –

“Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge & beliefs incorporating plant, animal & mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques & exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illness or maintain well-being.”

About 80% of Africa’s population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs. In some cases, traditional medicine is the only healthcare service available, accessible and affordable to many people on the continent. In this case, the significant contribution of traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare services in Africa cannot be underestimated.

The tradition of a treating the person as a “whole entity” – body mind & spirit has far reaching effect as the cause of physical ailments stem from a spiritual or emotional malady – manifesting physically as an ailment. Too often in medicine today we seek advice for a symptom and seldom do the medical fraternity seek the root cause… The Traditional healers approach the “patient” as a whole and not just as a disease or ailment.

Traditional Medicine, as seen in the 21st century, has made immense advances in human well-being, coexisting with extreme deprivation in many parts of the world, where the natural route handed down through the ages prevails. The folk medicine which has mainly been transmitted through word of mouth, ritual & ethnic cultures, are more diverse and encompass various modalities of the healthcare system.

Let’s take a look at some of the SOUTH AFRICAN traditional indigenous plants and their incredible medicinal properties:

aloe plant image

Externally: Heals wounds, burns, sunburn, scrapes, and ulcers; Treats eczema and fungal infections like ringworm and thrush. Internally: Used for gastric ulcers & Irritable bowel syndrome


+Enemas, poultices, vapor, infusions, body washes, lotions, smoked, snuffed or drunk as a tea. Blood purifier for treating acne and boils.
+Colds, headaches, coughs, fever, earache, malaria, diabetes meilitus, intestinal parasites, stomach disorders, loss of appetite, colic.
+Anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, pain-relieving – wormwood dressing of hot leaves bound over sprains, arthritic and rheumatic swellings.
+Tea – disinfect cuts and grazes.

African potato

+Immune Stimulant; Helps with Diabetes; Prostate problems.
+Anti-cancer properties (like prostate cancer); Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH); Urinary tract disorders including bladder infections; TB & Arthritis.

Buchu Plant image

Used for treatment of bladder infections, inflammation & gout. It also has a diuretic effect.


An adaptogenic providing Immune System support against chronic diseases or immune deficiency diseases; aids in reducing wasting due to illnesses such as cancer, TB and Aids; regulates and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
ALSO viral hepatitis; bronchitis; flu; asthma; rheumatoid arthritis; peptic ulcers; liver conditions; urinary tract infections – Topically to treat burns, wounds and inflammatory skin conditions.

wild ginger image

A variety of medicinal and traditional uses to the native South African people. Rhizomes and roots are chewed fresh to treat asthma, hysteria, colds, coughs and flu.It is used to treat malaria and is chewed by women during painful menstruation.

penny wort plant image

The leaves are used to treats wounds and fevers; also used to treat acne and allergies.

Hoodia Plant image

The stems are dried and used to suppress appetite; also used for indigestion and stomach ache.

Madagascar periwinkle plant image

The roots are used to treat diabetes and rheumatism. Liquid from the leaf is used in chemotherapy to treat several types of cancer.

Contact BALANCED HEALING for more information regarding the benefits of traditional medicine.

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