kind of knowledge seems sufficient to understand that a body is not a simple
machine designed to become ill. On the contrary, that machine is intelligent and
heals itself in most instances. As a matter of fact, it does so constantly, and
that is the reason why one remains healthy most of the time in spite of the fact
that the equilibrium of life is an unstable one. Even when university medicine
states that such and such a condition is known to be incurable and that the only
option is to live a life long of dependency on drugs with troublesome side
effects, the Phytotherapeutic student may remain convinced that there is always
hope for improving or for reversing a sick condition.
health and good health take on different meanings which are
significantly wider than what is usually comprehended by that word or expression
in the modern western world. It becomes something quite different from just the
absence of disease. To be healthy, then becomes an expression which is stretched
to include the fact that the organism is in good condition and that all the
subsystems of the body are in good shape, that the many organic functions are
harmoniously balanced and integrated with each other. These conditions are
those of a total equilibrium which is the basis of the feeling of well
being. Although the defense mechanisms and the immune system of one’s body
are all in constant fight against the many hazards that life presents, one then
feels confident that the organism is able to answer positively and efficiently
against the aggressions of disease-causing or pathogenic organisms, toxic
substances, stress factors of various kind ...etc.
To regain one’s lost
health, then, requires generally the very same inputs that were needed to keep
ones healthy in the first place. One must reverse all the processes that
negatively impacted upon that health and over which one has, most of the time, a
certain amount of control. This includes taking responsibility for stopping the
lifestyle choices which one knows that are harmful, and in addition, one needs
to start to positively address the real needs that such behavior masks.
All expenses of energy that
aim at maintaining and at preserving our life ought to be perceived as being Good,
but those that create disturbances to the equilibrium of our system or of our
subsystems or organs will invariably lead to the degradation of our life and of
our health. They must be rejected as being Bad, and so is simply stated
at the same time the basis of good Health and the Moral Law in the Vodoun
The basis of Vodoun Ethics would
then be to exist and to live, as much as possible to keep always the idea in
mind and to make it one’s ultimate goal, to favor the conservation and the
development of one’s life and of one’s health. The most evident corollary is
then to do this while taking into account the respect that one owes to the life
and to the health of others in our surroundings, in our family, in our society,
and the life of all the many species of living beings that exist around us in
upon the nature of one’s health problems, this might simply involve keeping
peace around oneself, sleeping better and enough hours every day, eating more
regularly and in a better balanced way, making sure to receive a reasonable
exposure to fresh air and sunlight ...etc. It may, furthermore, include
incorporating in one’s life hygienic considerations such as regular cleansing
of the body, inside and outside, addressing any structural or mechanical causes
of imbalances, learning how to properly cope with stress, and how to deal with
our mental and emotional needs.
Of course, at the beginning
one may require help and that help should always come from the treatment that is
most appropriate from a competent person. Let me mention, as examples, just a
few of the diseases identified by the Phytotherapeutic type of Medicine and some
of the herbs that have been selected by the Tradition to balance them. After
confronting this data with the ones that come from the laboratories, this
position will be better understood.
At the level of the
structure, the Phytotherapeutic Medicine defines diseases of nails, hairs,
teeth, skin, bones and muscles, and, at the level of the substructures, ones of
the organs and of the mind:
Sensory organ diseases: "maltèt"
or headaches, "la grip" or cold, cough and
laryngitis, "malozye" or eye infections, "malzorèy"
or ear infection and aches, "malgòj" or sore throats
and throat infections, "maldan" or toothaches, ...
and many more.
- Body diseases: "feblès" or general
weaknesses and asthenia, "anemi" or anemia, "dyare"
or diarrhea, "lafyèv" or fevers, "bra kase,
pye kase, tèt fan'n" or fractures of the limbs or of the
skull with inflammations, "boule" or burn, "rimatis"
or rheumatism, "maladi po" or skin diseases, "absè,
bouton, absèdlè'n" or abscesses and boils, etc...
- Organic diseases: "maladi kè" or
heart disease, "tansyon" or high blood pressure,
"pwatrinè or maladi poumon" or pneumonia,
tuberculosis, asthma, "sik" or diabetes, "disantri"
or dysentery and liver conditions, "vè" or worms,
"dlosi ak asidite, gaz" or gastritis and stomach
problems, "lèt pa ka monte" or impossibility to have
milk, "maladi vesi ak ren pa bon" meaning bladder and
kidney problems, "fredi" or frigidity and decrease of
libido, and naturally many other diseases such as AIDS, "kansè"
or cancer, "shanpiyon" or fungus, hemorrhoids ...
- Emotional and mental diseases: "sezisman"
or emotional shocks, "lèt pase" or a certain mental
disturbance that follows delivery, conditions of sanity, distractions,
attention, conscious and unconscious thoughts, interpretation of
perceptions, problems of memory, of changes of mind, of desire, of
intellectual power or capacity, ...etc., associated with the human
All of those diseases find
their appropriate answer or treatment in the phytotherapeutic medicinal aspect.