Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David O. Ogungbile
African medicine is the health practice involving the application of indigenous resources, spiritual and material, in providing mental, psychological, social, and physical well-being and wholeness to a human being and his or her environment. It addresses the well-being of the individual and the community, the fertility of the soil, and animal production. The material resources include the use of elements from plants (roots, leaves, and barks), animals (blood, intestines, flesh, bones, and shells), and minerals. Spiritual resources involve interaction of the human with spiritual entities, including the use of words—symbols employed to invoke the power of spiritual beings. Medicine involves the triad practice of explanation, prognostication, and control (treatment and/or prevention) of disease or illness. The African conception of wholeness and well-being goes beyond a simplistic perception of the soundness of body and mind and the stability of mental and physical conditions only; it also expresses harmonious relationship with the ...