Woman Herbalist

How I Became Herbalist

I was born to a father with a lot of land and animals so I didn’t think about going to school. I don’t regret that – I still learned counting and other useful things. I had an elder sister and five brothers. My sister and one brother have passed away. Three of my brothers went to other places to look for more land and one is still around. I learned “African traditional herbal remedy” from my father like my father learned it from his father and he also from his father. It’s a long history. My father taught my brother, his oldest son. It is a tradition that the youngest or oldest son is taught, not the children in between. But my elder brother passed away, so my father started to teach me when I was 10 years old because my aunt saw the special talent in me.


My dad took me to the forest often to learn. Ten times we went there together, and he taught me everything about plants and herbs. He told me which herbs are used for which diseases. After that he made a small cut in my arm with his knife, smeared the wound with herbs and said: “Now you are ready to go by yourself to the forest”. This empowers me to collect herbs and plants by myself. Making small cuts into people’s skin is still part of my healing treatments, it heals diseases or decreases pain.

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Traditional Healing Practice

African use of Traditional-Herbal-Healing, defined as ‘health practices, approaches, knowledge, and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based

treatment, spiritual therapies, manual methods and exercises, to treat, diagnose and prevent unwell being and, maintain well-being’, is widespread in low- and middle-income countries and of considerable economic importance. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated eighty per cent of the population use traditional health services. Similarly, in Latin America and Asia, there is extensive use of Traditional Herbal Healing, and in China close to fourty per cent of all health care is delivered by “Traditional Herbal Healing” practitioners. Nine years ago in South Africa, there were an estimated 189,000 traditional health practitioners who treat an array of health-related problems as well as culture-bound syndromes or ailments considered non-responsive to western remedy. The most frequently cited reasons for using Traditional Herbal Healing is a perception that treatment can be effective and continuity of care. Some people can do spells without “magickal tools” but I feel that we evolved from being primitive apes through the use of tools. Some of us, me included, still have that connection to our ancestors who lived on and from the land. 


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Plants, Herbs And Trees Have Properties And Powers That Heal.

First A Few Preliminaries, Useful Things To Know.


I am NOT a physician. I do NOT claim to be a physician or any other kind of medical practitioner. If you have a serious medical problem, please see a Physician or trained medical practioner.


Making Healing Infusions and Decoctions.

The most common way to take herbal medicine is in an herb tea infusion. Drinking a medicinal tea is different however from drinking an herbal tea as a beverage. Medicinal teas are stronger. They usually require 1 ounce of the herb per pint (2 cups) of water. The container you use to prepare the medicinal herbal beverage is important also. Heatproof glassware and earthenware are best, as they do not impart any of there own qualities into the preparation. Avoid containers made of aluminum or cast iron, these can taint the herbal preparation. Heavily chlorinated tap water or water with a high mineral content should also be avoided. Pure spring water, or distilled water is best to use.




Infusions are medicinal beverages made by steeping the herbs in hot water until their useful qualities are extracted. To make an infusion, bring a pint of water to a full rolling boil and remove from the heat. Immerse 1 ounce (about 2 cups) of the dried herb in the water and cover tightly. Let the infusion steep for 10-15 mins.


Decorations, simmering herbs in water, is the most effective method of drawing the healing elements from the coarse plant parts such as the bark, roots, stems or heavy leaves. Bring one pint of water to a full rolling boil and add the dried herbs. Keep the water just below boiling for about 30 mins and let the herbs simmer gently. Allow to cool and strain the preparation through cheesecloth before using.

Lotions and Washes

Washes are teas or infusions meant only for external use. A mild form of a wash is 1/2 ounce of herb to one pint of boiling water, steeped until lukewarm, then applied to the area requiring treatment. Lotions are made by adding the herbs to an oil such as almond, sesame, or glycerin. Three teaspoon of herb to one cup of oil, steeped and heated several times makes a “very effective lotion”. Lotions should be kept cool and in air tight containers for best results.




Tinctures are an excellent way to preserve and concentrate the healing qualities of herbs. Several drops to one tablespoon is the general dosage. To make a tincture, combine 4 ounces of the powdered or finely cut herb with a pint of spirits, such as brandy, vodka or gin, in a large jar or jug with a secure fitting lid. (NEVER use rubbing or wood alcohol, both are poisonous.) Shake the mixture several times daily over a period of two weeks. Let the herb settle, then strain off the liquid and put them into another clean bottle for storage. Tinctures may be put up at the time of the new moon and finished on the full moon to take advantage of the natural “drawing power” of the waxing moon.


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