Dubbed the open uni of herbalism, more digging can be had here re alternative traditional medicine,
The ritual itself usually involved chanting and drumming. The task of the healer is to determine the cause of disease and help the spirit of the patient to realign himself with the greater order of the universe and his community. Only once this spiritual aspect of healing has been affected will the herbs be considered useful as a supportive measure to clear the body of the patient from the weakness and debris of the disease.
Many but not all tribes had special ‘medicine societies’ each of which was responsible for caring for a particular type of disease. In some cases the members were people who had suffered and recovered from the respective disease and individuals could not choose to join one group or another – the disease itself elected them. Elsewhere the traditions were passed down from uncle to nephew or aunt to niece.
Not only western herbalism, but also western medicine is indebted to Native American medicine for many remedies now commonly used. It is a pity though that not more of the philosophy and preventative approach also found its way into western medicine – much still remains to be learnt from these ancient wisdom ways. Sadly, with the advances of modern medicine and lifestyles much of this wisdom is now endangered. In many places the elders don’t find enough young people interested in learning the old ways and keeping the traditions alive. At the same time money hungry impostors jump on the ‘native American bandwagon’ and promote their own brand of healing and spirituality as native wisdom, but which only increases the mistrust and protective secrecy with which the real knowledge is guarded. But what will happen when the last keeper dies? Who will carry on the flame? Who will protect the knowledge and who will protect the flames when there is no-one left to care?