Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research

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Some metaphysical elements in african trado-medical practice

Felix Ayemere Airoboman, Jude Chiedo Ukaga


The African traditional medical practice is largely conceived through the instrumentality of metaphysics. This essay focuses on unraveling the extent to which metaphysics pervades African traditional medicine. It begins with an insight into African cosmology. Thereafter, it expounds upon the metaphysical concept of causality as a phenomenon which permeates the African thought system and as central to African traditional medicine. It then, exposes the ontological dimensions of African trado-medical practices. The essay holds that African traditional medicine takes into account the totality of the patients’ socio-cultural, supernatural, and physiological framework of beliefs and expectations. It proceeds to argue that in African traditional medicine, treatment is magico-rational being that its idea of treatment cannot be subjected to laboratory analysis, instead, it is both supernatural and mystical, and while having no explanations in natural causation, treatment often involves rituals. The essay contends that in African traditional medicine, the efficacy of therapy depends on the combination of the powers of herbs and the healer. It contends that where therapy fails, it is either the actual cause has not been ascertained or that malicious agent(s) with higher supernatural power, impede(d) the efficacy of the treatment or its procedure. The essay expounds fundamentally on the metaphysical duty of the African Traditional Doctor. It contends that an accomplished traditional healer treats without charge, and that charging for treatment diminishes the capacity of the traditional healer to achieve results. The work concludes by pointing out the nexus between African traditional practice of medicine and traditional practice of medicine in other cultures of the world.

Keywords: African traditional medicine, African cosmology, Causality, Ontology, Magico-rational, African traditional doctor

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