FACTS: Goat Blood Bath

Video highlights from The Witch Doctor Will See You Now

From The Witch Doctor Will See You Now: Goat Blood Bath

  • There are estimated to be 10,000 traditional healers in Cameroon, which works out at 1 per 700 people. In comparison, there are only around 3000 Western doctors (1 per 10,500 people).

  • Approximately 80% of the population in Cameroon use at least one kind of alternative therapy from traditional healers.

  • In Cameroon the infant mortality rate exceeds 6%, and only half the population has access to safe drinking water. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has emerged as one of the most pressing social health concerns.

  • There are over 8000 species of plants in Cameroon, ranging from trees such as palms, ebony, African baobab, and rubber to crops such as cotton and coffee, to beautiful flowering plants.

  • The Cameroon plant ‘Ancistrocladus Korupenis’ has been used by traditional healers for HIV for years. Only recently has it been found in Western studies that the compound of the plant actually active against two strains of the HIV virus, although at present it is far too toxic to be used as therapy.

  • Traditional healers consider their knowledge of plants and medicines to be inherently secretive, because it is gift from the ancestors, and having suffered for years to learn their art, they are reluctant to hand any information over to researchers.

  • Devil’s Claw, native to South Africa, is an extremely important plant, used by African traditional healers. It’s used to treat a variety of ailments, including arthritis. In the US, Devil’s Claw extracts have been in phase-II clinical trials for the treatment of hip and knee arthritis.

  • The Cameroon traditional healing plant ‘Prunus Aricana’ is commonly used in the West as a natural way for lowering testosterone and for inflammation of the prostate. Cameroon is the biggest exporter of Prunus Africana to the West.

  • Iboga is an African shrub, used by traditional healers and as a well-known hallucinogen used in male rites of passage. Western studies have found that Ibogaine, an alkaloid in Iboga actually seems to have anti-addictive qualities, and has been tested on heroin addicts, and shown to have had success.

  • Mahogany, native to West Africa, is being studied in a $300,000, two year grant from the National Cancer Institute, to find out if the anti-inflammatory compounds in mahogany could help prevent or treat colon cancer.

  • The Kola nut is native to tropical Africa, and commonly used by traditional healers. It is this nut that the flavour for cola drinks is based on.

  • Many African medicinal plants are now in the world market, including Madagascar Rose Periwinkle for leukemia, Rauwolfia vomitoria Afz is a major tranquilizer and Calabar bean for inflammation of the eye.

  • Many of the treatments in Cameroon are psychological at their heart, such as the burying of a patient for a small amount of time to rid them of their anxieties. This is similar to a form of behavioral therapy called flooding, whereby the patient must face their worst fears head on in order to overcome them.

  • The Pygmies have one of the oldest cultures on earth, and still practice ancient tribal medical techniques.

  • The Bagyeli Pygmies are extremely concerned their medicinal plants might soon be lost forever. The community was displaced by the Government and as they have moved out the logging companies are moving in, chopping down the forest, but more importantly trampling all over their plants that have cured them for decades.

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