The practice of medicine has been a longstanding tradition with human culture. Around 5,000 years ago the Egyptians were practicing early medicine in the form of herbs and incantations. Modern medicine derives its roots from Hippocrates, who believed that the body and not Greek gods manifest disease. He is credited to writing revolutionary manuscripts that convincingly altered Greek life. His works went against the mainstream thought and was even jailed a portion of his life because of his belief. His Oath is uttered and revered by doctors to this very day. Where would humans be today without medicine?
Every tribe, culture and group on earth has its own version of a medicine man. From the conventional doctor in Western medicine, to shamans in small tribes scattered across the globe, the roles filled by these restorative beings are similar. The main role, of course, of any medicine man is to cure the ailment of his patient whether it be physically, mentally or spiritually. If a cure cannot be attained, comfort is the next alternative. In modern medicine, pills are created by large companies from man-made chemicals and prescribed by doctors to their patients for diseases and mental incapabilities. In a self-reliant group, over the counter drugs are not plausible for disease control.
As a thriver, the medicine man must know how to treat wounds and broken limbs in the least, as these are the most common of injuries. Learning to diagnose and treat diseases is not a simple task and one must be certified to do so in most cultures. For the person who has not the time to become a full-fledged doctor, learning to create effective decoctions and tinctures from herbs, plants and trees is a great alternative.
Decoction: Is the process of mashing then boiling a part of a plant or herb to acquire a certain chemical that can be used in treating a particular ailment.
Tincture: Uses the same process as a decoction but instead of water, alcohol or ethanol is used. Alcohol assists in circulating the tincture throughout the body, making it more effective.
Understanding the effects of herbs and plants on the body is wisdom few have, especially in Western culture where major pharmaceutical companies dominate the medicine industry. In modern societies natural medicine is actually looked down upon and considered second rate to over-the-counter pills. This view could not be further from the truth considering more deaths are recorded from side effects of these man-made pills than car accidents in the United States every year. Money makes the world go round!
People must learn that a healthier lifestyle and use of natural medicine are much better in the long run than a quick fix. Did you know that eating celery can reduce high blood pressure more efficiently than the typical over-the-counter pill? Not to mention celery is tastier. Creating an efficient eating habit, loaded with important vitamins and minerals is a great way to maintain health. As the medicine man one of your jobs is to create a dietary plan that inhibits vital health to your group.
The medicine man of any self-reliant group is a morale generator and life altering member to a way of life we may have to fall back on in case anything major were to happen. It’s fun and rewarding to heal someone even from the smallest of injuries. In fact, this is how I started on my path to becoming a “Thriver”. I used to direct tour operations in the Alaska and Yukon Territories for a major cruise company and one day while passing through a small town, one of my guests developed a huge rash on her shoulder leading up to her throat (not sure exactly what happened, probably an allergic reaction to a bug bite). She came up to me as a last resort, hoping I could help in some way. She tried all sorts of medicines and creams and nothing helped. Luckily for her I read about the Northern Yarrow plant which grows in abundance on side of the road in Alaska and the Yukon just days prior. This plant has anti-inflammatory powers when you grind up the petals. When it was applied it took no more than ten minutes for all itching and hives to disappear. Honestly, I did not think the plant would be of any help to her, but after seeing first-hand nature’s restorative power I decided to change how I viewed the world.