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Natural remedies and the African American community

Natural herbs and oils that are blended into medicinal
concoctions using a mortar and pestle. | Photo credit: Getty Images 


By Kaiyah Clarke | Staff Reporter

There is no direct definition of natural remedies. However, the African American community makes use of the term often when confronted with illness.

Natural remedies can be the use of herbs, animal byproducts, religious conviction, naturopathic therapy, alternative procurement and body awareness to treat or cure ailments.

The recent influenza epidemic, better known as the flu, has made its mark for the last few months by being labeled as the worst season in a decade.

This fearful discovery has made most people turn to the flu vaccine for relief and prevention. But many in the African American community have survived each season with no vaccine. Here is why.

The benefits of homemade or natural remedies are that they are cheaper, more accessible, they are considered the original form of modern medicine, have fewer side effects, can be taken frequently without a detrimental outcome and have been used to treat a variety of illnesses for centuries.

Certain natural remedies can cure multiple illnesses and sustain health, unlike individual vaccines and lab-made medications that can only treat the different forms of certain illnesses and must be taken annually.

Chanae Ottley, a junior mathematics student at Florida A&M, offers her family’s remedies to give an organic solution to battling common illnesses such as the flu.

“If we’re really sick during the season, my mom would buy orange juice and the aloe vera plant. She would peel the skin off the aloe and put the jelly of it into a blender to chop it up. Then, she would put the aloe in the orange juice for us to drink. This helps take the congestion out of our system and supports our immune system as a whole,” Ottley said.

Many African Americans cite religious convictions as they turn to natural remedies.

Nadia Felder, a fourth-year public relations student, shares how a family member approaches the flu epidemic and general health.

“My sister is a devout Christian who turns to prayer for taking on illness. This is rare for her though because she is already used to living a healthy lifestyle, as far as, eating right and making her own natural products, like soap, minerals, and oils to sustain her and her children’s wellbeing,” said Felder.

Natural-healing clinics like the Medical Healing Center in Tallahassee can offer additional support in the holistic curative process. This center practices psychotherapy, homeopathy, nutritional therapy and much more.

Angela Myers, a nurse practitioner and owner of Medical Healing Center, explains the natural healing processes she practices.

“Individualized care is emphasized at our clinic. We team with the patient on what they want. We also install a belief system in mind, body, spirit and divine guidance,” Myers continued, “As far as African American procurement, every culture has genetic dispositions. It is not only one culture that is immune to certain illnesses physically but, natural remedies from any culture can help anyone be treated or cured of an illness so, we keep herbal remedies from every culture in our medical ‘toolbox’ at this clinic.”

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