Natural Folk Medication and Beliefs on Healing in African Americans
Thesis:Natural folk medication and beliefs on healing deliver models oftraditional healing to African Americans.
Personal interview narrative.
Validation of concepts from the personal interview (Fayth, 2007)
Utilization of folk medication and beliefs on healing concepts learned
Natural folk medication and beliefs on healing provide models of traditional healing to African Americans.
Withstructured questions, I was eager to get an insight into how naturalfolk medication and beliefs provide African Americans with models oftraditional healing and solutions to life predicaments. The questionsassimilated African American folk healing procedures and set ofbeliefs. Determined to get reliable answers, I interviewed Arlene(pseudonym), a very close African American acquaintance. In thispaper, I will focus on four dominant themes brought out by Arlene’sresponses to my questions.
Precisely,Arlene’s answers brought to my attention four key themesspirituality, rituals, dreams, and the power of words. Arlene spelledout how he routinely engages in prayers to strengthen his ties to“higher powers.” Additionally, he also spoke of engaging hisfamily in shared prayers and communal rituals to honor theirancestors. Also, Arlene explained why he considers his dreams asspiritual messages that guide his daily activities. Last of all, heexplained his strong belief in the power of folk words. Consistentwith Arlene’s folk culture, all these approaches are traditionallyvalid means of relieving agony, stress, and crisis.
Inthe hunt for validating Arlene’s responses, I came across a journalarticle titled: “Workingwith Narratives: Coping Strategies in African American Folk Beliefsand Traditional Healing Practices,” writtenbyFayth M. Park. In her composition, Fayth (2007) pinpoints all thefour noticeable themes in Arlene’s answers. She clearly categorizesfour African American folk healing and beliefs coping strategies asthe power of words, dreams, spirituality, and rituals all mirroredin Arlene’s personal narrative. In other words, this essay is avalidation of Arlene’s personal narrative on natural folk healingand beliefs among African Americans through the lens of Fayth’s(2007) journal article.
NaturalFolk Medication and Beliefs on Healing in African Americans
Inthis paper, I will shed light on the culturally-centered therapeuticconcepts I acquired from an interview with a very close friend. Usingsensibly structured questions, I engaged one of my African Americancomrades in a question-answer session in pursuit of understanding hownatural folk medication and beliefs provide models of healingtraditions. “As an African American,” I recall Arlene (namechanged to protect the identity of the individual) saying, “I am avery spiritual being. As a matter of fact, I pray more than onceevery day.” In his folk culture, spiritually based practices andbeliefs like praying and fasting provide strategies for findingsolutions to life predicaments. Thus, Arlene treasures his connectionto a higher power (God). Moreover, Arlene said, “I pray for othersas well because I believe that prayers have transpersonalinfluences.”
Otherthan praying individually, Arlene also identified joint prayers withhis family as therapeutically significant. “As an American ofAfrican origin,” Arlene continued, “My tightly knit family tieshelp me cope with life problems. The act of ceremonial salutation ofa supreme being with my family provides us with the platform to amassour common energies, bestowing calm and tranquility in the case ofearthly problems.” On top of praying communally, Arlene alsoclarified that since he hails from an African American family, hetakes part in folk rituals like honoring his ancestors. To explain,Arlene proceeded to say, “The simulation of such micro ritualspermits us to reset any sour relations to our ancestors, who in myfolk culture, are of significant importance in the ways of theliving.”
Uponasking Arlene if he believes in dreams, I was surprised that hisanswer was a “yes!” To substantiate his viewpoint, Arleneclaimed, “In African folk healings, dreams are coded messages whenappropriately deciphered, carry spiritual messages. These codedmessages give meaning to life, sometimes helping me to prepare forfuture events that sometimes materialize in the real world!”Furthermore, Arlene said, “I believe in the power of folk idiomsand words. Natural folk words carry customs and beliefs that linkmutual human experiences like love, joy, humor, pain, and suffering.If words are spoken in resentment, anger, or violence, then pain andanguish will be seen in an individual’s life. When words are spokenin a loving, kind, and caring manner, then good things will appear inthe life of an individual.” In Arlene’s world, the sheer power ofwords can create circumstances in our lives either positive(therapeutic) or negative (destructive).
Aftermy interview with Arlene, I decided to do some research on naturalfolk medication and beliefs on the healing or recovering process inAfrican Americans. Fortunately, I came across a journal titled:“Workingwith Narratives: Coping Strategies in African American Folk Beliefsand Traditional Healing Practices,”drafted by Fayth M. Park. Using her composition as a lens, Iconfirmed the rationality of all the responses I received from myAfrican American acquaintance. It is the opinion of Fayth (2007) thatthere are four main components in traditional healing among AfricanAmericans dreams, spirituality, rituals, and the power of words.These cultural centered healing elements often surface as themes inpersonal narratives on the subject of coping in trauma, stress, andcrisis. These components provide models of traditional healing usedto improve human experience.
Fayth(2007) observes that according to folk healing, dreams are full ofimagery, metaphors, and symbolism befittingly confirming Arlene’spersonal narrative. Additionally, Fayth (2007) explains that in folkhealing, spirituality emerges as a principal theme in personalnarratives as a model of healing in African Americans. Also, naturalfolk medication and beliefs embedded in rituals and the power ofwords are coping strategies among African Americans (Fayth, 2007).Thanks to Fayth’s journal, I have now understood why and hownatural folk medication and beliefs deliver different approaches tocoping and recovering from trauma, stress, and agony.
Atthis moment in time, I clearly comprehend why Arlene says he prays,strongly believes in his dreams, honors his ancestors, and believesin the power of folk words (idioms). From this research process, Ihave been able to understand how natural folk medications and beliefscan influence present-day agony, trauma, and stress management. Armedwith this information, I can integrate the different aspects ofnatural folk medication models of trauma and recovery into myclinical practice as a health professional. As such, I will becreating perfectly blended narratives that will merge natural folkmedication with contemporary principles of medicine to create mutualconsiderations on the best solutions to stress, agony, and trauma. Inother words, I am now adept at coining a symbiotic relationshipbetween modern treatment practices and natural folk healing practicesin response to trauma, crisis, and stress among African Americans.Per se, I can confidently say that I have acquired high valueinformation (cultural competence) that will be instrumental inassisting me to become a superior health professional in my futurepractice.
Inthis paper, I have scrutinized the responses of a close friendthrough the lens of Fayth M. Park’s journal. Going by the interviewresponses, I acknowledged Arlene as a very spiritual gentleman whostrongly believes in his dreams, strictly observes folk rituals, andbelieves in the power of folk words. In accordance with Arlene’snatural folk medication culture, these elements are the “perfectcombination of coping with stress, distress and trauma.” Throughthe lens of Fayth’s (2007) journal, I have gauged Arlene’sresponses to my structured questions and confirmed them to befactual. It is the opinion of Fayth (2007) that African Americans usefour natural folk medication approaches to deal with stress andtrauma dreams, spirituality, rituals, and the power of words. Inthis paper, I have fruitfully validated Arlene’s answers regardingthe avenues African Americans employ to cope with stress and trauma.Armed with this information, I can integrate the different aspects ofnatural folk medication models of trauma and recovery into myclinical practice as a health professional. Intrinsically, I will becreating perfectly blended narratives that will integrate naturalfolk medication into contemporary medicine to generate mutualconsiderations on the best solutions to stress and trauma in AfricanAmericans.
Fayth,P. (2007). Working With Narratives: CopingStrategies in African American Folk Beliefs and Traditional HealingPractices,135-145. Doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_101447