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A Phytotherapeutic Medical System

More commonly known in the Creole language spoken in Haiti as "Medsin fèy," and in English as Herbal or Botanical Medicine, phytotherapy can best be described as a type of Medicine that make herbs an integral part of the treatment. The word Herb is understood to mean plants, animals or any part of them, that are utilized for medicinal purpose. A herb may be a leaf, a flower, a stem, a seed, a root, a fruit or the bark of a tree, or it might also be any other part or whole of an animal that is used for that specific purpose. It could be, for instance, the liver of a fish or the wool of a lamb.

Certain plants that are used for food flavoring such as thyme, chive or parsley "woucou" (parwah - Bixa orellana) are also considered herbs when they are used for medicinal purposes, as are certain peppers such as "pwav potorik", "pwav ginen" or "pwav a manje " (piperacea family), "reseda"(henna) and allspice. So are oils extracted from avocado, coconut, sesame or peanuts, castor beans or almond and many others, all of them fit into the category of herbs.


It should be noted that in the Phytotherapeutic type of medicine those herbs work in a manner that is somewhat similar to that of the pharmaceutical drugs used in conventional Medicine, that is via a chemical make-up that affects the human physiology. The World Health Organization has advanced that approximately 25 percent of all prescription drugs are still derived from trees, shrubs or herbs. Others are made from extracts, and still others are synthesized chemically to mimic a natural plant compound. Of 119 plant-derived pharmaceutines that are on the shelves of the pharmacies tcal medicioday in the United States, 74 percent of them correlate directly with their traditional uses.

Herb Collection

When involved in the field of Phytotherapeutic medicine in Haiti, it is not sufficient to purchase herbs at the market places where people sell leaves that are too often dry, tired, old or lifeless. One must collect them in the proper conditions, that is "according to the règleman," as it is said in the Vodoun culture to mean in accordance with the proper protocol. According to that protocol, collecting herbs should always imply a certain degree of respect for the plant to guarantee its cooperation. That respect is translated by the songs, the dances, the method of approach and the fact that the harvest must be purchased. One must buy the herbs from the plants and the money to pay for it, like a sacrifice, must be deposited at the feet of the tree while singing the appropriate songs. Furthermore, one must also take into account the influences of the Moon and of the Sun at the moment of the collect, and also the prevailing atmosphere at that time.

With respect to the Moon, most species must be harvested before the plant flowers and preferably during an ascending Moon. As for the roots and the tubercles, it is better to collect them before the flowering time, even before the new leaves or buds come out, and during a descending Moon. When the Moon is going down, the vitality of the plant, meaning the biologically active principles it contains, is greater at the roots. At the end of November and at the beginning of December, the potency or curative power of a plant is almost absent.

With respect to the Sun, most leaves should be harvested before sunrise. That is the optimum time, the time when the plants hold the totality of their curative powers. But when the Sun shines or is high in the sky, the plants are said to be at work and consequently lose a significant portion of their active principles.

During the preparation of certain mixtures, some of the ingredients reach their full potentiality only after the clapping of thunder or only when lightning strikes. This is why certain types of preparation should be reserved and done only periodically, when the weather is acceptable, the best months of the year being the second half of December, May and August.

Wild vegetables and plants are often preferred to the cultivated varieties since they are frequently found to be richer in nutrients. This was noted when studying an improved process for obtaining sapogenin, mainly hecogenin, a chemical substance of the steroid family, from the plant known as "Pite" or Sisal.* It looked like in the wilderness, the hormonal glands of the plant were more vigorously stimulated by the competition against weeds. In the laboratory they yielded a much higher quantity of that particular compound.

It takes a dedication to follow the behavior and strength of each species of animals and plants, those that live in water, land or air, those that strive in the mountains, and those that grow at sea level.

* Agava sisalana.
This study resulted in a patent held by the author, Max-G. Beauvoir, 1976.
U. S. patent # 3981867,
 view the Patent



© Max G. Beauvoir - 1998 - 2006

all  reproduction is strictly forbidden without express authorization

Author : Max-G Beauvoir
Tel :  (509) 458 1500
Le Péristyle de Mariani, Mariani, Haiti

The Temple of Yehwe: President 
Nicole Miller, Tel : ( 516) 932-2331,

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