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Previous Research and Considerations

The bibliography included in this work reveals a very limited amount of work done in this domain. Much has been biased and much remains to be done.

This work relies a good deal, however, on the seminal doctoral thesis presented in 1985 by Bernard Weniger of the University of Metz (France - School of Pharmacy and Toxicology). This author shows the results of qualitative chemical or biochemical assays. When applicable, I will make use of them. The names and addresses of the laboratories have not been mentioned.

Having been personally involved in treating professionally a large number of patients by the Traditional method for over a quarter of a century, I will take the liberty to offer what seems to me a systematic approach and categorization of Traditional Medical practices in Haiti, and I will also indicate what I think were the methods used to carry out the cures and their principles. Naturally engaging nobody else but myself, my aim here is to go beyond the level of description and to highlight the meanings and values embedded in them. I will avoid, as much as possible, the nuances and subtleties of religious, philosophical, medical and biological languages, arguments and controversies, to best serve the interests of those who want to gain an introductory knowledge in this domain.


Since there has never been any official recognition of the existence of such a field as Traditional Medicine by any of the governments of Haiti, nor tests to check across the board the knowledge of the professionals, I will not suggest by any means, nor will I imply, that the practice of Traditional Medicine is perfectly understood by all Hougan and Manbo who profess in, and outside, the country, nor that the practice is everywhere similar. I know for a fact that Hugan and Manbo of different regions often function within specifically delimited eco-systems, so that their knowledge is often restricted to the herbs of the area within which they function. I mention this because it has often been overlooked, or misinterpreted as ignorance, by foreign visitors and scientists. In reality, it only shows a form of specialization that may be described as different schools of studies. And, in this field, like in many others, there exist degrees of competencies that are as widely varied.

I make no claim either, implicitly or explicitly, that only in Haiti is Traditional Medicine practiced that way and that it cannot be found elsewhere. Furthermore, I state with pride that the knowledge I have acquired came from the lengthy and patient tutoring by a large number of illiterate doctors of Haiti known as Hugan and Mambo. Through the years, they had accumulated a large number of decades in the practice of Traditional Healing. Generously, they have accepted to pass their knowledge to me. It gives me utmost pleasure to record here my gratitude. This is why I apologize beforehand for all errors, shortcomings or omissions that would be due to my own limitations and I pledge at the same time to remain open to all criticisms.

* Vodoun priests and priestesses, guardians of ancestral tradition.


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© 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

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