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Hoodoo…………..What Is It?

The true etymological origin of the term hoodoo is the Akan term for medicines which are typically derived from plants, stems and roots: nduru or ndu

The notion of the nduru person or ndu person (oohn-dooh-rooh or oohn-dooh person) being the medicine person who works with dua (sticks, roots) to make ndu (medicines) is the origin of the oduyefo (medicine-making person) or the odu/ndu (oohn-dooh), hoodoo-makingperson.

The Akan term ndu (oohn-dooh) is the origin of the term hoodoo, the medicine making, rootworking practice. The term odunsinfo literally translates in ‘African-American’ parlance as root-doctor.The term oduyefo literally translates into ‘hoodoo person’ – one of the group of people (fo) who makes (ye) hoodoo (odu/ndu) – the rootworker.

Hoodoo medicine is a unique record of nearly lost African‐American folk culture. It documents herbal medicines used for centuries, from the 1600s until recent decades, by the slaves and later their freed descendants, in the South Carolina Sea Islands.

Hoodoo at its Best: African Traditions

Aloe gel skin care: The leaf juices of the aloe plant have important medicinal uses making aloe one of the most respected medicinal plants found in many gels, creams, and lotions. Modern researchers have identified several reasons why aloe gel spurs wound healing: It has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral compounds that help prevent wound infections. It also has immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory compounds, and it stimulates collagen synthesis and skin regeneration after a burn. Aloe gel contains vitamins C and E, plus the mineral zinc. Aloe vera gel is soothing, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial – helps heal acne, improve the appearance of wrinkles, and hydrates damaged skin. Applying a thin layer of aloe vera gel will help ease discomfort caused by painful skin irritations, and acne.

Castor oil: One of the most time honored home remedies for constipation, castor oil was the bane of childhood for those of us who were subjected to a daily dose of this rather vile tasting oil. But don’t let that dissuade you from using castor oil externally, it is a wonderful analgesic oil when applied externally for all kinds of pain including: sore muscles and arthritis, bruising, lower back pain, and nerve damage. Castor oil packs are well suited to the slow relief of chronic pain and swelling. Castor oil forms a protective surface when used in cosmetic and skin care formulations that act as a protective barrier for skin.

Shea Nut Butter: Shea is rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that rejuvenate and hydrate skin and hair. Use shea butter alone or in homemade skin preparations to treat damaged skin, help heal wounds,or just pamper yourself with a whole body treatment. Pure shea butter has a soft, pliable texture, is naturally cream colored and has a pleasant nutty scent. Bleached and refined shea butter does not retain its medicinal properties, so be sure to obtain it from a reputable vendor that specializes in natural products.

Peppermint: Peppermint is thought to have originated in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. In the Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical text dating to 1550 BC, mint is listed as calming to stomach pains. Mint was so valued in Egypt that it was used as a form of currency.

Peppermint powerfully sharpens mental focus by removing dull and hazy feelings. As a cooling oil, peppermint is also extremely effective for taking the edge off of tension. Peppermint’s cool and clearing nature makes it ideal for stimulating mental agility and improving concentration for the tasks at hand. It is also effective against worry, grief, and general feeling of heaviness.

Peppermint is also used to relieve upset skin due to bug bites or to having spent too much time in the sun. Peppermint is great to add to your hair care routine as it nourishes and balances a dull, oily scalp. It is commonly used in dental care due to its effective and refreshing properties. Peppermint can also be used for headaches.

Cinnamon: can be used to treat cold symptoms

Flaxseed/flaxseed oil: a diuretic and laxative

Garlic: can be used for the common cold, malaria, cough, pulmonary TB, hypertension,wounds, STDs, asthma, parasitic infections, toothache, diabetes, and hemorrhoids

Ginger: can be used for stomachache, cough, fever, and influenza

Khat: can be used as a stimulant and for mental illness, gonorrhea, and common cold

Rue: can be used for the common cold, stomachache, diarrhea, influenza


1. Calms down the nervous system

2. Produces sleep at night

3. Relieves annoying coughs

4. Has a laxative action which is effective, yet mild

5. Relieves pain in arthritis

6. It is antiseptic

7. Cures bed-wetting in children

8. Controls muscle cramps

9. Relieves burns

10. Relieves stuffy nose

11. Treats hay fever

12. Relieves nasal sinusitis

Suppose your child has the habit of bed-wetting at night, what would African holistic medicine have you do? At bedtime give the child a teaspoonful of honey. It will act in two ways. First, it will act as a sedative to the nervous system. Second, as has been said, it will attract and hold fluid during the hours of sleeping. In attracting and holding the fluid, it spares the kidneys.

In African medicine, honey has long been used as a very successful treatment for skin burns. When applied, it relieves the painful smarting and prevents formation of blisters. It produces rapid healing of the burned area.

Kimberly Johnson is the owner of Elements of Healing, LLC which is an herbal remedy company where products are made by hand with undivided attention and love. Check out the Facebook business page, the Instagram business page, and the company website for products and prices by clicking the links at the top of this page.

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