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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo Reply To: The Transformation of Antananarivo


Malagasy medicinal flora is one of the richest in the world. The island has 12,000 species among which several thousand plants are medicinal because they possess therapeutic properties. These are so great that they have always been used empirically by the Malagasy to heal themselves. Healing by plants dates from the time of the ancestors. And despite the introduction of European medicine with the arrival of the missionaries, they continue to practice traditional medicine. The reason for this is that doctors are lacking and above all that convincing results are obtained in this field.
Strongly impressed by this traditional medicine, Dr. Gershon Ramisiray, in front of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, on July 18, 1901, supported a thesis on “the medical practices and beliefs of the Malagasy”. In his study, he insists on the philosophy that dictates the procedure and the method of treatment of diseases. Dr. P. Radaody-Ralarosy reports some extracts in the Bulletin of the Malagasy Academy, new series, volumes XLVII-1 and 2.
Dr. Ramisiray shows the Malagasy “surrounded by a thousand dangers”, trying to understand what surrounded him and to find the origin of his ills. According to him, they do not suffer evils without struggle, and in each case, they have a course of action which is always the same. To know the general line of destiny or to determine each spell, one asks the astrologer or the soothsayer. To know the evil spirit, the direct cause of the evil, one resorts to the expert in “Sikidy”, alone qualified to question the Ancestors (razana), the Vazimba, or the
Sorcerers (mpamosavy).
The diagnosis being established and no danger being inevitable, the therapeutic indications are prescribed by the amulet-maker (mpanao ody) or by the doctor (mpanao fanafody). This is how the Malagasy is
Especially to treat wizards and amulet makers when it comes to curing diseases
In Dr. Ramisiray’s thesis, medical practices are classified into several categories: general diseases, organs, so-called surgical nerves, so-called diabolic nerves, final illness, and medicines. The latter part deals with the use of all products of mineral origin,
Animal or plant life. A list is drawn up in alphabetical order, with the corresponding name in French or Latin, as well as the instructions for use.
In the chapter on general and eruptive diseases, Dr Ramisiray discusses fever, smallpox, leprosy, measles, syphilis, mumps, rabies, gonorrhea, gout, rheumatism … As examples of typical cases of healing by The traditional practice, let us quote the fever (tazo) due to the very smell of the earth that exhales after a heavy rain followed by a burning sun. Prophylaxis consists in avoiding eating sweet or spoiled fruits, drinking stagnant water, avoiding any stinging or wounding animals, fatigue and leading a regular life. For the cure, plant products such as “andemy, nonoka, komy, kiranjay, vahivoraka” are used, the latter being an energetic purgative prescribed in the treatment of splenomegaly (atodin-tazo, egg of or fever).
Fractures are classified as “so-called surgical diseases”. Considered as due to the spells, they are cared for by experts in “sikidy” who prescribe plants in infusion or enema, or broths of pig bones, crocodile, dog or cat, animals that never Fracture, at least for severe fractures of the skull or chest.
Epilepsy is one of the so-called diabolical nervous diseases. Called “big day” (androbe) because it manifests itself “in broad daylight”, when there is a crowd, affection sits in the brain and communicates through saliva. In addition to the folkloric processes-green grass and a crown of dried herb stems to fix the burdens on the head (halana) – the ashes of a raven feather and water should be swallowed with water, A piece of hazotokana wood.
The “ultimate disease”, the latter, is due to the loss of the soul. Once the soul is separated from the body (lasa ambiroa), death occurs in “eleven months for some, thirteen for others”, the vital principle remaining only in a precarious way. “The soul does not fly away from it, it dreads the cold dwellings. It is the wicked being who is the sorcerer who possesses the infernal art of ravishing the soul to the peaceful abode of the body. “