Some home remedies have a direct effect on the body. Others seem to work only because people believe in them. The healing power of belief can be very strong.
For example, I once saw a man who suffered from a bad headache. To cure
him, a woman gave him a small piece of sweet potato. She told him it was a
strong pain killer. He believed her –and the pain went away quickly.
Clearly, it was its faith in her treatment, and not the sweet potato, that made
him feel better.
Many home remedies work in this way. They help largely because people have
faith in them. For this reason, they are especially useful to cure illness that are
partly in people’s beliefs, Worries, or fears.
Included in this group of sickness are: bewitchment or hexing, unreasonable or
hysteric fear, uncertain ‘aches and pains’, anxiety or nervous worry, and some
cases of asthma, hiccups, indigestion, stomach ulcer, migraine headaches, and
For all of these problem, the manner or ‘touch’ of the healer can be very
important. What it often comes down to is showing you care, helping the sick
person believe he will get well, or simply helping him relax.
Sometimes a person’s belief in a remedy can help with problems that have
completely physical causes. Certain home remedies for snakebite have been
Many patent medicines (for example, drugs to improve ‘potency’) are
sold which have no real action, but appear to work because the advertising has
been good, and people believe in them. Medicines used in this way are called
‘placebos’, which means ‘things to please’. Quite often cough medicine, ‘tonics’
and pain relievers are really placebos. They help to comfort and reassure, and the
patient would not be happy without them, even though the problem might well
have got better by itself.
Some people believe that prayers should replace all dependence on medicines. The body which God has given us has great powers of self-healing, particularly
when we live our lives as He intended. Many receive comfort and healing through
the power of prayer, whether privately at home, or in a place of worship or
‘houses of healing’ when anxiety is overcome, fears or evil spirits cast out and a
temperate life-style adopted, the person becomes more relaxed, happy and
But we live in a world where accidents happen, and where all kinds of hazards
may affect the affect the lives of anyone, however good and God-fearing. We
should be thankful for effective medicines, and life-saving operation. They are
God’s gift to us too, and can be the answer to our prayers.
Having a baby in a ‘house of healing’ can be satisfactory if all goes normally, and
the attendants have some experience of clean, safe method. But there can be
dangers if none of the members know the ‘signs of special risk’ that make
it important that a doctor or skilled midwife attend the birth, if possible in a