His Tried and True Healing Remembered

When Dr. Sebi transitioned on August 6, 2016, he left a legacy of herbal healing known to thousands yet unknown globally compared to pharmaceutical giants GlaxoKline, Merck, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson. If you are one of the fortunate healed by the African Bio Mineral Balance therapy, you would probably say that if Dr. Sebi cured only one person, it would be enough to show his expertise.

Today, the focus on plant-based medicine and research, such as the late Olivia Newton-John’s Research Foundation Fund, is a step in the direction Dr. Sebi advocated for more than 40 years. And after several experiments with natural plants, including taking on the role of his own guinea pig, he used his African Bio Mineral Balance herbs to cure himself and countless others. Research, research, experiment, cure. His legacy is one of tried, true, and effective results.

Maybe you’re thinking,

“You’re biased. He gave you permission to write his book. Sure, you praise him.”

I praise the tried and true; the useful, the impactful; results that speak for themselves. I am a recipient of the results, results worthy to be praised, evidenced by the photos of containers I’ve held onto for many years now.

Perhaps, if breast cancer patients had known about the tried and true African Bio Mineral Balance plant-based therapy, they’d be alive today—provided they committed to the nutritional guidance required. And nutrition is key. It works hand in hand with Dr. Sebi’s plant/herb-based therapy to heal the body and keep cells working the way they should.

On the sixth anniversary of his transition, I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to spread the word about Dr. Sebi’s humble beginnings and his quest to be useful, to create something that benefits humanity. Here is my part in that effort.

Dr. Sebi was a genius when it came to herbal research and practice. The following statements he shared with me are evidence of that.

“This perspective of the passionate, untrained seeker allowed my experience at MLK Hospital to be a neutral one, more like a research opportunity than a job. As a steam engineer, it was required of me to measure and record the pH or hydro-ion level of the water in the boiler. The pH in the water should have been 6.9. If the pH in the boiler water was to climb to 7.1, that water would be of an alkaline base and immediately life or algae would begin to invade the tube of the boilers and set up shop, creating a wall between the radiant heat and the water that is supposed to be boiled.

The result is that you get less heat transferred to the water because of the shield set up by life forms in the tubes of the boiler. This observation made it clear to me that life expresses itself in an environment of pH 7+, which is alkaline. Life is not found in an acid environment that is -7.

So one night, when I went to work, I decided to take herbs with me. I wanted to test them because it was clear to me that if life manifests at pH 7.1, then it means that the herbs that are for healing should be of a pH of 7+ as well. So, the first herb that I gave the litmus test was comfrey, and I found that comfrey has a pH of 6. Then garlic. I found that garlic has a pH of 4 or 3.3. These are only two of many, many substances that are frequently used that are -7 pH. Their base is of an acid content. When I read many of your better-known herbal and nutritional books and manuals, I found that garlic, comfrey, aloe vera, golden seal and many other hybrid herbs are recommended. It was then that I began to see that the manuals that are being used today are manuals that oppose life instead of complementing life. So, I began to put together compounds that were made of herbs whose pH is found in the area of 8+, ensuring that the hydrogen ion concentration would be of 7 or 8+. When the hydrogen ion or pH measurement is at this level, the electrical impulses are most active and offer energy necessary to restore balance to the human body.”

Deconstructing Dr. Sebi for the Next Generation

If a picture is worth a thousand words, there’s a  takeaway with this book cover. A pensive Dr. Sebi. A teaching Dr. Sebi. A Dr. Sebi who said to me a few years back, and the right bottom photo seems to suggest, “My relationship with people, whether male or female, I’m not going to have a relationship with you unless that relationship is based on love and affection.” And that includes children, his most cherished comrades—I was surprised to learn—who watched his carefree persona and antics that the pursuit of understanding and health ignited. It has me laughing now and being happy, doing all kinds of acrobatic stupidness. That’s why the children come around here and they don’t want to leave, because they found a grownup that is as stupid as they are.  And they enjoy that, and I enjoy it too because they accept me as their peer.” Needless to say, the beam in his eyes confirmed that shared love and affection, something he’s more likely to exhibit in private moments. 

Dr. Sebi posed for the cover’s photos in 2014 in his Los Angeles office. They capture a patient man, an accommodating man, a man perhaps less known for his childlike awe and love of life.

His hard-lined exterior expressed in public talks—and even in one of the photos on the book cover—masks that deep-rooted love, and not exclusively love for black people or black culture. You might know from reading other books about his merchant seaman days, Dr. Sebi traveled the world on cargo and passenger boats—the sea and a multicultural mix of people his neighbors. That environment helped shape his love and respect for all cultures and ways of life, and it certainly molded his articulate, open-minded and intelligent worldview. But long before those trips, the love trait had already set in. His grandmother, Mama Hay, saw to that. “I was blessed to have Mama Hay, who demanded nothing but integrity of me at all times,” Dr. Sebi shared at his home in Honduras. “She was uncompromising.  She didn’t care how big or how small you were.  In her eyes you were the same.” The top right photo on the cover hints at a sublime reflection of Mama Hay.

But what of the other photos? Do they help deconstruct Dr. Sebi and, like other book covers, tell a story before any page is turned? Today’s covers are vivid, art-filled, sensory, far more than covers created a couple of centuries ago, when the only thing that enticed a read of a story was the book title or author’s name. Less color and flash than 21st century covers, Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali’s billboards a double agent: a poised confident thinker, comfortable in the presence of others, and then, in a plot twist, a superhero driven to save the world from itself.

In her article for Publishers Weekly, “Judging a Book by Its Cover,” author Terry Newman wrote, “I can’t say that all books would benefit from pictures, but a book’s cover is the first engagement many have with the author, and what’s on that cover is crucial. It needs to communicate what’s inside.” 

The story that lies in the cover of Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali is a journey to the gateway of its multilayered main character. “Why all the emoting when he speaks?” one could ask when taking a quizzical look at the sedate, unassuming photos at the top of the cover. On the other hand, when he drives his point home, as he does in the bottom photos, one wonders, “What does he offer that resonates with me? Should I open the book?”

Read on for the answers. Each photo on the cover is matched with quotes from Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali. At the end, decide if the pairings offer value and wisdom and a new interpretation of this gentle giant.

“As I look at this arrangement of life, I find myself being very extremely careful, careful because I have  not ever or do I remember wanting to be anything in my life. I want to be me. In the me, in the wanting to be me, I find that a whole lot of things came out of that, such as the healer.”

“Unlike other therapies, the African Bio Mineral Balance specifically benefits the nutritional needs of the African gene structure. But the beauty of the African Bio Mineral Balance is, because of its highly electrical nature, it has ample capacity to accommodate the nutritional needs of the entire human species. Over the years, we have treated people from all walks of life. In our early years, the bulk of our clientele were Mexican and Caucasian.”

The African Bio Mineral Balance addresses disease on two levels:  one, it cleanses the body, an intracellular cleansing.  Not only do we concentrate on cleansing the organs, we concentrate on cleansing the cells that make up the organs. . . Now, we go into the revitalizing of the cells.  As we cleanse the body, we now have to replenish the minerals that have been lost by the presence of the acid that caused the diseases in the first place.  That means the African Bio Mineral Balance comes into the picture.  The African Bio Mineral Balance is the family of 102 minerals.  Why?  Because we are talking about organic food.  We are talking about cell food.”

“You listen, Beverly. You listen. How did I do my first consultation? I wasn’t trained. I let the patient talk.”

“Right. So, you just recommended things for the patient to take?”

“No. I already knew what to recommend because I make  one treatment. I don’t make treatment special for AIDS or diabetes. It’s the same treatment.”

“Just one thing.”

“It’s one thing. It’s one disease. So, I didn’t have to go through psychoanalyzing anyone. No. People came here that were schizophrenic. People came here with delirium tremors. People came here that were paranoid. And people came here with Parkinson’s, and they all left cured. Well, how did that happen? How did it happen? The African Bio Mineral Electric Cell food.”

“I’ve had the negative thrown to me by some of them because they were negative. But I’ve had beautiful things thrown to me because they were beautiful. Just like the old man in the village. The old man is living on the edges of the village. And the traveler came to the village and asked the old man,

‘Old Man!  What kind of people live here?’ 


‘The village I just left, they are cutthroats!’ 

The old man said, ‘The same kind of people live here.’ 

So he turned back. Another traveler next month came.

‘Old man, what kind of people live here?’ 

The old man said, ‘Why?’ 

‘Because the village I just left?  They beautiful. They nice.’ 

He said, ‘The same kind of people live here.’ 

“I used to get angry. I used to go on stage in D.C. You don’t want to see my lectures in D.C. They were volatile! They were explosive. ‘Dr. Sebi, you said we shouldn’t drink carrot juice!’ I would go off on you. I would go off on you. I would practically insult you. I may cuss you out. Why would I do that? I used to wonder why was I so volatile against the people that’s in front of me. Why? Because what one gorilla knows, all gorillas know. So I want to know how come I know this and you don’t. I didn’t like that. I felt insecure. I felt very insecure. I used to get angry at you when you didn’t know. They interpret it like I  was angry. No, I was very much disturbed because you didn’t know, and you are my sister and my brother. The more of us that knows, the safer it is for all of us.”

Pinched by curiosity to delve within Dembali’s pages? IngramSpark has her, as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

Remembering An African Herbalist

He was more like George Washington Carver than anything else. He absolutely, totally, undeniably loved plants — real, Mother-nature created plants.

“The blue vervain is a plant that digests potassium phosphate. And she grows right here in the village, and she’s a pretty plant. If you want your nerves to be treated properly, just think about the blue vervain, the root and the flower,” Dr. Sebi said.

And he felt no shame being a descendant of that region of the world called Africa. He appealed to it and the “cosmic arrangement of life” for tips on how to be an effective alkaline herbal specialist. These are the reasons why I miss Dr. Sebi. This month, August 2021, marks the fifth anniversary of his transition.

The following passage is taken from the Epilogue of Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali.

Occasionally, when Sebi was alive, well, and retired in Honduras, rumors about his death would spread like California wildfires among his supporters. I felt the heat from some of the embers one morning in 2015, when I received a call from Sebi’s former assistant, Annette Thomas. I assured her everything was fine — I suppressed all other thoughts — and to prove it, I volunteered to drive to his office on La Cienega Avenue in Los Angeles, to get confirmation from his staff. About five minutes into the trip, Annette called me back to say a friend had heard from Sebi. Another rumor quashed. And just as I dismissed news of his death then, I did it again on August 6, 2016, when friends and relatives offered me condolences in text messages for the passing of my friend Dr. Sebi.

“This is nothing new. It’s not true,” I replied. But this time, I was wrong. Look on Instagram, they said. Sebi’s 21-year-old daughter, Saama, had announced his death there. She was posting from Honduras, where Sebi died.

A few days after the devastation hit me, I drove to Sebi’s office, placed my flowers among others under his portrait and sat for a while. I watched what I presumed were customers and mourners flow in and out of the building, the same building I entered for the first time in 2005.

What I gleaned from my relationship with Dr. Sebi is his courageous support for and homage to African resonance: his muse, his guide, his blueprint for existence, his culling from the past to drive his healing journey. And it seems that on the path, dembali is the lens through which he viewed the human experience. He coined the term to help fill a void not only in black communities — his message speaks volumes for all — but for communities where races and cultures intersect, commingle, and interrelate in matters of health, race, family, and culture. Yet he felt dembali helps black folks most, keeping us grounded, balanced, healthy, and true to Self in the intersection and in our relationship with others. Dembali reminds us to draw from ancestral examples of resiliency and appeals to the cosmos for direction in crossing over back to a state of ease. More often than not, Dr. Sebi said with a roar, “What one gorilla knows, all gorillas know.” And when he roared that message, I’m sure Earth nodded, smiled, and rumbled right along with him.

Summertime Sale on eBooks, 25% off, 50% off, Free

Now that Covid-19 lockdowns in the US have eased—cruise ships and air travel up from a 97% drop last year—vacationers are on the road again, with books and tablets in tow. Summertime 2021 is a good time for post-pandemic discounts. Maybe not for airfares or hotels, but definitely for eBooks.

Thanks to eBook distributor Smashwords and its annual summertime sale, eBooks are discounted 25%, 50%, 75% and even free. Authors applaud the opportunity to pass these summertime savings to readers. From July 1-31, Smashwords’ annual summer sale includes hundreds of eBooks, such as nonfiction narratives about the late natural healer Dr. Sebi: Seven Days in Usha Village: A Conversation with Dr. Sebi, Sojourn to Honduras Sojourn to Healing and Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali. According to Smashwords, the catalog gives readers access to “top-recommended books across different themes,” like bestsellers. A summertime win-win opportunity for authors, readers and publishers.  Summer sale on eBooks. 25%, 50%, 75%, Free. https://www.smashwords.com

Dr. Sebi, More Than A Charismatic Healer

He was clearly a septuagenarian adventure seeker when we traveled to his birthplace, Honduras.It’s September 2008 when Sebi and I arrive there to work on Dembali. This is a short account of an adventure with a man who brushed off age and scaled an island’s rock mountain.

The two-week trip begins in Roatán, a Honduran island about a thirty-minute boat ride from the mainland. It’s home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef, the Mesoamerican system—at that time a snorkeler’s playground bursting with vibrant pastel and fluorescent coral and tropical fish. Today, global warming, pollution and the red lionfish invasion have changed all of that. They affect the region so much that the reef is now an endangered ecosystem.

Barrier Reef in Roatan, Honduras

We stay at the east end of Roatán, at a remote resort called Paya Bay. Smaller than the luxury hotels on the island, Paya Bay sits on a coastal bluff that overlooks the sun-splashed Caribbean Sea. It boasts two beaches, including one for guests who practice naturism, commonly known as nudists.

. . . The SUV Sebi brings back to Paya Bay is the vehicle he uses. It takes us from Paya Bay to West End, Roatán, from a small waterfront community lined with shotgun houseboats and cabins to the home of Ploney Jones, the boat captain that gave a young Alfredo Bowman his first merchant seaman job back in the 1950s. 

We arrive at an east-end dock where a young Afro-Honduran man who appears to be in his late twenties and a small motor boat wait to take us to a thirty-acre community around the island’s bend. No paved roads exist on that part of the island, making it necessary to commute by boat. Sebi’s cousins, ages seven to sixty, own and live on the coastal property. It stands out as a perfect example of the independent “village” living Sebi encourages. Makeshift but functional accommodations serve the family villagers: a mail service shed, a boat dock supplied with gasoline, a three-table dining room and store counter and a large outdoor supply cabinet that stores nonperishable food and household goods. A half dozen cottages are scattered across the land, each one a stone’s throw from the Caribbean Sea.

Palm trees and other tropical plants hover high and low above them. A few plastic water bottles and soda cans peep from underneath sand and blades of grass, while a brown pet cow, with her legs buckled under her body, lounges in a cottage’s front yard.  A small island that Sebi inherited from his grandfather juts out across the sea from his relatives’ community.

It’s an all-day visit, with me snapping pictures most of the time:  Sebi and his cousins rock climbing, boats big and small and a young man built like a defensive linebacker who steers them.

Read the whole story in Chapter Seven of Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali. It’s Dr. Sebi’s take on topics such as culture, sickle cell anemia diagnosis, his life in Los Angeles in the 1970s and natural healing. For a preview of Chapter Seven, including photos of the adventure, visit https://www.sojourntohonduras.com/dembali

Howard University—A Legacy of Higher Learning, Higher Consciousness

Howard University and its iconic radio station WHUR, 96.3 FM, inspired my interest in journalism, public affairs and broadcasting. I studied these even though the dramatic arts captured my attention in high school (I sang in the concert choir and acted in plays). It must have been the tour of WHUR that steered me toward courses in writing and reporting, and after graduation, the production of a four-part series about a natural healer named Dr. Sebi. Howard adds to its distinguished legacy a roster of noted doctors, lawyers, entertainers and people like Dr. Sebi and me.

Perhaps it’s fate that detoured my career and connected us, for surely the past 16 years of my life have been wrapped in Dr. Sebi’s aura and expertise. I’m all the better for it, grateful that I learned new foodways and health care tips. Grateful for the opportunity, for the past 16 years, to share them with the public.

When Dr. Sebi died in 2016, I wrote a blog that asked the question “Who will pick up his torch and continue his work?” It didn’t cross my mind then that I was the torch bearer, one of them. I asked the question, and for the past 16 years lived the answer.

At this webpage https://www.sojourntohonduras.com/portfolio you’ll experience a sample of my engagement with the public on Dr. Sebi’s behalf. The portfolio is a testament of how Howard University and radio station WHUR influenced my creativity and social conscious where Dr. Sebi is concerned. It’s been a fulfilling journey I’ll always remember.

Goats and Cows in Our Bloodstream. Deficit or Benefit?

Deficit, says natural healer and alkaline herbal medicine specialist Dr. Sebi. His reasons cover two pages in the new book Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali. An excerpt from Chapter Five: On Matters of Food and Health.

When I open the wooden screened door of Sebi’s cabin, I grin and watch a surprising scene:  Dr. Sebi—curer of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer; herbalist to celebrities; advocate of alkaline food—eating cookies with Matun. I sit down and join them. Every now and then Sebi falls off the wagon. I couldn’t help thinking that the renowned healer was cheating on his die-hard alkaline diet. Sebi sees it another way.

“We call it cheating instead of a conditioning,” he says. “It’s not a cheating. That doesn’t exist, because the gorilla never cheats. The gorilla eats exactly what he was designed to eat throughout his lifetime. So why is it that the gorilla, when he finds himself in a zoo, he too begins to cheat?  Because they feed him bananas. Gorilla does not eat bananas in the forest. But in a zoo he eats bananas. When we were in the forest, we didn’t eat rice and beans. Goats and cows, that represent poison, because there isn’t any nutritionist or biochemist that could show scientifically the benefits of animal blood in the human body. Blood represents disease. Blood is the carrier of disease. And the liver is the filter. So how could ingesting the blood of an animal be useful in my nutrition?  So cheating is a conditioning. It’s not a conscious, deliberate act.”

“What we’re doing now, we’re eating cookies,” I say, chewing what tastes like a gingersnap.

“Well, we are what you would call cheating.”

“We are cheating then?”

“No, but remember, we are only submitting to that part of us that has been so conditioned throughout the years,” he clarifies.

The story continues in Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali.

Available now in bookstores.

Related links: https://www.sojourntohonduras.com/dembali


Natural Healer Cites Sources of Racial Conflict and Poor Health in Black Communities, Offers Solutions

Botanist and natural healer Dr. Sebi put his memoir on hold to collaborate with author Beverly Oliver on a project focused on health, race, family and culture and how to cross over from deep-rooted, life-threatening practices to acceptance and wellness. He named this process “dembali.”

Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali: Crossing Over from Dis-Ease to Ease in Matters of Health, Race, Family, and Culture is the latest release by Oliver. Part memoir, part social commentary, the book is reminiscent of a fireside chat with Dr. Sebi.

“Dr. Sebi’s autobiography is a remarkable work he shared with me in 2005, and I look forward to the day when it’s published,” says Oliver. “But he decided the health and state of black people deserved attention, not his life’s story, and considering the social climate we’re in right now, Dembali’s release is relevant, timely.”

Dembali is the lens Dr. Sebi used to observe communal and environmental challenges within the black community and the same lens through which he viewed solutions.

Nutrition, natural healing, Black and Latino health—Dr. Sebi’s area of expertise for more than 35 years—occupy the book’s pages but are secondary themes. His main assertions are forerunners of the Black Lives Matter conversation and include:

Code of Ethics and Race

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

The Nuances of Black Identity

Race and Resonance

Anthropology and Human Progression

A Woman’s Role in Natural Healing

Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali: Crossing Over from Dis-Ease to Ease in Matters of Health, Race, Family, and Culture ($20.95, 210 paperback pages, 146 eBook pages, 5 ½ x 8 ½, ISBN 978-0-578-69948-6) is available now at online booksellers and Ingram for retailers. For more information, visit www.sojourntohonduras.com/dembali or www.jbdavidcommunications.com.

About the Author. Beverly Oliver first interviewed Dr. Sebi for radio station WHUR-FM 96.3 in Washington, DC. She produced a four-part public affairs series about his natural healing philosophy and his first company, The Fig Tree, that aired on the station’s weekly newsmagazine, The Sunday Digest. This is her third book on Dr. Sebi, who died in 2016. It follows Seven Days in Usha Village: A Conversation with Dr. Sebi (2007) and Sojourn to Honduras Sojourn to Healing (2010).

Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali Releases November 2020

New Nonfiction book Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali

He put his autobiography, The Cure: The Autobiography of Dr. Sebi “Mama Hay”, on hold to collaborate with author Beverly Oliver on a book he felt needed more attention and development. The book’s theme? Why people reject recommendations in matters of health, race, family, and culture, and how to cross over from that rejection to acceptance. Dr. Sebi coined this rejection and its solution “dembali.” Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali: Crossing Over from Dis-Ease to Ease in Matters of Health, Race, Family, and Culture makes its debut November 2020 (Amazon and Ingram will distribute).

Even though Dr. Sebi died in August 2016, he left behind a wellspring of material for dembali, including a 2008 talk with guests at Usha, his healing village in Honduras, Central America.

“Dr. Sebi’s autobiography is a remarkable work that the public should read,” says Oliver, “and I look forward to the day when it’s published, but considering the social climate we’re in right now, Dembali‘s release is relevant, timely.”

Chapters in the 210-page book include: Code of Ethics and Race; Race and Resonance Matter–Resonance More; Dr. Frances Cress Welsing; The Nuances of Black Identity; and Anthropology and Human Nature. Seven chapters, a Foreword, Introduction, Epilogue, Notes, and a Bibliography fill the book.

Health, nutrition, natural healing–Dr. Sebi’s platform for more than 35 years–occupy Dembali’s pages but are slightly secondary themes. “Cassava’s Hidden Nature” and “Alkaline Food–A Nourisher” are two chapters.

From rage to solemnity, Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali is reminiscent of a fireside chat with the author.

New Project Features Dr. Sebi

Author Beverly Oliver collaborated on two books with alkaline herbal medicine practitioner, Dr. Sebi. Before he passed in August 2016, he started a third book, one with a theme he called dembali. It is currently in the pre-publication phase with Oliver and will be available November 2020 (Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali: Crossing Over from Dis-Ease to Ease in Matters of Health, Race, Family, and Culture). But for anyone new to the late healer’s life, a remarkable and controversial one that includes his cures for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, lupus and sickle cell anemia, we encourage you to begin your journey with Dr. Sebi in the two previous books: Seven Days in Usha Village: A Conversation with Dr. Sebi and Sojourn to Honduras Sojourn to Healing: Why An Herbalist’s View Matters More Today Than Ever Before. You’ll find samples of both books in the following link, as well as a preview of the upcoming Dr. Sebi Speaks of Dembali.