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

https://www.sevendaysinushavillage.org

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.

https://www.sojourntohonduras.com/single-post/2020/06/17/Past-Present-Coming-Soon

An Innovation in Alkaline Herbal Medicine

How Do We Reverse Disease and Heal Our Electric Body?

The answer? The African Bio Mineral Balance. Until his autobiography is published, Dr. Sebi’s best representation in publication, besides Sojourn to Honduras Sojourn to Healing (yes, we’re a bit biased here), is Aqiyl Aniys’s book Alkaline Herbal Medicine: Reverse Disease and Heal the Electric Body. In 118 pages, Aqiyl explains in simple but effective words the African Bio Mineral Balance, a natural healing method Dr. Sebi created to reverse disease. Aqiyl accurately writes that the African Bio Mineral Balance is a treatment for all races because “the African genome has been determined to be the foundational genome of all Homo sapiens or modern people. The healthy expression of the African genome present in all people is achieved in a specific way . . . and a good way to better understand this process is to better understand how an ecosystem works.”

Alkaline Herbal Medicine has six chapters about herbs and food that readers will find easy to understand and apply to their lives to prevent disease and to eliminate disease already present in the body. There’s even a chapter on how to prepare the herbs Dr. Sebi used to treat disease for more than 40 years. A treasure trove of natural health information.

So far, I found only one instance where I disagree with the book. In Chapter 2, page 25, it says Grade B maple syrup has been removed from Dr. Sebi’s nutrition guide because “Some manufacturers of maple syrup and sugar often use formaldehyde to keep the hole open in the maple tree to extract sap.” Actually, it’s illegal — and has been since the 1980s — to use formaldehyde to keep the tap holes open in maple trees. Maple syrup production receives approval and organic certification when it is guaranteed and proven formaldehyde is not present in maple trees. So, maple products, especially organic maple products, are healthy natural foods to eat.

Other than that one disagreement, I recommend reading Alkaline Herbal Medicine because it’s one of the best ways to know how and why herbalist Dr. Sebi heals people. Alkaline Herbal Medicine: Reverse Disease and Heal the Electric Body is available at Amazon.com. Sojourn to Honduras Sojourn to Healing is also available at Amazon.com.

Dr. Sebi’s legacy of teaching an alkaline approach to food and health continues in these books, and you’ll find one of the best paths to reverse disease and heal our electric body is found within their pages. An open mind while reading them and even a moderate change in diet will help.

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