Weird Healers or Medicine Man

Physician or doctor is a licensed person, who took the oath of curing sick people, attend to every human being’s medical attention and needs. But In the third world countries, many still believe and follow the old Traditional healers or folk healer, herbal medicines and even power of healing from faith healers. The folk healers are unlicensed to perform medical practices and administer proper medication for the ill patient. Some cultures, believed that their medicine man or folk healer may received their “gift of healing” from their ancestors. Healers have different names according to tribe or regions and cultures, and these medicine men are called, witch doctors, Quack Doctors, spiritual or divine healers, herbologist, faith healers and many more names.

Physician, a professional health care provider, giving diagnosis and treatment to injury, diseases, mental and physical condition of a patient. They are also known as the “specialist medical practitioners” or general practitioners. The Physicians or Doctors, practice the Medicine Code of Ethics of showing compassion, consideration, and charitable deeds to their patients.

Doctor and child patient

1) Tribal Doctor or Traditional Healer

Swaziland Tribal Doctors, performing ritual dance

Tribal Doctor in an India Village

Doctor Mariguda, a visiting doctor in an Indian village.

The tribal doctor or traditional healer of a tribe or village are the medicine man and sometimes act as their priest or chief of the tribe. Some tribal doctors still follow the old way of medication or treatment, using herbal plants or animal parts. But there are other doctors, who are educated and became professional doctor of medicine, and just want to serve their poor villagers for humanitarian reasons.

2) Witch Doctors

Witch Doctor of a Native American Village

A witch doctor of native American Tsimshian tribe, first settlers in British Columbia, Canada. The Tsimshian and Gitxsan tribe means “inside the Skeena River” and “People of Skeena River”.

The following are images of witch doctors in africa.

Witch Doctor of Shona, Zimbabwe

Witch Doctors of Lassa, Nigeria

Witch Doctor

3) Kikuyu Tribal Medicine Man or Witch doctor

Kikuyu Tribal Witch Doctor

Kikuyu Tribe circumciser

Kikuyu tribe are Kenya’s ethnic tribes, a Swahili form of Gikuyu proper name, but they prefer to be called “Agikuyu tribe”. The African witch doctors are known as Sangomas, the third world healer using traditional healing practices and rituals. In the modern world of medical practices, witch doctors are known as faith healers, mediums, sorcerers, high priest or folk doctor.

Sangomas of Zululand

Sangomas Greeting each other in a ritual ceremony

Medicine men of Kikuyu Tribe, Kenya (image credit:

4) Traditional Batak Medicine woman, Indonesia

Madame Sitorus Toba Guru Sibaso, Laguboti, Indonesia

A Toba Guru Sibaso of Laguboti, Indonesia, was practicing Batak traditional medicine. She is consulting edition of New Testament instead of a putaha. She is using herbal medicines in performing divination, just like the image above, she soak a kaffir leaf in a bowl of water, to locate missing person or lost items.

9) Year Old Healer of Java, Indonesia

Mohammad Ponari, 9 year-old healer of East Java, Indonesia

The 9 year-old boy, Mohammad Ponari from Balongsari Village, East Java, Indonesia, was struck by lightning bolt, but was left unharmed. A stone on his head was found, thus the villagers believed the young Ponari possessed a healing power. Image above show, Ponari dipping the stone on water believed that the water can heal illness.

5) Dukun, Indonesia and Malaysia

Dukun Traditional Medicine man of Malaysia

Dukun an Indonesian and Malay term for Shaman witchdoctors, traditional medicine man or healers performing as spirit medium, experts on the tribal customs and traditions masters of black magic and sorcery practice. The Shamans in Malaysia is called a Bomoh or Dukun, performing rituals and incantation or known as jampi jampi, meaning cured by black magic. Bomoh practice is accepted by the Muslim faith, because of their prayers for the spirits and harmful practice of black magic.

Mentawai Medicine man, gathering medicinal plants in the rainforest, Siberut Indonesia


6) Susuk Medicine Man/ Woman in Indonesia

Susuk or “charm golden needles other precious stone are implanted into the soft tissue of the face or body, serving as “talisman“. Susuk medicinal practice are supposedly for treatment of minor ailments, joint and body aches, but Susuk became popular as “beauty enhancement, brings good luck to businesses and charm to everyone’s attention. It is a belief, that a dying person, with embedded “foreign objects in the body” should be removed, to avoid “difficulty of dying”.

Mas Ayum, Susuk Healer

The 34 year-old susuk practitioner, Mas Ayum, is famous for her “ancient art of implanting gold needles and precious stones, mercury and herbal plants such as fruits, betel leaves, turmeric plant, pepper, shallots and variant of spices. She is a susuk emas, a practitioner using metals and precious stones and at the same time practiced susuk ayat, implanting herbal plants underneath the patient’s skin. Susuks usually inherited their weird and unusual “power of healing”, from their ancestors.

Awang Mohd Yahya, Susuk Suara Merdu and Susuk Ayat

Awang Mohd Yahya, is a susuk ayat and Susuk Suara merdu (to have a smooth flow of voice), where he implant organic ingredients, underneath the patient’s chin.


Susuk, implanting needles underneath the chin to enhance beauty

7) Albularyo and Hilot ,Traditional Medicine man/Woman, Philippines

Hilot or Manghihilot

Manghihilot or Hilot

The “Hilot” or “mang-hihilot” is a person who perform a massage like therapy such as, sprains, muscle pains and even helping pregnant women in giving birth (they are called traditional komadrona or midwife). Modern doctors don’t believed in these practices, but there are some Filipinos who are below poverty and can not afford a doctor or a professional midwife, while the hilot can be paid by vegetables, or some amount of money the patient could afford to give.


8) Albularyo



The herbalist in the Philippines is called Arbularyo. They used herbal plants, oracion or prayers to ward off “evil spirits”. They perform rituals of mananawas , using tawas or alum, allow it to heat and pour it slowly in a basin of water, and whatever shape is formed, then they diagnosed the patient depending on the shape. Some albularyos or mananawas used candle-droplets, and the same procedure of ritual is done.

Tawas or Alum Crystals (image:

Alum or Tawas crystals is an astringent, crystalline, potassium and sulfate of aluminum used in manufacturing and medicine and even used as body deodorant.

Nuno Sa Punso ( Black Dwarf’s in Ant Hills)

Nuno sa Punso (Old Man on Anthills)

The Nuno sa Punso, or “Ancestors of anthill” or “Old Man of anthill”. is a dwarf-like creature that lives on termite mounds or anthill. The Filipino folks, believed that when you disrespect the “mound” by kicking, throwing garbage, or try to destroy the mound, then the “old man of anthill or nuno sa punso will punished the offender, such as swelling of feet or hands, pain or vomit blood,high fever and even death. Modern doctors don’t believe with this kind of craft, and only albularyos or spiritista could find the right remedy. The albularyos perform the “tawas ritual” and can diagnosed the proper medication applied to the “victim of old man’s wrath”.

9) “Espiritista” or Spirit Mediums

Espiritista (

Mediums of spirit or Spiritista


Spirit of the Glass

The Medium of the spirit or espiritista in the Philippines, is a person with power to communicate with the spirit of a deceased loved ones. Many Filipinos employed mediums to communicate to the spirit of their departed relatives, especially when their loved ones, died in a sudden death such as accident, murder or might be missing for quite sometime.

10) Acupuncturist, Practitioner of healing through piercing of needles

Acupuncturist, Dr Zhongwei Liu, (image:



The Acupuncture, an alternative medicine introduced by Chinese, and treat the patient by inserting and manipulation of needles. Those who believe in acupuncture healing, claimed they are relieved by pains or ailments, prevent diseases. Only professional acupuncturist practice these kind of alternative medicine some causes fatality.

11) Granny Women, Appalachia Healers

Granny Women


Appalachian Mountain Mama

Healers and midwives from Southern Appalachia and the Ozark Mountains, are known as Granny Women which was a practice by Appalachian people in the year 1880s to 1930s. The elderly women in the community are the practitioners or medicine woman in the poor rural areas. The Granny women don’t charge for their services or received payments, and respected for their herbal healing and as midwives of the community.

12) Itako, Blind Healers

Itako Blind Healer in Japan

Itako Blind Healers in Japan


Itako healer, Mount Osore, Japan

Itako blind healers or the Blind Mediums, are usually female Shaman from Northern Japan. Itako’s practice as mediums, communicating with the deceased’ spirits, and can ward off or exorcised evil spirits because of their spiritual powers. The Itako’s undergo a thorough training and initiation and purification in one hundred days, wearing white kimonos. They bathe with cold water in the winter, while practicing chanting during the rituals for three weeks, and are not allowed to have an artificial heat or heaters, before the “ordination ceremony” and undergo a fasting such as not eating grains, salt and meat. They are not allowed to sleep and food intake are limited resulting to blindness. On the day of the ceremony, the Itako trainees wore a bridal-like dress, as a symbol of marrying a god, and they are under a trance or spell with non-stop beating of drums and bells and the Itako master will determine if the trainee is already possessed by the gods. Itako are obliged to learn scriptures.

Kamisama Spirit Mediums and healers, Mount Akakura, Japan

13) Urarina Shaman Healers

Urarina Shaman, Medicine Man


Ayahuasca preparation


Ayahuasca herbal medicine cooking

Peruvian Ayahuasca Medicine

The Ayahuasca traditional medicine, are practiced by Peruvian Amazonia medicine man known as Urarina. This medicine has cardio vascular effects, increased heartbeat rates and diastolic blood pressure, sight and hearing stimulation and fear and hallucination.

Curanderos, Shaman Peruvian Medicine man


Maya priest and Medicine man

14) Voodoo Medicine Man

Hoodoo Voodoo Medicine man and Voodoo priest

Voodoo Bokor

Voodoo Dolls, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Marie Laveau, a Mambo or woman Voodoo practitioner in New Orleans

Voodoo is a reconciliation or fusion of different beliefs in religion or philosophy that originates from the country of Carribean especially the country of Haiti; based upon the West African Vodun beliefs of the Ewe and Fon and their Arawakian beliefs and Catholic Christians. Vodun Medicine woman is called Mambo.

Obeah Vodun Healer


Hoodo Voodoo and Obeah ceremony

15) Qigong Healers


Qigong Practitioner, making Lotus Position in the woods


Qigong practitioners in Hong Kong, China

Qigong practitioners in Hong Kong, China


Qigong practitioner in Thailand


Qigong practitioners in Brazil

Qigong or Chi Kung, or much known as Tai Chi, is the master of acupuncture without using needles. It is the practice of healing and arrange breathing, movement of body, mental awareness, meditation and exercise.

16) Mudang Medicine Woman/Man in Korea



Mudang performs Gut ritual, South Korea

Male Mudang or Baksu, South Korea

Mudang is a type of Shaman, and also called momju, believed that they are possessed by god, a magician, medicine man, mystic, poet and responsible as guide or escort the souls into afterlife. They usually perform Kut ceremony, to expel the evil spirits and spells, of a sick person.

17)African Traditional Healers


Bedik Diviner, Iwol Senegal

The organ of a dead chicken is being examined by a Bedik diviner, and can predict through the color of the organs of the chicken the kind of ailments or spirit that have possessed the patient.

Rhumsiki Crab Sorceror

A man who practiced sorcery is called a Sorceror, he is believed to have magic or a wizard. The sorceror, used fresh-water crabs for his divination and healing ceremony, and interpret the things with the movement of objects caused by the crab. The Africans believed that nobody becomes ill without a reason, they don’t believed that illness come from natural causes, it comes from the gods or spirits.

Dogon Tribe Medicine man, Mali


Hogon of Mali, Spiritual leader and Medicine man

18) Native Indians Medicine Man

Hamatsa ritualist and medicine man

The Kos’kimo Kwakiutle Indian tribe medicine man, spent several days in the woods as their initiation and ritual practice, into a “secret society” of the Kwakiutis, involving cannibalism, sacrifices and believed they possessed a “supernatural powers”.



Hamatsa , Medicine Crow


Navajo Indian tribe, medicine man

The Navajo Indian tribe medicine man or known as hatalii, perform traditional healing process before the patient is brought to the hospitals.

Hatalii, Navajo Medicine man in 1904


Navajo Hatalii, performing healing process or divination in a hospital

George Martin, a Navajo medicine man, perform a healing or divination ceremony at the Banner Page Hospital, Arizona.

19) Shaman Practitioners and Medicine man

Kyzyl Shamanist Doctor in Tuva, Mongolia


Shaman Medicine man exorcising South Moluccan , Buru


Medicine man of Nez Perce (by: George Catlin)


Shaman Altay, Medicine Man/ woman

Shaman is a Shamanic professional, and Shamanism is a study of humanity with their beliefs and practiced of communicating with the spirit world, can perform “healing” by “cleansing and fixing the soul” of the sick person.

20) Quack Doctors (Hoax doctors)

Quack doctor in Chotti Bandari,Patiala, India


Quack doctor in Pakistan


Quack doctor in the Philippines

Quack doctor, is an unlicensed and untrained person, practicing and dispensing “medicine” to their “patients”, pretending as doctors in their areas. They practiced fraud medication and oftentimes put their patients into a risk.

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