Dr. Ali’s Pre-East Course Part 11 – Science and Philosophy of Rift Valley Healing


Majid Ali, M.D.

Africa: the Mother of Medicine

The following text is taken from my article entitled The Eastern Track of Medicine: From  East  Africa to  South India—and Beyond” published in 2009 in Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2009 (Feb/March issue).

European and African historians agree that the knowledge of healing traditions traveled north from the Nubian and Egyptian regions to Greece—the “Northern Track” seems an appropriate designation for it—and then to the rest of Europe. I hypothesize that there was also an “Eastern Track”—from east Africa to south India, the Far East, and on to China—of greater significance in the spread of those traditions from the pre-Nubian and Nubian civilizations. The Eastern Track hypothesis offers the tantalizing possibility of integrating the ancient Indian and Chinese advances with the African enlightened philosophy and practice of medicine.

I support the Eastern Track hypothesis by explaining how the earlier African observations about the human conditions (revealed in mythological beliefs), medical thoughts, and therapeutics influenced the evolution of the same in India and China. Specifically, I present a comparative review of available information concerning: (1) the knowledge of the structure and function of the human frame (anatomy, physiology); (2) ideas about the cause of disease (pathology); (3) diet and holism; (4) genetic influences; (5) therapeutic interventions; (6) advances in other lines of inquiry into natural phenomena; and (7) mythology and spiritual beliefs. Before that, below are comments about the Northern Track to provide a context for presenting the Eastern Track hypothesis.

Who Is the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, Imhotep, or…?

Recently, I asked five young doctors on our staff who they considered to be the father of medicine. They all named Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) Later I posed the same question to Bernard White, program director of non-commercial WBAI radio in New York. He named Imhotep (2650 B.C), the chief minister and royal physician to Pharaoh Djoser (2686-2613). This summarizes the prevailing Eurocentric and Afrocentric perspectives on the beginnings of the healing arts and sciences. Below is a revealing excerpt from National Geographic 1:

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