The Surprising Benefits of West Papua Traditional Medicine & Healing Practices

west papua

West Papua is rich in biodiversity many medicinal plants and herbs thrive in this region.

Local people take advantage of these medicinal plants alongside their healing practices to cure and prevent various diseases.

Traditional Healing Practice in West Papua

The indigenous people of West Papua have been practicing traditional healing for many years ago.

These traditional practices have been passed down through generations and are still widely used and valued in this region.

There are various ways traditional healing practices are performed, from massage techniques, manipulation techniques, and using medicinal plants.

Traditional ceremonies and rituals are sometimes performed in healing practice to invoke spiritual energies that heal people from certain illnesses.

This practice is part of the valuable traditions of West Papua that are still preserved by passing the knowledge through generations.

Plants and Herbs Used for Medicine Practice in West Papua

Forest and indigenous people in West Papua are inseparable since a long time ago. Traditional medicine and healing practices are still performed by using medicinal herbs from the forests.

Research shows that there are more than 90 species of medicinal plants found in Manokwari Regency alone.

Here are some of the many herbs and plants used in traditional Papuan medicine practice.

1. Sambiloto Leaves

Sambiloto is one of several traditional medicines that are use to treat Malaria. The lactones and flavonoids in sambiloto leaves are effective to strengthen the immune system in your body.

To get the benefit of these leaves, the patient can drink the water from boiled sambiloto leaves. The boil water will taste bitter, therefore, honey is usually add to make it sweeter.

2. Betel Nuts

Betel nuts or also known as Pinang Muda has multiple use and benefits. Eating these nuts is considere a sign of love.

It is one of the ingredients in West Papua’s traditional candy along with Areca and Lime. It is also a common snack when the family gathers.

Aside from its use as snacks or candies, betel nuts are also use in traditional West Papuan medicine. It is usually use to treat itching caused by fungi.

3. Mahkota Dewa

Phaleria macrocarp or mahkota dewa is an original plan from West Papua. This medicinal plant is use to treat various diseases including menstrual pain and diabetes.

It is rich in antioxidants such as alkaloids, saponin, tannin, flavonoids, and polyphenols.

The tree is not more than 3 meters and has small red fruits. Before consume, the mahkota dewa must be dried first to reduce the water content and make it has a longer shelf life.

While it has a great health benefit, the fruit should not be eat raw as it may cause serious side effects.

4. Red Fruit West Papua

Last but not least is the red fruit or Pandanus conoideus. It is often call the miracle fruit due to its highly nutritious substance such as thiamin, calcium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, fatty acids, and antioxidants.

Research shows that this fruit can prevent cancer and diabetes.

This fruit is often consume as food, although it is also use as traditional medicine since it can improve stamina and boost immunity.

Red fruit is consume by boiling or roasting it. Meanwhile, the seeds are often use as seasonings and the oil extract is use for coloring.

5. Sampare Leaves

Glochidion sp. or sampare leaves grow well in West Papua and can be easily found in Biak regency. The plants are shrubs 2-3 meters in height and have elongated-oval leaves.

The young leaves are green-brownish, while the old leaves are dark green.

It contains flavonoids, saponin, quinone, tannin, and alkaline. Indigenous people of West Papua use this plant to cure Malaria and fever.

When use as medicine, the leaves are wash clean, and then boil. The patient then can drink the boiled water twice a day until the patient is healthy again from Malaria.

While modern healthcare has been develope in West Papua, many locals still use traditional medicine and healing practices as well.

Taking advantage of natural resources for traditional healing practice is part of West Papuan tradition that has to be preserve.