Holy Water and Faith Healing: Traditional Health Practices in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity

Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity has a strong influence on the health practices of its followers. Many Ethiopians believe that good health and well-being are blessings from God and that illness and disease are the result of sin or spiritual imbalance.

As a result, prayer, fasting, and the use of holy water are common practices among Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to maintain or restore their health.

Holy water, which is water that has been blessed by a priest, is considered to have healing properties in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. It is used to anoint the sick, to bless homes and places of work, and to purify the body and soul. Many Ethiopians drink holy water as a remedy for various illnesses and believe that it can protect them from evil spirits.

Fasting is another important practice in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. Followers abstain from food and drink for certain periods, such as during Lent or on Wednesdays and Fridays, in order to purify their bodies and souls. Many Ethiopians believe that fasting can help them maintain good health and prevent illness.

In addition to holy water [‘ፀበል’] and fasting, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians may also seek the help of faith healers, who are believed to have the gift of healing through prayer and the laying on of hands.

Faith healing is a deeply ingrained tradition in Ethiopia, and many people believe that it can be effective in treating a wide range of illnesses and conditions.

Modern Health Practices in Ethiopia

While traditional health practices remain an important part of Ethiopian culture and religion, the country has also made significant progress in modern healthcare in recent years. The Ethiopian government has made healthcare a priority, and the country has seen improvements in healthcare access and infrastructure, particularly in urban areas.

However, many challenges still remain. Access to healthcare in rural areas is limited, and resources are often scarce. In addition, traditional beliefs and practices can sometimes conflict with modern medicine, leading to challenges in providing effective healthcare.

Bridging the Gap between Tradition and Modern Medicine

Efforts are underway to integrate traditional practices with modern medicine in Ethiopia. For example, some hospitals and healthcare centers have incorporated traditional practices such as holy water into their treatments. Faith healers have also been integrated into the healthcare system, with some receiving training in basic medical procedures.

The integration of traditional practices into modern healthcare is not without its challenges, however. Some healthcare providers may view traditional practices as unscientific or ineffective, and there can be cultural barriers to adopting new practices. In addition, the limited resources available for healthcare in Ethiopia can make it difficult to provide effective care that incorporates both traditional and modern approaches.


The intersection of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity and health practices highlights the importance of respecting cultural traditions and beliefs in healthcare. While modern medicine has made significant progress in improving healthcare in Ethiopia, traditional practices such as prayer, fasting, and faith healing remain important to many Ethiopians. The integration of traditional practices into modern healthcare can help bridge the gap between tradition and modern medicine and provide more effective healthcare for all Ethiopians.

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Urgent Appeal for Assistance: Severe Drought in the Borena Zone of Ethiopia


  • United Nations
  • World Health Organization
  • International Media organizations
  • World Food Program
  • Ethiopian Red Cross Society
  • Oxfam
  • Save the Children
  • CARE International

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to bring to your attention the severe drought that is currently affecting the Borena zone of Ethiopia, leading to a humanitarian crisis with many people and livestock facing severe food and water shortages.

The drought has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of cattle and severe malnutrition among thousands of people in the affected areas. The situation has been exacerbated by ongoing conflicts and displacement, making it difficult for affected populations to access essential services and humanitarian assistance.

As an international community, we cannot ignore the plight of the people in the Borena zone. It is critical that we come together to provide support and resources to those in need. We are calling on international organizations like the United Nations, World Health Organization, International Media organizations, World Food Program, and other humanitarian organizations to provide urgent assistance to those affected by the drought.

We urge you to take swift action to address the immediate needs of the affected populations, including the provision of food, water, and healthcare services. We also call on you to support long-term solutions that promote sustainable development and build resilience to future droughts.

We believe that the international community has a responsibility to support those who are most vulnerable, especially during times of crisis. We ask that you take immediate action to help alleviate the suffering of the people in the Borena zone of Ethiopia.

Those of you who wish to donate online to help provide relief for victims of drought in Borana, here is a link organized by Habtamu M Abdi.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.



Sweet Depression: The Link Between Sugar Consumption and Mental Health

The consumption of sugar has been increasing globally over the past few decades. While many studies have examined the effects of sugar on physical health, there has been increasing attention given to the link between sugar and mental health, particularly depression.

Research suggests that there is a strong link between the consumption of sugar and depression. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that high intake of sugar was associated with an increased risk of developing depression. The study analyzed the diets of more than 8,000 people and found that those who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar per day had a 23% greater risk of developing depression compared to those who consumed less than 40 grams per day.

One of the ways in which sugar affects mental health is through its impact on the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is a collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract and play a crucial role in maintaining physical and mental health. Research suggests that high sugar intake can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to inflammation and other negative effects on mental health.

In addition to its impact on the gut microbiome, sugar can also affect brain function directly. A study published in the journal Neuroscience found that a high-sugar diet impaired cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to adapt to changing situations.


The study also found that high sugar intake was associated with increased levels of inflammation in the brain, which is a known risk factor for depression.

Another way in which sugar can contribute to depression is through its impact on the body’s stress response. When we consume sugar, our bodies release insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. However, research suggests that high levels of insulin can impair the body’s stress response, leading to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol has been linked to depression and other mental health disorders.

It is important to note that while sugar intake can contribute to depression, it is not the only factor. Depression is a complex condition that is influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. However, reducing sugar intake may be a simple and effective way to support overall mental health.

In conclusion, there is a growing body of evidence linking sugar intake to depression. Research suggests that high sugar intake can disrupt the gut microbiome, impair brain function, and contribute to the body’s stress response, all of which are risk factors for depression. While reducing sugar intake alone may not be enough to prevent or treat depression, it may be a useful tool in supporting overall mental health.


  1. Knuppel, A., Shipley, M. J., Llewellyn, C. H., & Brunner, E. J. (2017). Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study. Scientific reports, 7(1), 6287.
  2. Pistell, P. J., Morrison, C. D., Gupta, S., Knight, A. G., Keller, J. N., Ingram, D. K., & Bruce-Keller, A. J. (2010). Cognitive impairment following high fat diet consumption is associated with brain inflammation. Journal of neuroimmunology, 219(1-2), 25-32.
  3. Wu, X., Schauss, A. G., & Huang, D. (2015). Dietary sugar intake and cognitive aging: a systematic review of observational studies. Ageing research reviews, 21, 55-66.
  4. Greenwood, C. E., & Winocur, G. (2005). High-fat diets, insulin resistance and declining cognitive function. Neurobiology of aging, 26, 42-45.


This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution. For Privacy and related information please visit


Anatomy of gut

The Surprising Link Between Gut Health and Mental Health

Have you ever had a “gut feeling” about something? It turns out that the connection between the gut and the brain goes beyond just intuition. Research has shown that the health of our gut can affect our mental well-being.

The gut and brain are connected by the enteric nervous system, which is sometimes referred to as the “second brain.” This complex system of nerves and neurotransmitters controls the gastrointestinal tract and sends signals to the brain. This means that changes in the gut can affect the brain, and vice versa.

One way that the gut can influence mental health is through the microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in our gut. Studies have shown that an imbalance in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, is linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress.

Researchers have found that certain strains of bacteria can have a positive impact on mental health. For example, a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that supplementing with galacto oligosaccharides, a type of prebiotic that promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, reduced anxiety and depression-like behaviors in mice.

Probiotics, which are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts, have also been found to have a positive effect on mental health. A study published in the journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility found that a strain of probiotic called Lactobacillus casei Shirota reduced symptoms of stress and anxiety in both humans and animals.

In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, dietary changes can also have an impact on the gut-brain connection. A study published in BMC Medicine found that following a Mediterranean-style diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, reduced the risk of depression.

On the other hand, a diet high in sugar has been linked to an increased risk of depression. A study published in Scientific Reports found that participants who consumed more sugar from sweet foods and beverages were more likely to develop common mental disorders.

The gut-brain connection is a complex and evolving field of research, but there is no denying that the health of our gut can impact our mental well-being. By prioritizing gut health through diet and supplementation, we may be able to improve our mental health and overall quality of life.


  1. Foster, J. A., & McVey Neufeld, K. A. (2013). Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends in neurosciences, 36(5), 305-312.
  2. Yang, H., Zhao, X., Tang, S., Huang, H., Zhao, X., Ning, Z., … & Zhang, H. (2018). Galactooligosaccharides alleviate stress-induced anxiety and depression-like behaviors via gut microbiota-mediated pathways. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 73, 7-24.
  3. Messaoudi, M., Lalonde, R., Violle, N., Javelot, H., Desor, D., Nejdi, A., … & Cazaubiel, M. (2011). Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 105(5), 755-764.


This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution. For Privacy and related information please visit

Abune-Mathias-Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Patriarch

The Power of Fasting: How Orthodox Christian Fasting Can Benefit Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

In Orthodox Christian tradition, fasting involves abstaining from certain foods and activities as a means of spiritual discipline and growth.

The purpose of fasting is to help individuals cultivate self-control, discipline, and humility, as well as to detach themselves from the material world and focus on their relationship with God. Fasting is viewed as a way to purify the body and soul, as well as to prepare oneself for prayer and spiritual contemplation.

The Orthodox Church observes a variety of fasts throughout the year, with the most rigorous being the Great Lenten Fast [‘የዐቢይ ጾም’] which lasts for 50 days leading up to Easter. During this time, Orthodox Christians abstain from meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products, as well as from other activities such as entertainment.

Abune Mathias(photo credit:

While fasting is primarily a religious practice, it has been found to have numerous health benefits as well. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of fasting from both scientific and Orthodox Christian perspectives.

Health Benefits of Fasting – Scientific Perspective

  1. Weight Loss: Fasting has been found to be an effective way to lose weight. When you fast, your body begins to burn stored fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss.
  2. Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Fasting has been found to improve insulin sensitivity, which is the ability of your body to use insulin effectively. This can help to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Reduced Inflammation: Fasting has been found to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a key contributor to many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Improved Heart Health: Fasting has been found to improve heart health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides.
  5. Increased Autophagy: Fasting has been found to increase autophagy, which is the process by which your body cleans out damaged cells and generates new ones. This can help to reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases.

Health Benefits of Fasting – Orthodox Christian Perspective

Spiritual Benefits:

Fasting is a spiritual practice that is meant to help Christians grow closer to God. It is a time for prayer and reflection, and for focusing on spiritual matters rather than worldly ones. Matthew 6:16-18 – “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Abune Nathnael (photo credit:


Fasting requires self-control, which is a virtue that is highly valued in the Orthodox Christian tradition. By practicing self-control during fasting, Christians can strengthen this virtue and apply it to other areas of their lives.  

Isaiah 58:6 – “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”


Fasting is also a time for Christians to practice compassion and generosity towards others. By abstaining from food, Christians can save money and resources that can be used to help those in need. Luke 5:33-35 – “And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”


Fasting is a way for Christians to practice humility, by recognizing their own weaknesses and limitations. It is a reminder that humans are not self-sufficient, but rather depend on God for sustenance.  Joel 2:12 – “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:”


Fasting is also a way for Christians to come together as a community. Orthodox Christians often gather for prayer and worship during the fast, and share meals together after the fast is broken. Acts 14:23 – “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”


In conclusion, fasting has numerous health benefits from both a scientific and Orthodox Christian perspective. From a scientific perspective, fasting has been found to promote weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, improved heart health, and increased autophagy. From an Orthodox Christian perspective, fasting has spiritual benefits, promotes self-control, compassion, humility, and community. The Bible encourages fasting as a means to draw closer to God, and numerous verses speak to its importance. While fasting may be difficult for some, it is a practice that can lead to many positive physical and spiritual outcomes.


  1. Tinsley, G. M., & La Bounty, P. M. (2015). Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutrition reviews, 73(10), 661-674.
  2. de Cabo, R., & Mattson, M. P. (2019). Effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 381(26), 2541-2551.
  3. Li, G., Zhang, Y., Qian, Y., Zhang, H., & Guo, Y. (2018). Effects of intermittent fasting on body weight, metabolism, and mental health: a single-blind randomized controlled trial. Nutrition & metabolism, 15(1), 1-9.
  4. Kjeldsen-Kragh, J. (1991). Rheumatoid arthritis treated with fasting and vegetarian diet. British Journal of Rheumatology, 30(1), 62-63.
  5. Anton, S. D., Moehl, K., Donahoo, W. T., Marosi, K., Lee, S. A., Mainous, A. G., … & Mattson, M. P. (2018). Flipping the metabolic switch: understanding and applying the health benefits of fasting. Obesity, 26(2), 254-268.