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16 November 2022: Pax Herbals in Nigeria reviving Indigenous Wisdom for Healing People and Planet

During the sixth Session of our Course Journey on “Unleashing the Power of Homes to Pioneer Planetary Regeneration”, we traveled to Nigeria to meet the astonishing international team of Pax Herbals, an enterprise-in-community pioneering the Revival of Indigenous Knowledge Systems for Holistic Health Practices. Once the founder, Father Anselm Adodo, noticed the neglect of the power of indigenous Wisdom on African Medicine in the early 1990s, he established what is today known as Pax Herbals Clinic and Research Laboratories, located in the St. Benedict Monastery in Ewu, Nigeria. Since its initiation, Pax Herbals grew into one of the largest manufacturers and research establishments of medicinal products in the whole of Africa, with 150 employees as well as over 2000 rural distribution centers. With “Pax” (meaning “Peace”) embedded in the institution's name, the aim and mission of this integral enterprise model involves not only the holistic healing of the local community, but it reaches even further, aspiring to contribute to the regeneration of our planet as a whole. Through the integration of the four dimensions of “Pax Communis” (Learning Community), “Pax Spiritus” (Humanistic Practices), “Pax Scientia” (Academia) and “Pax Economica” (Enterprise and Economics), Pax Herbals fuses the indigenous with the exogenous, the past with the present, to inspire and drive societal transformation as well as planetary regeneration. Pax Herbals has further developed their very own economical approach called “Communitalism”.

John Rice, indigenous elder of the first nation people of Northern America, Ontario, Canada, and knowledge keeper at the DBCSF (Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services) resonates with the input of the Course Session as follows: “The presentation speaks to what's going on here in Canada too. I don't know if the world knows too much about what the Canadian American government did to Indigenous People here, when they removed our cultures and our ways of being, even taking our children from us and putting them into residential schools and adopting more to non-indigenous families. What you are doing there in Pax Herbals is very similar to what we're doing here in Canada, we are just using different terminology for it: We have what's called ‘two-eyed seeing’ here, that when we see the world that we are in now and Indigenous origins of our people, those who will help our youth succeed in our life. I remember earlier on, when we were reviving our culture and our way of being, our original stories and those kinds of things, we started drumming in my community and our teacher said: ‘Now the drumming isn't a religion but it will make the students become better athletes, better teachers, better lawyers’, and principally that's what's happened over the last generation. As we've been using our debts, our language, our ceremonies, our youths are achieving far more. They're going to University and graduating, using this two way of being, two-eyed seeing we call it. (…)”

Immerse in some of the participants’ reflections and insights: The Pax Herbals enterprise-initiative is a magnificent demonstration of mutual reciprocal synergy between nature, community, academia and industry. Thank you Fr Anselm Adodo for spearheading the cycle of reconciliation between humanity, nature and the spiritual world. Pax Herbal demystified a number of misconceptions on the nature and value of indigenous knowledge, especially in relation to the African herbal treasury. Pax Herbal is a true witness of integration of the natural, the scientific and the spiritual dimensions of human life. This is a true and profound home for the regeneration of humanity.

Pax Herbal portrayed some fundamental principles for the regeneration of humanity which in all its dimensions reflect the philosophy of communalism. The call to tap from the surrounding natural resources has been transparent in all the departments of Pax Herbal, beginning with Fr Anselm Adodo’s passion that reached deep into research of indigenous medicinal knowledge. Making use of our available resources raises our communities and neighborhoods to the heightened levels of civilization through local capital resources. Testimonies of the efficacy of returning connection with the root to the origin have been spelt out by Pax Herbal’s community service program. Members of the local community and beyond have used the products of Pax Herbal and have healed; training programs that are being run by Pax Herbal are a powerful means of disseminating indigenous knowledge; and literature that has been written becomes the eternal treasury for the community and humanity at large.

I saw in Pax Herbal a collaborative scheme of community projects, academic research and industrialization. So, home, according to Pax Herbal, is the nexus of physical and spiritual wellbeing for productivity. This project which has spread around Nigeria and the world around has become the turf for integration of praxis, research and commercialization. The driving and the motivational force, and the glue that has propelled this whole collaborative scheme is harmony between humanity, nature and the spiritual world, that is distilled in the term “Pax”. In Pax Herbal I saw a Home for Humanity that highlights the importance of humble beginnings, the value of indigenous knowledge scheme, the natural resources, the role of research in value addition and the production of world class resources in harmony.

In essence I learnt that we are surrounded by valuable natural and spiritual resources that await to enhance us because they are part of us and not apart from us. We need to invest our minds in research to unpack all the value that surrounds us by partnering community projects with academia. Our home is our industry, our environment is full of natural resources that can be turned into world class resources like the herbal products of Pax Herbal that have helped myriads of people around the world. Pax Herbal is an enterprise-in-community that has its first beneficiary in the local community. It is very encouraging to focus first to benefit the local home because homes make the villages and villages make the neighborhoods. Such a growth pattern establishes lasting transformation. There is no contradiction between science and religion neither does nature militate against the supernatural. In Pax Herbal the sleeping giant is awakened.”

by Dr. Julias Togarepi (Zimbabwe), Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Ethics, Religious Studies and Philosophies, The Catholic University of Zimbabwe

“Thanks to the team of ‘Home for Humanity’ and more grace to the ‘Pax Herbals’ Crew. Let's go change the world! The last Course Session was amazing and we look forward to creating a better place in our world.

Communitalism is developing in many human minds now and I hope it develops in many of our societies and eventually in our world, where Europe will feel strongly connected to Africa positively and where America will find connection to Asia indispensably. A world where even without words Peace will truly live and reign side by side with intelligent advancement and the sense of the Sacred in the Universe. That sounds like heaven, right? Smiles. But peace doesn't mean the absence of differences or the absence of misunderstandings or even the absence of war, but it means, in our context here, the primary sanity of the human universal mind with an approach to a tranquil love for everyone and in everything. Peace is the unity found in varieties. Peace is the underlying stillness-in-harmony beneath our idea - flux and continuous changes amongst ourselves. Peace is Pax and Pax is Peace.

Youssef Mahmoud, an intelligent elder in the Breakout Group that I was part of on the 16th of November, 2022, together with Andreas Helfer, observed that ‘the doors to healing open from the inside [of the human person]’ and that if we must reach ourselves positively in our world, then we must learn to communicate well and ‘Communication is about listening, not talking. It is silence with humility [so as to hear the other]’.

So, we are talking about ‘Pax’, that is, about ‘Peace’, which is holistic, encompassing both interior and exterior tranquility. It is the Pax we must stress now in a world brutalized by violence, torn by hidden and open wars. For everywhere we look at we see hatred, violence, societal and social discord; we see racism and stereotyping - and we are all supposed to be One Humanity, in One Planet - World, in Our Same Mother - Home within the Universe. We ourselves are the irony which we do not want to see in the world. But the good news is that we, too, are the healing we wish to find in the world. Which are we going to let loose: our Angels or our Demons? My hope is that we choose to pour out miraculous shades of joyful colors into our world. How? By being good with every activity of goodness, by being sensitive to others and kind in all ramifications.

Finally, to us who are having these Pax-Home for Humanity Meetings, my hope is that we will be a part of a Universal Signature fostering peace and harmony in our ecosystem - our villages, societies and environments."

by Father Nichodemus Ohanebo (Nigeria), Benedictine Monk, Pax Herbals

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