This is a a wide-ranging 730-page account of traditional Sudanese medicine.I was born in the Sudan of Sudanese Muslim parents in Al-Dueim, on the west bank of the White Nile, central Sudan. I spent my early years in this town, and I went to school there. Since then, I have visited many towns and villages throughout the country. My mother tongue is Arabic, the main language of the country. I had a typical Sudanese childhood. I shared the daily life and activities of the people. My basic norms and values, I dare say, are those of the communities I describe in this book.At the age of four, I joined the khalwa (Quranic School), learned rudimentary Arabic, and memorized the first short chapters of the Holy Book. While I was there, I gained my first insight into the inner circle of religious healers, and at an early age, I saw the maseed (colloquial for mosque) and the Sufi followers.Many families in the Sudan have their patron saints that they consult or invoke in times of stress and need. Al-Mikashfi Abu-Umar of Shikanieba village, central Sudan, is the patron shaikh of our clan. At the age of five, my parents took me to his shrine, half a day's journey from my hometown. There, I saw the local asylum, for the first time, and was excited to see the mentally ill inmates under treatment. I had my first haircut there. My parents, with other worshippers, paid homage to the holy man. An impressive scene remained deeply engraved in my memory.During my childhood, I suffered every summer from attacks of epistaxis; I bled through the left nostril. Hospital treatment did not help. One morning my father decided to try his friend shaikh Awad Rahama, a laundry man in the market place, who was known as a traditional healer as well. He was particularly noted for his effective recipes for nose bleeding. The shaikh welcomed us and asked me to sit. He washed my forehead with water, and on it wrote some Quranic verses in copying pencil. He then gave me a hijab (amulet) to wear. That was the last time I ever had epistaxis!During my early life, I wore a variety of amulets. Some were to combat the evil eye, some to ensure success at school, while others were hafidhas (protectors). Some were paper hijabs, and others were mihaya (erasure of holy verse) that I had to drink or bakhra to burn and fumigate myself with.Several types of treatment and healing séances are vivid in my memory. For example, I saw the bonesetter in action. There was one in every neighbourhood in every village or town. Many were notably skilful and experienced. They used no painkillers while setting a broken bone or manipulating a sprained joint, because they knew none, and, hence, had to work dexterously. I remember Al-faki Al-Zubair and Al-faki Hamoda, the two notable religious healers in our neighbourhood. They also led the congregation prayers, taught the Quran, and stood as masters of ceremonies in weddings. I joined the Quranic School of the first, and had many amulets and bakhras from the second.The therapeutic musical extravaganza of the zar is a popular feature in northern Sudan. The zar is an exclusively women's congregation in which lavish musical ceremonies are performed. Several times, I escaped my parents' notice, and sometimes-even school, to sneak into one of the zar houses. I found the ceremonies fascinating, and still remember them vividly, and with pleasure. The rhythm of the zar music and the heavy fragrances that escape from the ceremony houses are unforgettable.Many Muslim Sudanese towns have religious Sufi fraternities called turuq Sufiyya (Sufi orders). In these turuq, people perform zikr, remembrance chants in praise of the Prophet Muhammad and Sufi saints. The ceremonies range from the highly rhythmic type of the Qadiriyya order, to the quiet melodies of the Burhamiyya. We joined the zikr circles whenever there was a ceremony in the neighbourhood; we danced, chanted, and always waited for that dervish who would dance himself into a trance.