Dr. Sebi: The Controversial ‘Herbalist’ Who Claimed He Could Cure Any Disease

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Alfredo Bowman is commonly known as Dr. Sebi. He was born in Honduras. He used to sell a vegan diet or his “cell food”. He had the biggest celebrity clientele.  Moreover, the most controversial claim of Dr. Sebi was that he found the treatment or cure of the disease AIDS. He was known for his veganism and herbal knowledge. He was known to be associated with pseudoscience.

The biggest scandal of Dr. Sebi’s life was that he got arrested for practicing medicine without having a license and for money laundering. The most famous name from his clientele was Michael Jackson and John Travolta. Dr. Sebi’s death in jail is still considered mysterious to date.

Regardless of money laundering allegations and questionable medicinal practices, he was quite famous and still is. His legacy of work is continued by his children on the same tradition. That he started back in 1980.

Who Is Dr. Sebi?

Dr. Sebi’s real name is Alfredo Bowman. He was born in Honduras in 1933. He gained knowledge of herbalism first from his grandmother. She was perceived as a healer that follows traditional practices.

But according to his website, he gained the knowledge of herbalism all by himself in other words he claimed to be self-taught. He heavily invested time to study diverse traditions like Africa, Central America, etc. However, he finally immigrated to the US.

When Dr. Sebi was living in California, his treatment was unsuccessful for different ailments. Like diabetes, obesity, and erectile dysfunction. Hence, he traveled to Mexico. And he came to know Alfredo Cortez, and the connection was established.

Dr. Sebi claims that he was cured of all these ailments at the hands of Alfredo Cortez. Moreover, Dr. Sebi gives due credit to Cortez. It was this experience. That inspired him the most on opening his very own Herbalist practice of his own.

After coming back from California to Honduras, he analyzed and formulated what it would be called. It was decided to be called “Cell Food” owned by Dr. Sebi. The Research Institute namely USHA was Dr. Sebi’s center, it was situated in La Ceiba, in a small town.

But even then its products were sold exclusively in the United States by giving high revenues. These products were the reason that he began to build an enviable celebrity list.

Celebrity Clientele and Pseudoscience practice:

Dr. Sebi earned numerous amounts of dollars from the period of the 1980s to the 1990s. This huge earning was coming from selling his herbal supplements to his celebrity clients or Hollywood stars.

Dr. Sebi instantly made his mark and earned the title of herbalist in the eyes of his Hollywood clients. There was a huge client or customer base. But some of his client’s name includes Lisa Lopes, Eddie Murphy, and Steven Seagal. But as mentioned in the opening of the story, his most famous client was Michael Jackson.

In the year 2004, the time when Michael Jackson was about to go in the trial for the allegations of child abuse, Dr. Sebi claimed that he conducted his herbal treatments on the singer. And he got accomplished to cure Jackson’s addiction to painkillers.

Dr. Sebi also specified the treatment name. That he used during the treatment process. The name of the treatment he claimed was “African Bio-Electric Cell Food Program”. He mentioned in the claim that Jackson’s brother paid him $10000 amount. Thou, it wasn’t the complete amount. So he sued Jackson for $1 million.

In his lawsuit, he claimed that during the six months of treatment. The unpaid bills totaled $ 380000. Moreover, he claimed in the lawsuit that during Jackson’s treatment duration. He does not take on any other client which caused him a huge loss of $600000 revenue. That he would have earned if he takes on other clients as well. So he sued for this additional amount as well.

Jackson’s publicist named Raymone Bain denied Mr. Bowman aka Dr. Sebi’s claims. He cleared that Jackson has always maintained a relationship of friendship with Mr. Bowman. Dr. Sebi never performed any professional services for him in the capacity of an herbalist.

Raymone Bain also denied the claim that he does not help Jackson to be off of painkillers. However, the judge dismissed the case in 2015.

Deep and thorough research was performed by McGill University. According to which Dr. Sebi’s claims had no basis. They discredited or refused his “Bio-electric Cell Food Therapy” calling it pseudoscience. That means all his claims were not scientifically correct or logical.

Some of the claims of Dr. Sebi include that a diet that is important for good health is an “alkaline diet.” But in reality, the alkaline diet is rich in vegetables and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The “science” of it being healthy is highly incorrect and faulty. According to science blood PH cannot be changed or impacted by dietary alterations or changes.

Second, Bowman claimed about the African gene that resonates on high electric vibration. It shows that Dr. Sebi does not know germ theory. Based on this claim Dr. Sebi put the African Bio Mineral Balance as a supplement for sale.

The university contradicted Dr. Sebi’s claims and put forward the fact that Genes never resonate. They are not for tuning. They also informed the public about the fact that there is nothing as African Gene. So all these facts implied how incompetent he was with his herbal practices.

New York Lawsuit of Dr. Sebi:

Credits: New York Amsterdam News

The most controversial claim by Dr. Sebi was that AIDS is not caused by HIV and that he has found the cure for the disease. He claims that herbal remedies are enough in treating it.

This claim becomes the reason for the charges in New York for practicing medicine without possessing any license.  The State of New York was able to move forward. And prosecute Dr. Sebi for his fraudulent practices and actions.

Eventually, Dr. Sebi settled with the state of New York by paying a fine of $900. Moreover, he was also ordered not to make any more claims about his herbal products to avoid future lawsuits against him.

How Did Dr. Sebi Die?

Credits: La Prensa

The case of Money laundering was made at Dr. Sebi in 2016. He was arrested and put to jail. He then died while being in police custody due to health reasons i.e. Pneumonia.

This Money laundering case happened in May 2016. When the authorities found out that he was having a huge amount of $37000. And that amount is unrecorded and not counted. So they transferred him directly to Honduran Jail. Where he waited for the case to get resolved soon, but in June 2016 Dr. Sebi got ill and was rushed to the hospital.

Dr. Sebi died at the age of 82 on August 6, 2016. The reason for death was pneumonia. Many people believe that there is some conspiracy behind his death. They think his death was because of the medical establishments who wanted him to be silent and to keep him away from informing the public about truth or reality about the industry.

Moreover, there is another famous suspicion about Dr. Sebi’s death. A rapper Nipsey Hussle 2019 was shot and killed after a dispute with one of his former friends. The suspicion arises due to the information. That Hussles was working on a documentary about Alfredo Bowman aka Dr. Sebi. Though, there are no such valid or authentic links be found yet. But still, conspiracies are in the making because nobody can forget. That he was working on the documentary of Dr. Sebi. So there is a possibility that’s the reason for him being killed.

But the main point is Dr. Sebi is still popular among people even after his death. His legacy of herbal medicines is continued by one of his 17 children, she works at the Honduran Wellness Centre in Atlanta.