Ancient Secrets of the Maldives: Moonlit Healing with Dhivehi Beys

For centuries, beneath the watchful gaze of the Maldivian moon, a unique healing tradition thrived. Dhivehi Beys, the islands’ indigenous medicine, wasn’t just about plants and herbs; it was a mystical connection between nature and humanity.

This article explores the rich history of Dhivehi Beys, from its Ayurvedic roots to the Islamic influences that shaped its practices. We’ll delve into the legendary healers, like Queen Buraki Ranin, renowned for her miraculous cures, and uncover the secrets behind the moonlit rituals that imbued their remedies with unparalleled potency.

In the heart of the Maldives, a mystical tradition of healing thrived among the islanders, long before the arrival of Western medicine. Until 1931, the concept of modern medical practices was unknown to these remote communities. With limited access to transportation, the islanders had no choice but to rely on the natural resources that surrounded them and the wisdom of their village healers.

The system of medicine in the Maldives, known as Dhivehi beys, has a rich and diverse heritage influenced by various cultures. The earliest settlers from northern India and later Buddhist settlers from Sri Lanka likely introduced Ayurvedic practices, forming the foundation of herbal medicine in the region. With the arrival of travellers from Persia, knowledge of Unani medicine was integrated into the existing practices. The conversion to Islam in the twelfth century further enriched the system with Islamic remedies. The core beliefs and treatments of Dhivehi beys demonstrate resemblances to a variety of medicinal traditions from Arab, Persian, Indian, Chinese, and ancient Greek cultures, underscoring the diverse influences that have contributed to the development of this indigenous medicine.

Maldivian history records legends about miraculous healers from the past such as Buraki Ranin, the 16th century queen of Sultan Mohammed who was said to be able to cure sword wounds overnight with her special remedies. In modern times, a healer known as El-Sheikh El-Hakeem Ahmed Didi from Seenu Atoll is recognised as the founder of Dhivehi beys as it is practiced today.

The islands have long been known for their rich biodiversity and abundant herbal plants that have been used for traditional medicine for generations. However, with the rapid pace of urbanisation and the threat of rising sea levels, many of these valuable plants have been lost. As a result, we now find ourselves having to import herbs from neighbouring countries to meet our needs.

Dhivehi beys, the traditional Maldivian medicine, was deeply rooted in the knowledge passed down through generations. The healers of the islands were revered for their profound understanding of the plants and herbs that flourished in abundance on the islands and in the

surrounding oceans. They possessed a sacred knowledge of which leaves could soothe a fever, which roots could heal a wound or hold the power to cure various ailments.

Among these healers were those known for their exceptional skill in creating therapeutic oils that possessed extraordinary healing properties. They believed in the mystical influence of the moon on the plants they used, understanding that specific lunar phases, such as the full moon, held a profound impact on the potency of their remedies.

During the full moon, these healers would embark on a sacred ritual, gathering ingredients under the moon’s watchful gaze. They believed that the moon’s gravitational pull enhanced the plants’ ability to absorb nutrients and moisture, imbuing their oils with unparalleled strength and vitality. Chanting ancient prayers and invoking the spirits of the plants, they crafted remedies that were truly transformative.

Word of their potent oils spread to islands near and far, attracting people from other islands seeking the healing touch of these revered healers. Their oils were said to cure ailments ranging from minor pains to serious illnesses, earning them a reputation for harnessing the moon’s guidance in their craft.

To this day, the tradition of Maldivian healers using the moon to create powerful therapeutic medicines endures, passed down through generations. The healers continue to honour the moon in their work, recognising its pivotal role in unlocking the true healing power of nature’s gifts.

Sadly, urbanisation and rising sea levels threaten the very plants Dhivehi Beys relies on. Yet, the tradition endures, a testament to the enduring power of nature’s wisdom and the enduring connection between the Maldivian people, the moon, and the healing touch of Dhivehi Beys.

Want to learn more? Explore resources dedicated to preserving Dhivehi Beys or consider visiting the Maldives to experience this unique tradition firsthand. We offer a taste of it here at Hoba Spa.