Alfredo Bowman

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Alfredo Darrington Bowman
Alfredo Darrington Bowman[1]

(1933-11-26)26 November 1933[2]
Ilanga, Honduras[1]
Died6 August 2016(2016-08-06) (aged 82)
Barrio Ingles La Ceiba, Honduras
Cause of deathPneumonia
OccupationHerbalist,[2] witch doctor[2][3][4]
  • Patsy Bowman[5]
  • Maha Bowman

Alfredo Darrington Bowman (26 November 1933 – 6 August 2016),[2] better known as Dr. Sebi, (/sb/)[6] was a Honduran herbalist and self-proclaimed healer.[2] Bowman claimed to cure all disease with herbs and a vegan diet based on various pseudoscience claims. His diet was based on the discredited alkaline diet.[7] His beliefs on the origin of disease denied germ theory and taught that HIV is not the cause of AIDS,[8] and factored in faux-afrocentric[9] claims about the unique genetic characteristics of Africans and their diaspora.[10][11]

Although he used the name Dr. Sebi, Bowman was not a doctor and was considered a quack by actual doctors, attorneys, and consumer protection agencies.[12]


Early years[edit]

Bowman was born in Ilanga, Honduras. He first learned of herbal healing from his grandmother. Bowman moved to the United States[when?] and, according to his literature, was dissatisfied with traditional medical practices in treating his asthma, diabetes, and impotency. After visits to Mexico to see an herbalist,[who?][13] whom Bowman claimed healed him, he began a herbal healing practice in New York.


He began[when?] another practice in Honduras he called the USHA Research Institute in a village called Usha near La Ceiba, Honduras. Bowman took in considerable sums of money, more than $3000 a day,[2] after giving advice to some notable celebrities including Lisa Lopes, Steven Seagal, John Travolta, Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson.[1] After being sued in New York, he relocated to Los Angeles, California.

Arrest and death controversy[edit]

Bowman was arrested for money laundering in March 2016 while attempting to transfer from a commercial flight from the United States to a private plane at the Juan Manuel Gálvez de Roatan Airport while carrying $37,000 in cash. On 28 May 2016, he was arrested again, carrying $50,000, and taken into custody.[1] He was first released pending a court hearing on 6 June 2016, only to be re-arrested by the Public Ministerio on money laundering charges.[1] He was held for several weeks in a Honduran prison as his family was attempting to obtain his release. He subsequently died en route to Hospital D'Antoni on 6 August 2016 due to complications of pneumonia after police officials realized the severity of his condition.[14][15][16] The length of his time in custody and the condition of the jail may have contributed to his death.[14]

Some of his followers question his arrest and death, claiming that there was a conspiracy to silence him because his teachings differed from the medical establishment.[16][14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Bowman considered himself an African, not an "African Honduran", but an African in Honduras.[17] At the time of his death, he had 17 living children.[1] His maternal grandfather was from Haiti.[18]


In 1987, New York City charged him with a criminal charge of practicing medicine without a license. It was recognized that "Dr. Sebi" was not a physician. He was acquitted because jurors claimed the state failed to show he made a medical diagnosis.[19] He was later sued by the New York Attorney General for consumer fraud and prevented from making therapeutic claims for his products.[20]

People of the State of New York v. Ogun Herbal Research Institute[edit]

At a 1993 Congressional hearing, Shirley Stark, who headed the New York Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Section, indicated that a civil suit against Bowman's company had been successful, stating:

A particularly glaring example of unsubstantiated therapeutic claims made for herbal supplements occurred a few years ago when the USHA Herbal Research Institute, run by a self-styled nutritionist calling himself "Dr. Sebi," advertised in the Village Voice and the Amsterdam News that "AIDS HAS BEEN CURED" by USHA and that they also specialize in cures for Leukemia, sickle cell anemia, herpes, lupus and other diseases. For an initial fee of $500 and $80 for each additional visit, patients were told they could be cured of AIDS and other diseases. The "cures" consisted of various herbal products, for each of which USHA made therapeutic claims. Eva Therapeutic Salve, for example, was referred to in USHA's brochure as ... "very effective on major skin problems, in prenatal use, against poor circulation, cancer, cysts, hemorrhoids and arthritis." In fact, these claims were false. Our office filed suit against USHA and entered a consent agreement under which USHA can no longer make therapeutic claims for any of its products[21]

The consent judgement prohibits the Ogun Herbal Research Institute (d/b/a "USHA"), Fig Tree Products Company, Alfredo Bowman, Maa Bowman, and their successors, heirs and assigns from (i) claiming that their products or services could cure, relieve or alter in any way the course of AIDS, herpes, leukemia, sickle cell anemia, lupus, or any other human disease or physical condition, (ii) distributing or advertising such products, and (iii) diagnosing, treating or prescribing for any human disease without a valid state license by the New York State Education Department. A sum of $900 for costs was assessed to the defendants.[22]

Alfredo Bowman and Dr. Sebi LLC v. Michael Jackson[edit]

In 2004, Bowman claims that he was not paid in full for an alleged treatment for Michael Jackson to help him overcome painkiller addiction to Demerol and morphine with his African Bio-Electric Cell Food Therapy, which apparently lasted six months at an Aspen retreat providing Jackson with "special herb compounds" and trained cooks.[23] Bowman claimed that $380,000 was outstanding and sought $600,000 in lost revenue of the deferment of clients and various speaking engagements[24] after Jackson's brother Randy gave him only $10,000.[2][25] Raymone Bain, a publicist of Jackson, acknowledges that Bowman was a friend of Jackson's, but denies that his client received any "professional treatment" or that he had any painkiller addiction.[26] The case was dismissed in 2015 for lack of prosecution.[23][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Polygod, ed. (8 August 2016). "Dr. Sebi Dies In Police Custody In Honduras". The Source. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Alfredo Bowman, celebrity herbalist – obituary". The Telegraph. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Jacko Sees Witch Doctor". Standard.
  4. ^ "Jacko's New 'Doctor': No Scrubs, No Diploma". Fox News.
  5. ^ Patsy Bowman (2017). Holistic Healing. Trinidad & Tobago: Good Morning T&T. Retrieved 18 February 2018 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Delights of the Garden (Restaurant), ed. (1995). Delights of the Garden vegetarian resourcebook, 1996, Washington, DC. Four Winds Press. p. 107. ISBN 9780964128415.
  7. ^ Jarry, Jonathan. ""Dr." Sebi: What Do We Make of this Non-Doctor?". McGill Office for Science and Society. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  8. ^ "[unknown]". First Hand. Vol. 8 no. 5. 1998. p. 69. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  9. ^ Moor-X Bey-El, Israel, ed. (2015). I am Moor We R Moors. p. 56. ISBN 9780993390302.
  10. ^ Rowland, Robert J. (2009). From The Hood To The Holy Land And Back Plus More. p. 71. ISBN 9781462803279.
  11. ^ Barnes, Mo, ed. (7 August 2016). "Famed healer Dr. Sebi dies after suspicious arrest and hospitalization". Rolling Out. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  12. ^ Barrett, Stephen. "A Skeptical Look at the Late "Dr. Sebi"". Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Famed Herbal Healer Dr Sebi 'Dies In Police Custody': The 83-year-old claimed to have a cure for AIDS and cancer along with a long list of other related cures". The Voice. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  14. ^ a b c Barnes, Mo, ed. (7 August 2016). "Famed healer Dr. Sebi dies after suspicious arrest and hospitalization". Rolling Out. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  15. ^ a b EL' Zabar, Kai, ed. (15 August 2016). "No Mainstream Farewell for Dr.Sebi". Chicago Defender. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  16. ^ a b Crockett Jr., Stephen A., ed. (11 August 2016). "5 Mysteries Surrounding the Life and Death of Dr. Sebi". The Root. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Chapter 8 Alfredo Bowman is Dr. Sebi The Healer". Sojourn to Honduras. Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  18. ^ Dr. Sebi (2014). Andy B. (ed.). Conversation With Dr. Sebi, Speaks About Haitians and Haiti. La Cieba, Honduras: YouTube. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  19. ^ Jamison, Harold L (October 1, 1988). "Herbalist found not guilty in 'fake' healing case" (PDF). New York Amsterdam News. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-04-04. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Hearing on Dietary Supplements. Before the House Committee on Government Operations Subcommittee on Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations, July 20, 1993" (PDF). pp. 106-110.
  21. ^ "Statement of Shirley Stark Assistant Attorney General of New York before the House Committee on Government Operations Subcommittee on Human Resources and Intergovernmental Realations on Dietary Supplements" (PDF). p. 108.
  22. ^ "Supreme Court of the State of New York (New York County), Index No. 40396/87 (pg. 1-10), Filed June 28, 1988" (PDF).
  23. ^ a b Barrett, Stephen (M.D.), ed. (16 August 2016). "A Skeptical Look at the Late "Dr. Sebi"". Quack Watch. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Jackson sued by herbalist". The Namibian. 15 October 2004. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Michael Jackson 'sued by herbalist'". Female First. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  26. ^ Ryan, Joal, ed. (13 October 2004). "Michael Sued over Alleged Detox". E! News. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Superior Court of the State of California County of Los Angeles - Southwest Judicial District: Docket No. BC322867 (pg. 3), filed Oct 13, 2004" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 23, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2017.

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