South Africa

Residents seek popular traditional herb

Nodumo Makaza

As the flu season approaches many people are stocking up on the traditional herb Artemisia, umhlonyane in isiZulu and lengana in seSotho and seTswana.

  The herb gathered more popularity when Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina launched Covid Organics; a therapy he claimed can cure Covid-19, despite having no valid scientific evidence.

  The African National Healers Association (ANHA) says umhlonyane is one of the most reliable herbs that have been used for centuries without any side effects.

  “It would be advisable and recommended for this herb to be used as a remedy and preventative method against the corona virus,” said Dr Zukiswa Mvoko, an indigenous healer representing ANHA.

  The herb has been commonly used by traditional healers and in households to treat a wide range of ailments, from menstrual cramps and gastro intestinal disorders, to respiratory symptoms and asthma.

  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has welcomed research into traditional medicines for Covid-19, provided they are tested for efficacy and side effects.

  “Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world,” according to a WHO statement.

  Local entrepreneurs are cashing in on umhlonyane herbs and juices from people who are in desperate need of corona virus treatment.

  “I always drink umhlonyane whenever I have flu, I mix it with lemon, garlic and honey. I buy the herbs from the vendors at Faraday taxi rank at R50 a packet,” said Kamo Tshite.

  Lakhe Ndlovu says she has stocked up enough of umhlonyane ready for rainy days.

  “I bought packets of dried umhlonyane and I am going to use it whenever I need it. I don’t want a situation when I need the herbs and there are no longer available at the market,” she said.

  South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, a corona virus survivor, says umhlonyane helped him to fight the corona virus.

  “Traditionally herbs have been used by our people for hundreds of years well before the existence of pharmacists. I used everything from this in the pic (umhlonyane) to what is offered at the pharmacy,” Vavi tweeted. 

  Traditional healers have cautioned people buying umhlonyane from street vendors to be careful of what they are buying as some vendors may take advantage of the demand in the market and sell them items that are not the desired herb.

 Sangoma Gogo Nonkosi Baliso said: “Some people are selling umhlonyane on the streets, and some of them are taking chances and selling carrot leaves to desperate clients. People must be careful when they buy the herbs from the streets. Never allow anyone to take you for a ride; umhlonyane has a strong smell and carrot leaves don’t smell much, and you can tell that this is a carrot leaf. It’s also advisable that those who want to buy must be accompanied by someone who knows umhlonyane.

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