What you need to know:
Herbal remedies are one of the oldest forms of medicine known to humanity and their use is growing because of the benefits that they offer.
From tree roots to plant leaves, it is common to find medicinal concoctions made out of these products by traditional herbalists. Many, they say are used to treat and cure illnesses such as cough, diabetes and hypertension among others.
Increasingly, a large proportion of the population also uses these herbal medicines, with a recent study by the World Health Organisation estimating that about 80 per cent of people in the developing world still use herbal medicine to treat various ailments.
According to Mr Kizito Mulwana of SEFA Organics which specialises in extracting herbal medicine from wild plants, the use of medicinal plants in Uganda, like in most developing countries has been wide spread for centuries.
“Many people are continuously flooding our medical centres, after they have tried and failed with the conventional hospitals,” he claims. Mr Mulwana said herbal medicines extracted from a wide range of green plants and tree roots cure a wide range of diseases such as asthma, epilepsy and pneumonia.
According to Mr Muhammad Kasirye, director at Hannah Islamic medical centre, a single plant concoction can treat more than one condition.
“Therefore it is possible for us now to establish standard herbal formulae for the given conditions,” he says.The medicinal plants can be found in various places especially forests which have various plant and tree varieties.
Here are just a few examples and what they do
Lemongrass or Chai Ssubi
Lemongrass can be extracted for its oil and it can be used to treat digestive tract spasms, stomach ache, high blood pressure, convulsions and relieve pain among others. In food and beverages, it can be used as a flavouring ingredient
This hairy herb that is grown in open grasslands, roadsides and pathways, is commonly known as asthma-weed (kasandasanda) and it is used for treating diseases such as bronchitis, cough, asthma, dysentery and respiratory tract inflammations.
Elymus repens or couch grass
It is largely used in treating cough, bronchitis and infections.
Taraxacum officinale Ugandensis
It grows mostly in tropical areas and is locally called abaki or mukuzanumme. It is said to be effective in treating cough, urinary infection and memory loss.
This is a common plant grown in home gardens and used as flavouring for tea. It is said to have several medicinal benefits including treating malaria, ring worms, dog bites and insect bites.
In ancient times, it was used by chinese herbalists to treat fevers and headaches. A sweetly aromatic herb with small, yellow flower heads, sweet wormwood contains the chemical artemisinin and its aerial parts are used by scientists as an agent for making anti-malarial drugs.
While these herbal plants may have medicinal benefits, we don’t take responsibility for those who rely on them as their main source of medicine.