Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who doubles as the minister of Health and Child Care has said the use of traditional herbs including Zumbani to treat COVID-19 should be informed by scientific research.
He made the remarks when the use of Zumbani/Umsuzwane/Lippia Javanica, Moringa and Mufandichimuka herbs to cure COVID-19 has been trendy amongst Zimbabweans.
Speaking during his national update on COVID, Chiwenga said:
“Before I conclude my Press Statement, someone asked me whether traditional medicines such as Mufandichimuka, Moringa, Zumbani and other herbs can be used to treat COVID 19 or substitute drugs for COVID 19?
“Some Traditional Doctors were said to be claiming that their patients recovered after administering herbs. My comment would be that, you might be aware that some modern medicines are actually derived from traditional herbs.
“Yes, it is possible that some traditional medicines can be used to treat COVID 19 however, there is need for scientific researches to be done to ascertain their efficacy.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care actually operationalized the Traditional Medicines Department, which is pre-occupied with researches in this area.”
People are inhaling steam laced with the herb in a practice known as kunatira/kufukira locally. The practice has been so popular that sellers are making bucket-loads of money selling the herb which is now suddenly in short supply.
Zumbani, Mufandichimuka and Moringa are some of the herbs which have been presented as miracle cures although there has been no definitive proof.
In May, last year, the president of the Traditional Medicines Practices Council (TMPC) Friday Chisanyu cautioned against herbalists and traditional healers who were claiming to have herbs that cure COVID-19.
He added that Zumbani is one of the locally known remedies for respiratory diseases as it “works well in opening-up airways and relieves those with shortness of breath.”
Chisanyu added that even after using the herb, people still have to go to the hospital for diagnosis as it has not yet been proven to be a cure for COVID-19.