Its time Africa stamps its authority on the use of the continent’s heritage of indigenous medicinal prowess to help solve complexities in medical science.

That is according to a leading Professor at the Discipline of Traditional Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as the continent commemorates Africa Day.

Professor Nceba Gqaleni says Madagascar is researching whether Umhlonyane or the artemisia plant can be used to fight COVID-19.

In this video Africa CDC looking at Madagascar’s organic remedy:


Africa believed to be the cradle of humankind celebrating its birth right with indigenous health practitioners wanting to claim its space globally.

Discipline of Traditional Medicine at UKZN Professor Nceba Gqaleni says:”Africa has to begin to look within itself for solutions, for a long time we have been looking to the west only waiting for the west to bring us those vaccines when we have our nature. Let’s use our science, let’s use the knowledge that our traditional healers  and our communities have to make Africa develop again.”

Africa is home to a host of remedies that treat and cure life-threatening illnesses.

The use of umhlonyane in Madagascar as possible cure for COVID-19 has brought African herbal medicines that have been under the radar for years back to the fore on the international stage.

As world leading medical scientists fix their microscopic eyes on various vaccines, African herbal medicines are back on the radar.

Indigenous health practitioners say African people’s lives have always encompassed all aspects of life.

Traditional medicines including uMhlonyane have been in use long before the arrival of whites on the continent.

But they say these have been marginalised.

Herbalist Gladys Hlophe says: “Let people use our traditional medicines, no one must disregard them and chose the western medicines while we have our own. Our ancestors used the very same herbs that we are using, they didn’t attend doctors who would inject them but they survived.”

Professor Gqaleni says African governments have a duty to make  traditional medicines part of health care systems.

“We are hoping that they would follow the guidelines of who that South Africa subscribe to, the African Union equally has a position on this and we are hoping that our South African government will honour those commitments and put systems in place to ensure this happens. Remember when you’re talking about universal health plan it should be every health player has a space to ensure that the health of the nation is covered and taken care of by everyone.”

Regarding the use of Umhlonyane in the fight against COVID-19, Professor Gqaleni says the plant found in South Africa is not similar to the one found Madagascar.

He has cautioned that their chemicals may differ and may have different functions.

He explains the benefits of the South African plant.

“This one is largely used for cold, flue and people can either steam with it, and it clears the blocked nose, and some can drink it. But we appreciate what is done in Madagascar. It helps us in terms of saying or there’s something promising here that can be further investigated to obtain these clear answers.”

Gqaleni has called on African governments to safeguard and protect traditional medicines.

He is also suggesting the regulation of herbal products in order to protect the public.