Herbalists submit 300 traditional remedies for Covid-19 for testing

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A herbal plant growing at Native Tree Plantation run by Wise Women Uganda in Gulu. This will be subjected to clinical trial at Gulu University

Herbalists across Uganda have submitted 300 herbal remedies for Covid-19 to the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI).

According to Dr Grace Nambatya of the NRCI, the Institute has been overwhelmed by the submissions following a call they put out to find herbal remedies to Covid-19.

She says although there has been a delay due to funding and lack of machines to run the study and analysis, they will next week release the preliminary findings of the first 100 submissions.

Dr Nambatya says they received more than 300 submissions of herbal remedies and now they are getting to analyse the herbs for possible coronavirus treatment.

“We have about four stages that the remedies have to go through, and this was delayed by lack of machines and finances for the Institute. But now we have got some resources and by next week we shall be releasing the preliminary results,” she said.

Dr Nambatya says when the remedies came, they started running the analysis with the machines they have, but this was not adequate and hence they are making procurement of the machines.

One of the teams that submitted the remedy is the National Council for Traditional Healers and Herbalists Association who yesterday (Wednesday) appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on National Economy which is scrutinising the effects of Covid-19 on business.

According to the team, they believe that their submission to NCRI and the Ministry of Health is a local solution in discovering the potent cure for coronavirus using plant sources.

Mr Kareem Musasizi, the General Secretary of the council, says that they have submitted up to 15 potent therapies to the Institute which they hope can be used for the management or treatment of Covid-19 cases in Uganda.  

He says that these herbs are currently under review and analysis and they are yet to get the feedback on their efficacy.    

Mr Musasizi says that their submission is based on treating the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 like cough, headache and some are related to building immunity.

The development comes at the height of a debate about the use of a herbal remedy from Madagascar that has been taken up by other countries.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is no proof the herb cures Covid-19.

The committee chairperson, Ms Syda Bbumba said the entity needs to detach itself from the myth and be scientific in their approach.

She says that with the advent of Covid-19, they are looking for solutions including cure from the herbalists like what Madagascar has done.

The council also called on government to regulate them by fast-tracking the Traditional and Complementary Medicines Bill, 2019, they also want an efficacy laboratory where their products can be tested and also want it to fund into research among others.

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