WITH modern medicine beyond the reach of many, organic, sustainable, eco-friendly, natural alternative herbal medicines are gaining popularity in Zimbabwe with herbal medicines manufacturer, Musimboti Traditional Science and Technology Institute recording an increase in sales since the start of the year.
Musimboti Traditional Science and Technology Institute managing director Mr Morgan Zimunya said there is a national trend towards using natural health products before their pharmaceutical alternatives. They are seen as cheaper, safer, more natural and healthier.
“Our herbal medicine has always had a good market share but now we have increased our market share and sales. Our new customers say they are now choosing us because our medicine is affordable. Some who used to suffer from the side effects of modern medicine are happy to report that since they turned to us they have not had any side effect problems.
“Our medicine is derived from plant sources such as leaves, barks, roots, seeds, and flowers. Everything we have in store is natural and has therapeutic compounds,” said Mr Zimunya.
Interviews with different herbal medicine vendors in Makokoba and in the central business district confirmed Mr Zimunya’s claim that herbal medicines were now more popular.
Herbs have been a source of safe, effective and low-cost medicines for centuries. They have a rich and extensive historical basis in use and study which can be referenced to ancient medical writings. More importantly, modern research has validated many of the traditional uses ascribed to herbs.
Countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America use traditional medicine to help meet some of their primary health care needs. In Africa, up to 80 percent of the population uses traditional medicine for primary health care. In industrialized countries, adaptations of traditional medicine are termed “complementary” or “alternative”.
Enough Americans had similar interests that, in the early 1990s, Congress established an Office of Alternative Medicine within the National Institutes of Health. Seven years later, that office expanded into the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, with a $50 million budget dedicated to studying just about every treatment that did not involve pharmaceuticals or surgery – traditional systems like Ayurveda and acupuncture along with more esoteric things like homeopathy and energy healing.