Sunday, January 23, 2011

Traditional African Herbal Medicines

Before the event of colonialism, Africa was a continent where the "witch doctors" taken care of all ailments, real or superstious. The African traditional healers went by many names such as: Inyanga and Isangoma in Zulu, Ixwele and Amaquira in Xhosa, Nqaka in Sotho and Toordokter, bossiedokter or kruiedokter in Afrikaans, some of these remedies was also known as "boererate" or "kruierate". 

Although the Inyanga or Sangoma was more spiritually endowed the elders, birth attendants, mediums, herbalist and the ordinary person living in the bush are all carriers of tribal medicine knowledge.
The following herb/plant descriptions are for informational purposes only. We are not advising or prescribing herbs or plants for any specific medical conditions. 
Always check with you health care provider prior to using herbs/plants for medical purposes. Be smart and do your research. Most of the information and herbs listed in the following descriptions have not been verified or proven safe by the FDA. Use at your own risk.
Acacia erioloba
Ear infections can be treated with the dried powder of the pods, The gum can be used for the treatment of gonorrhea and the pulverized burned bark can be used to treat headache 
Acacia hebeclada
Rood can be used for a cure for diarrhoea
Acokanthera oppositifolia
This plant and ALL it's parts are extremely poisonous, it contain several cardiac glycosides of which Acovenoside A is the major compound, with minor constituents which include the well known hunting poison ingredient Ouabain. Acovenoside A is highly toxic and can cause death even with minute doses. A infusion of the root bark are used to treat excessive and irregular
 menstruation. Small doses of the plant are taken orally, and some applied topically for
 the treatment of toothache.Other medical uses include the treatment of colds, anthrax and tapeworm.
Acacia nilotica (Mimosa nilotica) Zulu take bark for cough. Astringent bark used for diarrhea, dysentery, and leprosy.  Other preparations used for coughs, gargle, toothache, ophthalmia, and syphilitic ulcers.
African Vocanga (Vocanga africana) This plant is used by the Diola of Africa against infectious diseases. It has also been reported to been used to treat mental disorders and as an analgesic. Reported to contain voacangine (carbomethoxy-ibogaine), ibogamin, plus many other unidentified alkaloids in the root & trunk bark, leaves and seeds. The total alkaloid fraction is said to be slightly toxic, acting as CNS depressants & hypotensives.
Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) Has been found effective in the treatment of some cases of arthritis. Also aids in liver and gall-bladder complaints. 
Lion tail (Leonotis and Leonuris) are known collectively as lion's tail; ongoing research at the CBGTEP suggests that these little-known herbs may also be useful as a calming tea. In South Africa, the leaves and roots of the plant are also used as a remedy for snake bite and to alleviate the pain of other bites and stings. The decoction of dried leaf or root is used as an external wash to treat itchy skin and eczema. Internally, the tea of the dried leaves is taken to treat headache, bronchitis, high blood pressure and the common cold. The plant contains volatile oils and marrubiin. 
Yohimbe bark (Pausinystalia johimbe) Increases blood flow to the genitals, compressing the veins and prevents the blood from flowing back out. It has been shown to restore erectly function in many cases of impotence. Also used for weight loss and as a poultice for pain. Used as an infusion, decoction, extract and tincture. The bark has been smoked as mild hallucinogen. 
Yohimbe is a tall evergreen forest tree, reaching a height of 90 feet and width of 40 feet, native to southwestern Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and the Congo. Yohimbe bark has traditionally been used in western Africa as a sexual aphrodisiac, especially in male erectile disorders, reportedly stimulating both erection and salivation. No significant human studies on crude yohimbe bark or its whole extract have been conducted. 
Numerous studies, however, have investigated the actions of the isolated constituent yohimbine. One study indicated that lower doses of yohimbine, given to patients who are fasting or eating a low-fat diet, may be effective. There are a few studies showing that yohimbine is effective for some impotence, especially of vascular, diabetic, or psychogenic origins. It can improve the quality and staying power of erections, usually without increasing sexual excitement. Though yohimbe bark is freely available in the United States in health and natural food stores, pharmacies, and by mail order, it should be used with caution. 

1 comment:

  1. well articulated...keep it up...even though colonialism has made things to fall apart