Herbal concoctions are not remedies for treating corona virus, medics

todayJuly 24, 2021

By Ronald Orachwun

As the pandemic continues to spread in Uganda, there are increasing messages promoting the use of herbal concoctions for management of COVID-19.
Health experts from Zombo district have warned that the continued use of herbal concoctions or remedies in the treatment of corona virus could lead to serious health complications, following a mad rush for concoctions comprising of; ginger, pepper, lemon fruits, tamarind, garlic and honey, with a view that the mixture can treat the fast spreading disease.
“Most of our community members are being driven by misconceptions on the realities about corona virus. I’m told that on top of pepper, ginger, lemon, or even tamarind, some people are also taking marijuana and caffeine, these are not remedies for treating corona virus. If we don’t halt it, we are going to develop health complications”, says Thomas Otim, the assistant in charge Paidha health center III.
Government through ministry of health has also warned members of the wider community against use of herbal remedies to treating COVID-19, following a surge in cases of the disease.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the senior Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Health said We are calling on citizens to pay attention to government-endorsed, scientifically-verified and approved information. The main guidance around Covid-19 is simple and clear: Wear a mask, wash your hands, Avoid crowds, & social distance as much as possible. We are calling on all Ugandans to live by these preventive measures and to help spread the word”, said Ainebyoona.
The warning comes following a report based on a survey released by Twaweza showing an increase in the number of misconceptions about corona virus in the Uganda.
The survey conducted in Kampala between December 2020 and January this year found that close to half of Kampala residents (46%) believe, falsely, that drinking some combination of herbal remedies including; ginger, lemon, honey and herbs can cure COVID-19.  A significant 31 percent of the residents are hoodwinked to believe that alternative remedies such as steam inhalation can cure the disease.
Herbal remedies or medicines are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances that are developed mostly through a process with minimal or no respect for good clinical practice (GCP).
Currently, no herbal remedy has been validated for use to prevent or treat COVID-19, but Jerry Mungujakisa, a chemistry teacher of Jangokoro seed secondary school in Abanga sub county Zombo district said “Besides drinking a lot of water, regular exercises and most importantly observing SOPs, we could eat foods rich in vitamins. There is no scientific proof that these herbal concoctions can cure COVID-19 but they could also be consumed as normal food supplements.

COVER PHOTO: Scientists are concerned about excessive use of herbal concoctions. Courtesy photo.

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