Friday

Kenyan herbalist queries efficacy of Chinese drugs

By NAFTALI MWAURA

As the application and use of alternative medicine in health care provision gains more prominence in recent times, leading herbal practitioners in Africa are questioning the effectiveness of the much publicised Chinese herbal medicine.

Of late the media has been awash with stories of how more and more people have embraced the Chinese herbs to treat them serious ailments like Malaria,Cancer and even HIV/AIDS.

The Artemisinin drug that originally came from China is now a household name in treating malaria.

Artemisia has been so much popularised that as for now a number of Kenyans are growing the herb in large plantations.

Even as these Chinese herbal drugs hit the market with a thunder, prominent herbalists in Kenya have risen up to inform Kenyans to treat the said concotions with a pinch of salt.

Led by a renowned herbalist who also happens to be the Chairman of East African Herbalists Association, Dr Anthony K. Mwongo, these African herbalists are of the view that Chinese Herbal products have not undergone rigorous research and analysis that can enable us arrive at their efficacy.

They argue that the Chinese are using their economic might to bulldoze their herbal drugs into the market.

The Chinese have also managed to convince our Governments and the entire public that their drugs provide the answer to nagging health crises afflicting the African region.This they have succeeded through well-orchestrated propaganda through the mass media.

According to Dr Mwongo, the Chinese herbal medicine is not viable to Africans and maintains that every herb is unique to the specific region due to a variety of factors like the genetic composition of the particular group of people,

Geographical and Agro-ecological diversities. He also maintains that certain soils with specific mineral composition have a direct bearing on the potency of drugs and therefore it would be foolhardy for Africans to take the Chinese herbs, which can only be effective to the Chinese themselves.

Dr Mwongo dismisses some of the Chinese herbal practice like acupuncture as obsolete.

The acupuncture method of treatment involves inserting needles into the body and joints but has little effect in offering cure.

The needles are just plain with no antibiotic and can therefore not kill microbicides that cause a number of diseases.

This method of treatment is totally archaic and dates back to the 400 BC. African herbal medicine is far more superior according to Dr.Mwongo because it has undergone extensive research in order to unravel its efficacy in treating a variety of diseases.

African herbal medicine eg Mwarubaini has fast gained fame and acceptance in treating tropical diseases like Malaria.

'The efficacy of African herbal medicine is known all over the World”, asserts Dr Mwongo.

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