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Humans

Alternative medicine in Zimbabwe

July 20th, 2016
in:Humans
by:Rosemary Musvipwa
located in:Zimbabwe
tags:alternative medication, Ceragem, The Forever Living (FLP), UCDavis Medical Center, World Health Organisation alternative medicine, Zimbabwe

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” says one of the most recognisable English proverbs. In the desire to find value in this expression, medical science has endeavoured to certify how worthy this fruit is in warding off illness and disease as an alternative to mainstream medical therapies.

Studies such as that of the UCDavis Medical Center have discovered the many health benefits of consuming apples, which include reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and a range of cancers.

In Zimbabwe, there is a new buzz phrase: ‘alternative medicine’. Everywhere you turn there is an alternative medicine on offer to help people maintain perfect health. As noted by the World Health Organisation alternative medicine refers to “a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.”

The demand for alternative medicine in Zimbabwe has been fuelled by the high cost of medical care at hospitals and surgeries coupled with the economic meltdown. The situation has been compounded by the recent directive given by the Zimbabwe Medical Association which insisted that doctors should stop accepting medical aid from 1st July 2016. This is because medical aid societies owe doctors as much as US$220 million in medical fees. This has pushed citizens to be more aware of the alternative medical therapies available to them.

Thandiwe Dube, who was retrenched in 2015 due to the Supreme Court ruling that allowed companies to fire workers on notice, said that because she no longer had any guaranteed financial income, alternative medicine was her only affordable option.

In Zimbabwe, the lowest monthly medical aid premium for individuals is $30.00, far too expensive and inaccessible to ordinary members of society.

The use of alternative medication is high amongst Zimbabweans with herbal treatments and faith healing as the most common practices. Conventional medicine is the most used, but many people are rapidly taking to complementary or complete forms of alternative healthcare to heal the body’s diseases. Most of the alternative medication providers have had to be registered by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe in order to practice within regulated standards.

Making use of nature’s best health sources

The past few years have seen an increase in the marketing of various natural herbal nutritional supplements and products which have been the source of achieving better health and youthful vigour. Forever Living Products, Green World Products as well as Musimboti African Medicine are just a few of the herbal remedies on offer in the Zimbabwean alternative medicine market.

Trevor Mpofu (58) from Gwanda attested to using the Aloe Vera Juice and experiencing relief from the effects of arthritis.

The Forever Living (FLP) line of herbal products are manufactured by a company based in Arizona in the United States of America and includes Aloe Vera juice, jelly and lotions as well as bee products and other supplements made from fish oils, vitamins and ginseng. The main benefit of the products as noted in the company’s profile is that of helping the body to cleanse the digestive system naturally.

“I used to feel excessive pain in my legs which led me to limp when walking, but when I started drinking 3 ounces of Aloe Vera Juice a day I was back to good shape in less than two weeks. The limping stopped and it hasn’t come back,” said Mpofu.

According to the FLP website “The Aloe Vera juice which has a gel-like texture is a good source of many essential minerals, nutrients and vitamins which are useful in treating digestive problems such as diarrhoea, gastric pain, constipation and bowel syndrome. The colon cleansing properties help address colon ailments and improve colon health by helping to easily eliminate and eject human body waste thereby getting rid of toxins. Cleansing the colon leads to regular bowel movement and ultimately enhancing general health, by boosting metabolism and strengthening the body’s immunity”.

Another alternative medication that is popular amongst Zimbabweans is that of Green World medical products which originate from China. The products are a mixture of capsules, soft gels, tablets, juices and teas. The herbal concoctions are made from herbs such as Ginseng, Pine Pollen and Blueberries. The medication provided by Green world also works in sort of the same way as the Forever Living Products in that there is an emphasis on intestinal cleansing to improve general health by removing toxins.

According to Prince Zulu, one of the distributors of the Green World medical products: “there has been good feedback from customers in terms of taking up the health enhancing products which are usually used as complementary medication after patients consult with their doctor. The medical products that we have on offer are quite affordable ranging between about US$6 – $50 and can be very helpful to those suffering from ailments such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart disorders, tumors, ulcers and many other conditions”.

In terms of the Musimboti African Traditional medicine the products originate from Zimbabwe. This line of products uses mostly home grown herbs and trees such as Moringa, Ginger, Garlic, Intolwane, Umgugudu, Umganu and Isihaqa. The conditions that the traditional medicines are used for include Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Fibroids, Sexual dysfunction, burning and swollen feet, Asthma and prolonged coughing.

Technological alternatives

As technological developments make waves in every sector of society, so have technological alternative health practices come in to ease the pain faced by many due to ill health. Running under the tagline ‘Where a healthy life begins’ Ceragem, a natural healing therapy which originates from South Korea is now a popular alternative in Zimbabwe. Ceragem makes use of the Jade stone which emits Radiant Far Infrared heat to stimulate human tissue and bring healing to different conditions such as Arthritis, back problems, High blood pressure, Stroke and Diabetes but mainly it is used for spine alignment.

According to Emmanuel Chikwene, the Ceragem Bulawayo Branch Manager “What Ceragem is doing is to empower the body to improve the immune system; to improve the nervous system, and to improve metabolism so that the body can actually detect where the problem started and what is causing it. The body will be empowered to correct the cause. When the cause is corrected, the problem will go down slowly until it is finished”.

Chitare Samukange, who was involved in a car accident in Harare and thereafter lost the feeling his legs as blood was no longer circulating well in the veins made use of Ceragem after all else had failed.

“My brother heard about Ceragem so on the 19th of March 2015 we went to the Ceragem centre in Bulawayo. They told me about the Ceragem and how it works, how they do not use pills or medicine but only the Jade stone on their machines. I sat on a Ceralove and later on the Ceragem machine. Initially I felt some pains but I kept on massaging for two weeks and after that the pain was gone till now. I am fit and I can now run and do all my work without pain and I will keep on using Ceragem” narrated Samukange.  

Seeking divine intervention as an alternative to medication

Many people in Zimbabwe have for many years depended on seeking faith healing for various diseases from local prophets especially those belonging to the Apostolic faith sects. In recent times there has been a craze which has led to thousands of people seeking the assistance of the new league of popular Zimbabwean prophets such as Emmanuel Makandiwa and Walter Magaya who perform miraculous healings or administer anointing oil or water on those affected by sickness.

Charles Edward Tembo, gave a testimony of his being healed by faith after suffering for many years. Tembo claimed that he had a skin disease that the conventional medical practitioners and traditional healers had failed to diagnose.

“I could have died if it had not been for the great Prophet of God. Prophet Makandiwa saved my life. He gave me nothing to drink or to apply on the sores but they just dried up after his prayer. Now my skin that was once appalling has been restored,” explained Tembo.

Article written by:
Rosemary Musvipwa
Author
Current Map: Our coverage
Studies such as that of the UCDavis Medical Center have discovered the many health benefits of consuming apples, which include reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and a range of cancers.
The past few years have seen an increase in the marketing of various natural herbal nutritional supplements and products which have been the source of achieving better health and youthful vigour.
Many people in Zimbabwe have for many years depended on seeking faith healing for various diseases from local prophets especially those belonging to the Apostolic faith sects.

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