Medicinal & Indigenous Plants

Following on  from the last two entries, an important aspect of medicinal and indigenous plants has been lack of attention to them – to their role in local diets and health.  This is now changing, and some of the organizations spear heading movements to better record and improve these plants are given at the bottom of this entry.

Selling medicinal plants in an upcountry market

An upcountry plant collected during a training clinic that is boiled and the ‘tea’ is given to children for stomach problems

Recently I had a very sore throat and cough, and was advised to drink the tea make from a particular plant (‘weed’) that was then collected for me upcountry.  It did help to ease the throat pain and reflex coughing.

Another time, driving down to Bujumbura from an upcountry training, I became extremely nauseated and car-sick.  My driver stopped the truck and disappeared into a nearby grove of eucalyptus, returning with a large handful of leaves.  “Here, chew on these!,” he directed me.  I did – and the nausea quickly disappeared.  Asking him about the tree used, he said that not all eucalyptus trees ‘worked,’ but that those useful were easy to identify.

One difficulty with the recent and growing emphasis on indigenous plants and their use is a kind of ‘butterfly collection’ that is not tied to socioeconomic or environmental conditions of folks using them – or where they are found.  However, the organizations listed in the above-referenced blog entry are, on the whole, more holistic in their approaches.

Due to poverty and isolation of the majority of the population here, traditional medicine, including herbal treatments, continue to be very important.  Consequently, I always include some attention to them in my training clinics.

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About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
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