The popularity of herbal therapy and other alternatives to conventional medicine has risen as more people believe that it promotes healthier living. These herbs are available at many outlets around the country, or you can grow some at home.
According to Dr Caren Hauptfleisch, chairperson of the SA Association of Registered Phytotherapists (SAARP), the increase in the use of herbs can be observed across the world.
“The introduction of modern healthcare as we know it has led to the disappearance and displacement of many indigenous health practices, however scientists worldwide are now looking to plants and herbs to formulate new phytotherapeutic agents (plant-based treatments) to prevent and treat disease,” she told Food For Mzansi’s sister publication, Health For Mzansi.
“South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape’s floristic region, is home to a wide variety of indigenous medicinal plants that have been used safely and effectively since time immemorial. Science and clinical use are confirming their medicinal value.”
According to Hauptfleisch, people all over the world view herbal therapy as a secure means of maintaining good health, and treating and preventing illness, in light of the numerous negative effects of contemporary medications and the rise in antibiotic resistance.
She adds that local herbs that can be used to maintain health, include rooibos, Buchule, honey bush, aloe ferox and devil’s claw.
Using the correct plant for your ailment
Hauptfleisch advises utilising the appropriate plant and dosage for the linked illness when using herbal remedies. Before attempting it at home, it is better to consult a professional if you are unsure.
“Herbs like devil’s claw, that has been used in the treatment of pain associated with arthritic diseases, liver and kidney problems, fever and malaria was nearly made extinct by its export to the overseas market, which led to the commercial farming of the herb,” she adds.
“When herbal medicine is used correctly and in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, it is an effective and safe approach to healthcare. People and animals have relied on herbal medicine for centuries. Like our food, our bodies are designed to respond to herbal medicines.”
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