Health And Welfare

CSIR teams up with healers to develop safe traditional medicines

Funded by the Department of Science and Innovation, The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has teamed up with six traditional health practitioners to develop safe and standardised traditional medicines for commercialization.

The project was inspired by the notion that many Africans rely on traditional medicine for healing. It started in 2016 with the aim of making African medicine ready for commercialization, by testing the products for safety, quality and efficacy and to obtain medicinal properties.

“The project is the first step to eliminate false claims by healers and to remove the perception that this type of medicine is unclean and does not work,” said Prince Msomi, one of the participating health practitioners.

Msomi, who has been a traditional health practitioner since 2005 and gained much of his knowledge from his grandfather, is the owner of Prijap, one of the medicines chosen. Prijap is a herbal liquid that has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, boosts the immune system and increases energy levels and appetite.

He added that ever since participated in the programme, his brand, Prijap Biolife Biotechnologies, has grown and now houses four interns who are completing their national diploma in biotechnology

The other products which were tested are Umphetha, an iced tea used for internal ulcers, blood cleansing and immune-boosting; Moshumasekgwa, a tea that treats high blood pressure, diabetes and urinary problems; Lenong, a tissue oil to treat wounds and arthritis; Kgopa, petroleum jelly to treat sores, skin problems and stomach aches; and Areka Ya Makgoma, a herbal sachet that facilitates the healing process of opportunistic infections and improves appetite.

CSIR Senior Researcher, Dr Greg Gordon confirmed that although these products have historically been used by traditional health practitioners, they required improvements.

“To ensure the safety and quality of these products, we came together with the University of Pretoria and used our scientific expertise to identify the active mixtures. We also carried out in-vitro tests to confirm the activity of the ingredients/products and then re-formulated the mixtures in consultation with the traditional health practitioners,” concluded Gordon.

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