These African herbs are highly medicinal and are part of African traditional healthcare system. Try them out
BLACK SEED OIL
The seeds of the annual flowering plant, Nigella Sativa, have been prized for their healing properties since time immemorial.The earliest record of its cultivation and use come from ancient Egypt. Black seed oil, in fact, was found in Egyptian pharoah Tutankhamun’s tomb, dating back to approximately 3,300 years ago. In Arabic cultures, black cumin is known as Habbatul barakah, meaning the “seed of blessing.” Studies have shown that black seed oil is an effective anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory remedy. As a result, it is often used to fight infections and strengthen the immune system, which is suitable for treating headaches, tooth aches, nasal congestion, hair and dry skin and allergies.
A plant oil produced from the kernels of the Argantree (Argania spinosa L.) from Morocco Extraction of the kernels is key to the argan oil production process. In order to extract the kernels, the argan fruits are first dried in the open air and then the fleshy pulp of the fruit is removed. Sometimes the flesh is removed mechanically without the need to dry the fruits. The flesh is usually used as feed for animals. Argan oil is advocated as moisturizing oil, against juvenile acne and flaking of the skin as well as for nourishing the hair. This oil has also medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns . Externally, argan oil is used for hair as a moisturizer as well as for wrinkled or scaly dry skin.
Known popularly as the Miracle tree with its leaves, roots, flowers, seeds as well as the brunches being used for medicinal purposes. It can be found in many parts of Africa including the Konso people in Ethiopia and various parts of West and North Africa. The leaves are dried and powdered to create Moringa Leaf Powder which is classified as a super food as it is rich in Vitamin A which is good for eyes. A rich source of calcium way higher than in milk, naturally combined with magnesium to ensure absorption by the body. Along with potassium, zinc is also found in large quantities in moringa which supports uptake of the high iron content. Moringa helps in balancing thecholesterol levels in the body. All Essential Amino acids are also found in moringa and 12 others. Moringa leaves can be consumed to stimulate metabolism. It is also famous for its anti-bacterial properties, malnutrition relief.
PYGEUM (PRUNUS AFRICANA)
Pygeum is an evergreen found at higher elevations across Africa but native in Cameroon. Its medicinal use dates to the 1700s , in traditional African practice, the bark is made into tea, whereas elsewhere in the world it is found in powders, tinctures and pills. Is is not only used in traditional African medicine, but has developed a following around the world, as a cure for mild-to-moderate benign prostatic hyperplasia respected for its property to increase the ease of urination and reduce inflammation and cholesterol deposits. Pygeum bark contains numerous beneficial constituents, including phytosterols such as beta-sitosterols, which exhibit anti-inflammatory action by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins in the prostate. Other pygeum components in-clude ferulic esters, which reduce levels of prolactin (a hormone that promotes testosterone uptake in the prostate gland), and pentacyclic triterpenes, which inhibit an enzyme involved in inflammation and help reduce edema.
BUCHU (AGATHOSMA BETULINA)
The buchu herb is native to Southern part of Africa and commercially cultivated in the Western Cape for its essential oils. It is a world renowned natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic used to treat high blood pressure, Urinary Tract Infections, arthritis, gout and countless other ailments. Traditional buchu tinctures can be prepared by placing leaves and stalks into brandy. “Buchu vinegar”, prepared by steeping the leaves and stalks in vinegar, also is a traditional remedy used for example in compresses and also taken internally.
DEVIL’S CLAW (HARPAGOPHYTUM PROCUMBENS)
Indigenous to southwest Africa, devil’s claw is a flowering shrub that is named for the tiny hooks covering its fruit. This healing herb has traditionally been used as a remedy for pain and pregnancy complications, as well as skin conditions. Its medicinal properties are confined to the large tuberous roots that are harvested and dried to form powders, tinctures and extracts. It is commonly used to provide relief from a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, diabetes, neuralgia, headaches and menstrual problems.The devil’s claw root contains high levels of harpagoside, a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound that has been proven beneficial for treating inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
UMUBILIZI (VERNONIA AMYGDALINA)
A shrub that grows in the tropical area with other African common names including grawa (Amharic), ewuro (Yoruba), etidot (Ibibio), onugbu (Igbo), ityuna (Tiv), oriwo (Edo), chusar-doki (Hausa), mululuza (Luganda), labwori (Acholi), and olusia (Luo) Ndolé (cameroon). The leaves of this plant when ingested stimulate the digestive system as well as fever reduction. They enhance the immune system and have antioxidants properties. Both the roots and leaves are used in phyto-medicine to treat fever, hiccups, kidney disease and stomach discomfort, among others.