They say, “Health is Wealth”… and all over the world, people prioritize Health and their Well-being. Public Health is also a huge deal and the Pharmaceutical Industries makes Billions of dollars annually from supply of medicines for the management of sickness and disease. There are however some people who have switched to the path to alternative medicine which they say works wonders.
However, the road to holistic wellness and Health is not always an easy one and is sometimes being hampered by some of the challenges which come with urbanization and modern life as well as changes in lifestyle and nutrition.
Added to that is the increased use of Pharmaceutical products and medicines in efforts to manage sickness and medical Conditions and somehow stay healthy. These drugs have largely replaced the olden and robust Natural Health solutions which exist and abounded in the past.
What is the background of Natural or Herbal Health solutions? What is the debate for and against it and how do we return to using healthier and natural options in treating illness? If we can answer these questions, then we will be well on way to unravel to path to holistic Health and wellbeing.
The use of these natural growing plants and herbs in treating sickness and maintaining holistic wellness is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, Herbal medicines are one of the oldest methods used for healing in Africa, even before the advent of Colonial Masters.
This is more so because the continent of Africa has a rich array of vegetation made up of plants which grow naturally and which are used to treat a variety of diseases.
Also, the knowledge on which plants treat specific ailments or which plants are safe to be used for wellness has been orally transmitted by the Elders from one Generation to another.
As a matter of fact, many modern medicines have their origins in natural remedies and some researchers say traditional herbal cures hold clues for more medical advances.
However, urbanization, challenges of modern life and environmental degradation have resulted in a reduction in both the quantity and the quality of nature experiences which have given way to pharmaceutical products and medicines.
BACKGROUND AND ORIGIN OF NATURAL HEALTH SOLUTIONS
Engaging with nature is an important part of many people’s lives, and the health and wellbeing benefits of nature-based activities are becoming increasingly recognised across disciplines from city planning to medicine.
Africa is endowed with over 45,000 plant species – about 25% of the world’s plant genetic resources. More than 5,000 plant species from this enormous African resource are used in traditional medicines.
Interestingly…Plants have directly contributed to the development of some known conventional medicines. For instance, antimalarial treatment artemisinin, pain medication morphine, and cancer chemotherapy taxol are some examples of drugs derived from plants.
Other Plants like Artemisia afra or (African wormwood) is highly popular for its diverse uses in African traditional medicine. It has been used for coughs, colds, influenza and malaria.
Catharanthus roseus – also known as bright eyes, Cape periwinkle, a plant native and endemic to Madagascar is commonly used as a tonic and emetic for the treatment of many health conditions including rheumatism, diabetes, and skin-related and venereal diseases.
Other popular and commonly used herbs in Africa are Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), Buchu (Agathosma betulina), Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox) and Hoodia (Hoodia gordonii)
The list is endless…..
Most medicines grow naturally and can even be grown in a backyard. They are easily accessible to people and this accessibility reduces the amount of money paid at hospitals and for pharmacy bills.
In order to better understand the role of Holistic or nature based interventions for health & wellness, we visited Carib Nutrition Hospital & Wellness Centre in, ikoyi, Victoria Island. It was a real eye-opener as Dr. Parick Ijewere took us round the facility and spoke to us about Natural wellness solutions. Please watch the video for the tour.
ADVANTAGES TO EXPLORING NATURAL OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING YOUR WELL-BEING:
There are certainly many advantages to exploring natural options in order to improve wellbeing.
- For the most they address root causes and try to aim to get to the source of health issues rather than just masking symptoms. This can provide longer-lasting results.
- Natural solutions also boost the body’s natural healing abilities thereby reducing dependency on medication. Natural remedies and therapies tend to be low risk compared to conventional treatments or drugs.
- They reduce environmental toxins. From wholesome food to natural skincare and using organic and natural products, such as herbal based products, can help avoid harmful chemicals that disrupt health.
- They also improve quality of life. Who doesn’t want more energy, better sleep, and less stress? Natural wellness solutions lead to an enhanced sense of well-being
CHALLENGES FACING THE HERBAL AND PLANT BASED TREATMENTS
There are however many challenges with these natural based solutions. Some problems have arisen when consumers did not take correct and measurable doses, taking either too much or too little.
Prescriptions of traditional Herbal medicines are based on knowledge passed from generation to generation which can result in vague doses, prone to overuse or underuse.
Another problem is some people have used traditional or herbal remedies together with prescribed medicines.
MAKING A CASE FOR HERBAL AND NATURAL HEALTH SOLUTIONS
But with all these challenges, many are of the opinion that the documentation of Natural interventions in the form of medicinal uses of African plants and traditional systems is becoming more and more vital.
Especially due to an erosion of valuable traditional knowledge as well as the rapid loss of the natural habitats of some of these plants.
- As such there is need to highlight the importance and potential of medicinal plants from the African biodiversity which have short- as well as long-term potential to be developed as future solutions to treat infectious and chronic conditions.
- Knowledge is key. Scientists need to continue to conduct proper research and study to understand the impact of herbs and plants in the treatment of diseases..
- African countries also need to improve their regulation around traditional medicines and Natural Interventions and incorporate their traditional African medicines into their adverse drug reaction reporting systems.
The skills and treatment of diseases using natural means just might be something we need to highlight again. Because that might well be the key to long and consistent wellbeing.
Do you advocate for natural and plant based treatments or are you against it? Drop me a comment and let me know….
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I am zoe okafor… and I will see you in the next one….