20 November 2012

Zambia: Don't Overlook Herbal Medication - Researcher

A LOCAL researcher in herbal medicines has appealed to Government agencies charged with the responsibility of looking at alternative treatment of ailments such as HIV, TB and malaria not to overlook herbal medication because it can also help in treating such diseases.

Isaac Mumpashya said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that a number of herbal drugs had been developed in Zambia but for them to reach clinical trial stage, it took a lot of time and needed one to spend huge amounts of money.

"Authorities do not seem to be interested in herbal treatment for ailments such as Tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria including hypertension. For one's drug to go to clinical trial, there are too many processes involved while the cost of doing so is on the higher side," Reverend Mumpashya said.

A former freedom fighter, diplomat and politician, Rev Mumpashya said it was sad that the authorities had a negative attitude towards herbal drugs and yet they embraced anything that came from overseas.

"This world is now interdependent rather than dependent on others. Why should we just depend on external things only when our own here can equally be utilised. In fact, this is lowering our local medicines," he said.

Rev Mumpashya has developed two herbal drugs which he produces in capsule form, namely LOSO for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and TOSO for the treatment of TB and other bronchial infections.

The two drugs have so far been tested at the University of Zambia where he spent K2 million on them and was now finding it hard to have them taken for clinical trials.

He said the UNZA tests had positive results as both substances showed evidence of inhibition when examined after two weeks of application of the substance.

"Right now I am working on a BP drug but people who should finalise it are pharmaceutical and medical. I don't know how this can be done because of the attitude. Judgement is passed on the herbal drug without testing it. We all know that herbal medicines work," he said.

He said in Western countries, there was a grant for people involved in medical research of vaccines or treatment and cure, adding that Zambia should also be doing the same if the importance of herbal medicines was to be realised.

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