Natural medicines

Tanzanian chemistry professor rallies support for herbal medicines research to curb NCDs – The Citizen

Summary

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha. One of Tanzania’s top chemistry professors is pushing for scientific evidence on the use of herbal medicines as part of the efforts to fight non-communicable diseases.

Professor James Mdoe, a specialist in green chemistry technology says that herbs, if well researched, could complement modern medical interventions against NCDs, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Prof Mdoe was gracing the opening of the third National Non-Communicable Diseases…….

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By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha. One of Tanzania’s top chemistry professors is pushing for scientific evidence on the use of herbal medicines as part of the efforts to fight non-communicable diseases.

Professor James Mdoe, a specialist in green chemistry technology says that herbs, if well researched, could complement modern medical interventions against NCDs, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Prof Mdoe was gracing the opening of the third National Non-Communicable Diseases Scientific Conference in Arusha, where over 500 health stakeholders convened to find solutions to the growing burden of the chronic diseases.

While acknowledging the difficulty of formalizing traditional medicines in Tanzania, Mdoe, the deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, told scientists that modern medicine “cannot work in isolation.”

“I know it will be difficult [to prescribe traditional medicines in hospitals] but we   need such medicines’ ‘, said Prof Mdoe, stressing on the need to learn lessons from the approaches employed by Tanzania and other countries in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previous studies done in Africa have, however, recommended that the use of traditional medicines in tackling NCDs “should not go unsupervised.”

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This was after researchers found that economic challenges associated with NCDs and the social context of many patients on the continent have increased dependence on traditional herbal medicines for NCDs.

A study, titled: Characterizing Herbal Medicine Use for Non-communicable Diseases in Urban South Africa, published in the Journal Hindawi recommended, “Healthcare professionals need to be aware of the potential dualistic use [of herbal medicines] and conventional drugs by patients, as this could significantly influence health outcomes.”

“Efforts should be made to educate patients on the potential for drug/herb interactions” the researchers said in their paper published on October 19, 2015.

According to Professor Mdoe, countries around the world grappled with “unknowns” when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the need to find clinical evidence in the use of traditional medicines became a critical agenda.

“The outbreak of Covid-19 is a wakeup call,” he warned, while proposing multi-pronged research in search for evidence on more efficacious treatments of chronic diseases through alternative natural products such as herbs.

The government recently announced the release of Sh. 1billion to the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), partly to enhance studies on the possible ‘cure’ of chronic disease from herbal medicines.

Kaspar Kaspar Mmuya, the deputy Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office told the conference that the impact of NCDs has been aggravated by high risk behaviours, such as harmful use of alcohol and drug addiction.

Mmuya said Tanzanians can prevent NCDs if they cultivate the habit of routine health check-ups, and adopt healthy lifestyles, such as exercising regularly and feeding on a healthy diet.

The NCDs conference, which is taking place in Arusha alongside …….

Source: https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/tanzania/news/tanzanian-chemistry-professor-rallies-support-for-herbal-medicines-research-to-curb-ncds-3616978