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COVID-19: Kaya elders turn to herbal concoction

By Harrison Kivisu
Friday, May 22nd, 2020

As the world grapples with the search of a CoronaVirus cure, some Kaya elders in Magarini  Kilifi  have turned to herbal concoction to cure infections with similar symptoms of the Covid-19.

Through the use of herbal concoction extracted from indigenous trees, the seasoned elders believe victims of Covid-19 can use it and get relieved of the disease that has ravaged the world.

Endward  Kazungu, a Kaya elder from Kaya Bungale in Magarini says there are indigenous trees as Mhiriri, Mkadama, Mvirandu and Mdungu trees, which are boiled then the patient is made to bend over the steaming basin where he breaths in the hot vapour while covered by a cloth.

The 61 years old, who also doubles as an advisor at the Malindi District Cultural Association (MADCA), says villagers have adopted the concoction extracted from the trees to cure their ailment with similar symptoms to Covid-19.

“Although we have not seen Covid-19 patient take it,we advise those who get infected to try this mode of treatment because we have seen people get cured from their sickness with similar symptoms; like those we are hearing of Covid-19,”said Kazungu.

Kazungu claimed a respiratory disease that broke out at the Coast in 1950s was treated with extracts of trees in Kaya forests. He is now urging Kenyan scientists to turn the study about the medicinal plants they claimed could cure Covid-19.

Emmanuel Munyaya, a Kaya elder from Kilifi and chairman of the MADCA association advises locals to try it since there is no proven medicine. The elders claims they have tried the herbal trees with a disease called ‘Kivuti’ with similar symptoms and it has been proven working.

“We advise our people to try this kind of treatment, because there is no cure for corona .These trees we have used them for very many years and they have worked,” said Munyaya.The trees he says are found deep inside the Kaya Bungale and Gondoma forests in Kilifi.

Tsuma Nzai another elder from Magarini Cultural Center in Magarini said the disease was called kivuti, which in some Bantu languages, refers to herpes simplex and when one was infected developed symptoms like coughing, sneezing, body pains, fever and difficulty in breathing.

“We urge people who get Corona Virus to use this treatment because difficulties in breathing can be removed by the hot vapor which evaporates from the boiled tree leaves.We urge people not to ignore it,” Nzaitold People Daily through a phone interview.

The elders, from Magarini cultural centre, said their treatment can make a breakthrough in the war against Covid-19, which has become a global crisis. 'Kivuti' in some bantu languages like Embu, refers to flu-like herpes simplex,and has similar sympomslike those of Covid 19.

The elder demonstrated the process with the 'patient' sweating profusely after being covered with a large piece of cloth.Kilifi county remains among the counties with Covid-19 infections at the Coastal region.

Kenya medical research institute KEMRI scientists in the country have been burning midnight oil in search of a cure of the disease that has ravaged the world.

The front-runner is a herbal product developed by the Kenya Medical Research Institute to treat herpes simplex, a common viral disease that causes sores on the mouth and genitals.

Sam Kinyanjui,a lead scientist from Kenya Medical research Institute KEMRI,in Kilifi county says  the agency  has been burning late night oil seeking to make different interventions to come up with a vaccine for Covid-19 and the possibility is rife.

“We want to believe that we will develop an intervention and we want to believe that a vaccine will be found soon the testing process itself takes long because we have to ensure that it works and because we will use in human human beings and that takes multiple number of stages,” Kinyanjui.

Kinyanjui,said several interventions are being explored by scientists but declined to prove of any scientific study by Kaya elders of Kilifi.The lead Scientists is hope full that the country will soon get a cure for the virus that has so far affected over 1,000 people in Kenya.

“We are hoping that we will get that vaccine, because there is a very large number of institutions and research groups that are looking for it and I believe there is almost 21experimental vaccines at different stages that are being developed so we hope by throwing so much resources and expertise and interest will help get this vaccine,” added Kinyanjui.

This happens as the Ministry of Health says Zedupex herbal   extract was developed by Kenyan scientists from medicinal trees more than five years ago was being tested. Kemri's Zedupex is being tested as an alternative therapy. 

"Kemri has commenced exploring the efficacy of its in-house product (Zedupex) and other natural products against Covid-19," Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe while he attended a meeting convened by members of Parliament Lats Month.

Zedupex was developed by three scientists at the institute's Natural Products Research and Drug Development Research Programme.

Dr Benjamin Sofa, the director of KEMRI in Kilifi said by May 21, the center had tested at least 8,300 samples translating to daily samples of about 2-500 samples per day, cutting across the coastal region.

There was a mixture of excitement and doubt in Africa when Madagascar announced news that it had produced medical treatment for Covid-19.However, Kenya’s effort to make a breakthrough is yet to b realized.

The herbal Corncortion, Covid-19 Organics was developed by both the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) and National Pharmacology Research Center and officially launched by President Andry Rajoelina.

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