The South African Covid-19 research team is exploring whether the much talked about local indigenous herb called umhlonyana could be used for coronavirus treatment.
This was announced by minister of higher education Blade Nzimande yesterday during his update on measures that his department has embarked upon in response to Covid-19 pandemic and other developments within both the departments of higher education and science and innovation.
Nzimande said the department of science had been working with the African Medicines Covid-19 Research Team in researching several South African herbs and formulations with documented evidence for treatment of respiratory infections, signs and symptoms.
"One of the herbs our team is working on is Artemisia afra which is called (umhlonyana in Nguni languages). As the department of science and innovation, we have re-assigned R15m from the existing Indigenous Knowledge projects to support Covid-19 interventions and have submitted proposals for additional funding, especially for clinical studies, SMME support cultivation, agro-processing, and job creation," Nzimande said.
He said a team from the national department of science and innovation are looking at umhlonyana as one of the South African herbs that can be used as “immune-modulators” (class of drugs that help to boost or restore normal immune function)
and anti coronavirus therapeutics (treatment).
Umhlonyane which is also known as lengana is used mostly by black traditional healers and is also used in many African households to treat ailments such as asthma and respiratory symptoms.