KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on Friday, 22 May 2020, unveiled a clinical laboratory which will be used to conduct research on indigenous plants and herbs in search for a possible cure of the Coronavirus.
The clinical laboratory was unveiled at the at Cedara Agricultural College in Howick near Pietermaritzburg. It will allow for clinical examination indigenous herbs and plants.
Among herbs being processed in the laboratory is Artenisia afra – commonly known as African wormwood or umhlonyane which is used to treat various ailments.
Traditional herbs and plants have used for centuries to treat a huge variety of maladies and are widely respected in African communities for their potential.
“This laboratory will be our arsenal in the fight against Covid-19. This laboratory – which has the capacity to produce a thousand (1000) 300 ml bottles of hand sanitizers per day – has produced sanitisers for use by various departments and for dissemination to various communities,” said Zikalala.
Chemicals used in the Informal Settlements Sanitisation Programme taking place across more than 700 informal settlements in the province have been produced by at this laboratory.
“We are also pleased by the research that the KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development research team is continously conducting research into indigenous plants, vegetables and herbs.
“Some of these indigenous vegetables which are being researched can be used to complement our micronutrient deficiency strategies,” said Zikalala.
“Through this laboratory, indigenous traditional healers and African medicine that is proffered as a possible solution to our Covid-19 crisis will be clinically tested. This will be a critical site or research so that our African scientists or traditional healers can have their experience tested.
“It is also possible that a cure that may eventually become a formula to save the world from Covid-19 will arise from the collaboration between Indigenous health practitioners and those applying western scientific approaches,” said Zikalala.
“By tapping into our indigenous knowledge we want to explore how some of our own indigenous plants and herbs cannot help us fight ailments and diseases as it was the case in the past. I must stress that we are in no way suggesting that these should replace Western medicine and pharmaceutical interventions,” added the Premier.
The laboratory was unveiled on the eve of Africa Day which is commemorated on the 25th of May every year.
Through the African Union Africa crafted Agenda 2063 which is a plan that seeks to achieve an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
“As Africa we want to claim our space in the global arena. We want to come up with African solutions not only for African challenges but also for global challenges.
“This laboratory is one of the instruments that will help us achieve that,” said Zikalala.
Images by : Thuli Dlamini