African Wormword (Artemisia Afra), also known as Wilde Als, is a tonic herb that is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antidepressant.
African Wormwood can be used as a tea, body wash, poultice or vapour to treat respiratory ailments like colds, headaches, earache, bronchial complaints, croup, whooping cough, measles, fevers, malaria and sore throat.
Wormwood is one of the most popular and commonly used herbal medicines. It is used to treat various ailments ranging from coughs and colds to malaria and diabetes. Although it is one of the most popular local herbal medicines, only limited scientific research, mainly focusing on the volatile secondary metabolites content, has been conducted on this species.
The many different common or local names describing this plant may be ascribed to the widespread use by different ethnic groups. In the Xhosa language it is known as “Umhlonyane”, the Zulu language “Mhlonyane”, in Sotho “Lanyana”, Tswana “Lengana”, English “African wormwood” and in Afrikaans “Wilde als”. It is usually employed for treating a variety of ailments such as coughs, colds, headaches, chills, dyspepsia, loss of appetite, gastric derangements, colic, croup, whooping-cough, gout, asthma, malaria, diabetes, bladder and kidney disorders, influenza, convulsions, fever, heart inflammation, rheumatism and is also used as a purgative. These uses indicate that African wormwood possesses antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities.
Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande said the South African Government is in the process of implementing multiple interventions including the use of African medicines as immune modulators and anti-coronavirus therapeutics. The Department has 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.
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