Murumanyama is also known scientifically as Xeroderris stuhlmannii a name which is not fully accepted worldwide. The tree grows wildly in most parts of Africa including in countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Ssouth Africa and Tanzania among many others. The plant has many uses and in many countries they harvest it as a source of tannin, wood, fibre as well as traditional medicine and food. In this article, I will briefly discuss murumanyama medicinal uses. More general information about identifying the plant is available on the Zimbabwe Flora page.
The common Shona names of murumanyama include muchemavanhu, mudzugu, munwambizi and muriravanhu. Murumanyama in Ndebele is known as umthundulu and in English they know murumanyama as wing pod or wing bean tree.
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Murumanyama medicinal uses
Although having potential toxic effects murumanyama tree has been used in African folkloric medicine for many years. Some communities use the bark of murumanyama tree for the traditional treatment of several conditions that include:
- The traditional use of murumanyama bark as a purgative/ laxative. A purgative drug helps your body get rid of unwanted waste products. This comes from the word purge which means to expel.
- The bark extract remedy can treat coughs, colds as well as rheumatic arthritis.
- Murumanyama bark can also help you treat stomach ache, eye infections, wounds as well as dysentery as per African traditional medicine
According to African traditional medicine the plant roots also contribute to the murumanyama traditional uses. These include:
- The roots act as a vermifuge. That means that they act as a medicine against helmints or what we know as stomach worms which include tap worms and roundworms.
- The decoction of roots is commonly used to treat stomach parasites, elephantiasis and dysmenorrhoea and chest pains
- Murumanyama roots decoction also has medicinal properties against gonorrhoea, syphilis and urinary tract infections.
- You can also apply the roots externally to treat ringworm problems.
- The plant roots can also be pounded and applied externally to heal sores.
Besides the roots and bark of this tree, the leaves also have known medicinal properties in African folkloric medicine. These include the treatment of:
- Stomach problems
- Fever and malaria
Murumanyama medicinal uses in other parts of Africa
- In Ghana a decoction of umthundulu leaves helps in the herbal treatment of malaria and fever.
- In some parts of Togo, the decoction of the roots can treat sexual dysfunction, impotence and other diseases.
- Murumanyama is used in Zimbabwe to treat diabetes mellitus and its related complications. And research shows that it does this by targeting digestive enzymes.
- In Zambia they apply it on the penis as a treatment for impotence.
Potential hazards of murumanyama tree
Like many other African herbs, Zimbabwean herbs, Shona herbs and Ndebele herbs, murumanyama can be toxic to the consumers. The decoction of the roots have violent reactions with the intestines. As a result, taking root decoction of this tree can result in strong emesis and loss of sight.
Some potential side effects of murumanyama herb also include diarrhoea, polyuria, abdominal pain, vomiting and general weakness.
How you can prepare murumanyama herbal medicinal
Most practitioners of traditional medicine sell this herb with the instructions on how to use it. The herbal medicine is usually prepared from the decoctions or infusions of the leaves, roots or bark of the plant. For decoctions, you must boil the plant material for more than five minutes before use. And for infusions you must crush the plant material and soak it in water for about 24 hours before use. Decoction remedies are stronger remedies, and you may need to dilute these herbal remedies before use. And I would like to believe that stronger remedies are also associated with higher toxicity.
Murumanyama medicinal uses. So, does this umthundulu/ murumanyama, wing pod tree has any medicinal uses? The answer is a very big yes! Evidence is available everywhere, be it oral from African traditional medicine practitioners or research. It all shows that murumanyama tree has a wide spread use in traditional medicine. However, the same evidence also shows that the remedies from this tree are potentially toxic. So, you need to be extra careful when dealing with this Shona or Zimbabwean herb.