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Shona herbs and their uses in Zimbabwean herbal medicine

The Shona people of Zimbabwe do not belong to one ethnic group. However, besides the language, the Shona people share some of their cultural beliefs. This includes traditional medicinal and herbal practices. Before the turn of the millennia, there were a lot of authentic traditional healers within the Shona. During this period, Shona herbs and their uses in herbal medicine were popular. However, the Shona have lost most of their indigenous medicinal knowledge. I believe that people are reduced against traditional medicine which is viewed as evil and ungodly. This is a common norm among Christians.

Its a pity that the Shona people are losing most of their indigenous knowledge system every day. We can attribute this to the abandonment of traditional beliefs. The adoption of Christianity and the easy availability of modern Western medicine may be the culprits. People now believe that Shona herbs and their uses are medicinally obsolete. However, this is not the case. We can still utilise Shona herbs for good health. Let’s try to preserve Shona herbs and their uses in traditional medicine. For more in-depth information on the plants listed below, use the Zimbabwe Flora Website. This website is a directory of Zimbabwean plants.

Shona herbs and their uses

Below are some of the Shona herbs you can use in traditional remedies.

Shona herbs and their uses in treating respiratory disorder.

Shona herbs and their uses in respiratory problems.
Shona herbs for respiratory problems

Zumbani (Lippia javanica)

Zumbani is a common indigenous herb in Zimbabwe. This traditional herb has many uses in the treatment of diseases. Zumbani leaves and twigs are useful for treating respiratory diseases traditionally. Zumbani can treat coughs, colds, chest pains, asthma and malaria traditionally.
You can prepare the remedy by boiling the zumbani twigs and leaves in water for 5 minutes. This produces a strong herbal remedy called a decoction. This decoction is cooled and drunk to treat colds, coughs, chest pains, malaria and other diseases.
You can also use the zumbani leaves to produce a healthful herbal green tea. Some people believe that zumbani tea soothes your mind. The tea is also rich in beneficial phytonutrients good for your health.

Rufandichimuka/ Mufandichimuka (Mylothamnus flabelifolins)

This Zimbabwean herb has several uses in the treatment of respiratory diseases. In English the mufandichimuka herb is known as the resurrection bush. The leaves and twigs of mufandichimuka can help you treat colds.

Prepare the remedy by boiling the leaves in water to make a decoction. Cool and drink this water.

Mufandichimuka also has many uses in treating diseases traditionally. You can also use it to make a potent and healthful herbal tea. Such herbal teas can bring positive changes to your health. This is due to their rich phytochemical profiles.

Mudziwebwe (Pellea adiantaceae)

Another Shona herb for treating respiratory diseases is mudziwebwe. The leaves and roots of mudziwebwe can help you treat chest plains. You can prepare this remedy by drying the leaves and roots of mudziwebwe. After drying the roots and leaves you then smoke them. You can also burn the dried roots and leaves and inhale the smoke they produce.
The Zimbabwean indigenous herb can also be used as a cough medicine.

Mutsubvu (Vilex payos)

Mutsubvu tree produces a delicious shiny black fruit called tsubvu. This tree is a very popular traditional fruit tree in Zimbabwe. However, few people know of mutsubvu’s uses in treating respiratory diseases.

The leaves of the Shona herb can help treat colds. You can prepare the remedy by drying the leaves. After drying the leaves, you then burn the leaves and inhale their smoke. Some people make cigarettes from the dried leaves and smoke them. This remedy also works as a cough medicine.

Rufuri (Coleochloa setiflora)

Rufuri Shona herbs can help you treat pneumonia problems. The root contains active compounds that work well in treating pneumonia.

To prepare the remedy, you must start by drying the rufuri roots. After drying the roots, grind them into a fine powder. This powder can be drunk as a herbal remedy if you mix it with water. You can also add it to your food and meals like porridge.

Gavakava (Aloe ferox)

Gavakava exist in many forms and types in the Zimbabwean forests. In rural areas they use it to make herbal remedies for livestock. Gavakava can also be used for treating stomach worm infestations and early stages of type 2 diabetes.

Prepare the remedy by getting the gavakava leaves and crushing them. Boil the crushed leaves in water to make a decoction. The decoction produced can help you deal with diabetes and stomach worms.
Its possible to use the gavakava traditional remedy without boiling the crushed leaves.

Mukute (Syzygium cordatum)

This Shona herb has many medicinal uses. Mukute bark can help in the traditional treatment of tuberculosis. The Mukute bark can only be extracted from the plant in a specific way. You have to take the mukute bark from the eastern and western side of the plant. The bark needs to be crushed and mixed with water. You can then boil the mixture and drink the decoction.

Chimbwidi

Chimbwidi roots can help in the treatment of asthma. You can use the roots to make an anti asthmatic herbal remedy. To prepare the remedy, crush the roots and put them in water. The water is left to steep and the resulting herbal solution drunk slowly.

Mugwiti (Darlbergia melanoxylon)

The leaves of mugwiti can help you treat asthma, bronchitis and throat inflammation. First dry the mugwiti leaves and dry them. Then crush the leaves and use them to make a cigarette you can smoke. You can also burn dried leaves and inhale the smoke.

Shona herbs and their uses in treating sex related diseases and problems.
In this section of this article let’s discuss Shona herbs and their uses in treating sexual problems traditionally. This article only describes the traditional uses of traditional herbs in Zimbabwe.

Muvunga/ muzunga (Acacia karoo)

This tree’s root works as an ingredient for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. The muvunga tree root can help in the herbal treatment of gonorrhoea, and syphilis. The root can also be used as an aphrodisiac for men.

The roots have to be cleaned with water first before using them. After cleaning the roots, dry them. After that, crush the dried roots and mix them with 750 ml of water. You can then boil the water to make a decoction. You can then treat the STIs or use the herbal decoction by drinking it 3 times a day.

These are not the only uses of muzunga root. You can also use this Shona herb as a convulsions remedy.

Musimbiti (Androstachys johnsonii)

Many people are not familiar with Shona herbs and their uses. Musimbiti is another traditional herb from Zimbabwe for treating sexual problems.

The bulb of musimbiti has aphrodisiac properties. As a result, the musimbiti root bulbs can treat sexual problems in men. Men can use musimbiti root bulb as an aphrodisiac or sex herb.

To prepare the aphrodisiac take 4 bulbous roots and dry them. Mix the dried bulbs with 250 ml water and boil to make a decoction. You can drink this decoction after 2 days.

Mutunduru (Garciana huillensis)

Mutunduru fruits act as aphrodisiacs when eaten. The fruits are eaten ripe. Truthfully I don’t know how these fruits work but we grew up eating them.

Musvosve (Mucaranga capensis)

Musvosve also have aphrodisiac properties in men. In other words musvosve is a sex herb. You must take the roots of musvosve, clean them and then dry them. After drying the roots you then grind them into a powder and add them to 750 ml of water.

You can then boil this mixture for about 5 minutes and drink the resulting decoction. You can also add this powder to your porridge as an aphrodisiac.

Mupepe (Camiphora malorthii)

This herb is among the Shona herbs for treating dropsy. The roots of mupepe have the healing properties. To use the herb one must crush the roots and mix them with water. They must then boil the mixture and drink the resulting decoction 3 times a day.

Mutamba (Strychnos spinosa)

With mutamba the fruits are the ones to make the Shona herb with different uses. The fruits of mutamba can help you treat the sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrheoa and genital warts. The herb is made from unripe fruits which you must break and mix with water before boiling. After boiling you allow the infusion to cool before applying it to your genital areas.

Munhiti (Spirostachys africana)

Munhiti tree roots can help you make a herb for treating venereal diseases. To use the roots, you must first dry and mix them with porridge. You then eat this porridge as your herbal remedy for different venereal diseases.

This concludes the section on Shona herbs and their uses in treating sexual problems.

Zimbabwe indigenous herbs for diseases that are specific to women.

This section provides information on Shona herbs and their uses to treat diseases that are specific to women. The Shona people of Zimbabwe used many herbs for treating diseases that are specific to women.

Ruredzo (Dicerocaryum zanguebarium)

Many Shona people use the whole of ruredzo in herbal remedies for women. They use ruredzo to dilate the birth canal in females. This assist pregnant women in giving birth. In other words the ruredzo Shona herb help in easing the birth process.

To use the herb, you must first crush the plant and add it to a bowel or dish with water. You then must stir the mixture until enough form is produced. This form is taken on the hand and inserted into the vagina. The hand is then turned into a fist and gently pulled out of the vagina. This exercise has to be repeated for several days.
Therefore, Shona herbs and their uses play an important part in traditional remedies for aiding birth.

Saramhanda (Sause vieral)

The roots of saramhanda are also used to dilate the birth canal in females. Not much information is written on this Shona herb. However, it seems like another herb that women can use to aid the birth process.
To use the herb, you must first peel the roots and cut them to pieces. You must then put the roots into a 2 litre water container and boil the mixture. The boiled decoction becomes your herbal remedy.

Mutunduru (Garciana huillensis)

The bark of the plant is used to reduce the size of the birth canal. You must remove the bark from the eastern and western sides of the trunk. The bark is then crushed and put into water. The mixture can then be boiled and the decoction is the remedy is drunk. The user must drink this remedy for 2 weeks.

Mugan’acha (Lannea discolor)

Shona women use this herb to reduce the duration of menstrual flow. The bark of the plant acts as the source of the herb. First remove the bark from the Eastern and Western sides of the tree trunk. Crush these and put them in water . You then boil this mixture and make a decoction. You must take this decoction as a herbal remedy for 2 weeks.

Muvonde/ muwonde (Fiscus fur)

This herb is for lactating mothers because it is used to improve milk yield. A pair of shallow incisions is made on the breast with a new razor blade. On these incisions you then rub the whitish juice produced by the muwonde fruit

Chirovadunguru

Chirovadunguru roots and leaves have healing properties. Shona women use the herb to reduce and prevent miscarriages traditionally. To use this herb, you first dry the roots or leaves and then mix them with water. By boiling this mixture for 5 minutes you can make a decoction tea. This tea is a herbal remedy which you can drink.

Shona herbs for diseases that affect children

Shona herbs and their uses provides local solutions for several health problems. There are several Shona herbs that can help in treating children’s diseases.

Ndeveramumvuri/ni (Adenia gunmifera )

Some Shona families give this herb to their children to drink regularly. They believe that this helps in protecting their children from diseases.

The stems and leaves of this Shona herb can help in preventing kwashiorkor. The leaves can be cooked like a vegetable and eaten. Or the stem is cut and boiled in a large clay pot to make a decoction tea. This tea is then drunk regularly by children to prevent kwashiorkor.

Musambasi/ mutsambatsi (Lannea edulis)

The root of this Shona herb helps in treating several diseases in children. This includes bilharzia, diarrhoea and gonorrhoea.

You can prepare the remedy by cleaning the roots, crushing them and putting them in a cup of water. You leave the water to steep for sometime. After that give the mixture to children to drink.

Nhundurwa (Salous delagoense)

Like many herbs the nhundurwa fruit is nothing much. Its just a yellow, bitter and small round fruit. This fruit has many medicinal uses. In children, you can use the fruit to treat scabis. You start by crushing the yellow fruit and putting it in a dish of water. The water must stand for some time. You then use this water to bath the child.

I remember talking to one herbal healer. He told me that taking the root of this plant is useful for asthmatics. They said if you chew the root during the an attack, it will thicken your mucus.

Conclusion on Shona herbs

Shona herbs should be preserved and protected. Most people have abandoned these useful herbs because they believe they are evil. I believe that foreign religions and modernisation have prejudiced Africans against traditional medicine. As a result, we have lost critical traditional knowledge on Shona herbs and their uses. We therefore need to preserve and share what little knowledge we have left.

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