ALTHOUGH herbalists for a long time have suffered a lot of prejudice in communities, herbal remedies are seen as an alternative to the preferred modern remedies.
The influx of fliers distributed by herbalists claiming to cure different ailments such as TB, asthma, and diabetes among other diseases is testimony that traditional remedies are still in demand and the numbers of people that visit them are soaring.
Shops and pharmacies have also extended their services to selling herbs to clients who seem to be at ease getting them from official shops than herbalists who mainly operate from their homes.
Since time immemorial there have been doubts if herbs would indeed cure different ailments but a surge in demand for the herbs believed to be imported from China and India is also a big indication that many people suffering from different ailments are finding solace in herbs.
An agent with a local and leading herbal distribution company who spoke to B-Metro confirmed that herbs were now a lucrative market and that demand was outstripping supply.
a�?The herbs have become a popular source of medication for many. We import them from China and India and people are starting to appreciate that they are indeed an effective form of medication.
a�?As we are speaking herbs which cure TB, diabetes, asthma and blood pressure are out of stock. We are waiting for our next batch from China and we are worried that if it delays we would have problems with our clients,a�? said the agent who preferred anonymity for professional reasons.
The agent said although they were managing to supply herbs to treat TB, diabetes, asthma and blood pressure there seemed to be a dilemma for people suffering from ulcers as they were always frequenting their shops looking for herbs.
Meanwhile, there seems to be hope for those people with ulcers as a local herbalist Joseph Bunaya claims he is supplying herbs to cure ulcers.
If his claims are anything to go by, Bunaya is now a saviour to many people suffering from ulcers like Julius Chikanya who said he tried all possible medical solutions and even went under the knife to get treatment for ulcers, but all efforts were in vain.
a�?It was a long and expensive struggle andA� I almost gave up. The pain was unbearable. I went from one doctor to another to no avail.
a�?I was then referred to Bunaya by a friend. To be frank I thought it wasna��t going to work. I have heard of many people who get duped or even get worse after visiting a herbalist, but out of desperation I decided to give it a try,a�? said Chikanya.
He said after a week of taking the herbs his condition changed for the better, adding that a month later the herbalist recommended him to start eating all the food such as sadza, chilli and beef among others which are not taken by people suffering from ulcers.
When Chikanya went for tests, his results were negative and up to today he still cannot believe it and has even referred many people to Bunaya.
B-Metro caught up with Bunaya at his house in Trenance suburb and he explained how he discovered the herbs.
a�?I was shown the herb for healing ulcers in a dream. This was after my wife had suffered a lot of pain and she is the first person I healed.
a�?The second person was my brother then other family members. Word then spread everywhere and a lot of people have come for help. It is good that not even a single person has complained but they all were happy with results,a�? he said.
He said since he was not a prophet or traditional healer and that he usually demands a report showing that the person has been tested and it has been confirmed that he/she has got ulcers.
a�?After the treatment, the patients are free to go for tests again,a�? said Bunaya.
After throwing light on ulcers Bunaya challenged the Government to launch better awareness for ulcers in the country as well as ensure that herbs are brought into the country for better management of ulcers.
Mpilo hospital clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said people who have ulcers should seek treatment early as the condition was very dangerous.
a�?People with ulcers should seek medication early and get pills. Those who delay to get help end up having their intestines affected and having to go for operation.a�?
Another medical practitioner who spoke on condition of anonymity said that they did not always advise people to use herbs as they were not scientifically proven, but some had resorted to them and had testimonies.
a�?Some patients due to financial constraints resort to herbs and they seem to get positive results,a�? he said.