Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Story of Artemisia


For those who are interested in natural medicines, tropical Africa can be a fascinating place. For one, the most horrific diseases prey on impoverished and immune-deficient people. For another, the abundant array of plants yields healing substances for many. This morning old friends of the Enright family (former missionaries from Switzerland) passed through on their return from Congo and held a lesson in raising Artemisia. Gathered around on the verandah were a university professor, shop manager, minister, German missionaries involved in an AIDS project, a variety of Kafakumba employees and the presenters, Rolland and Monica Baumann.

Artemisia is a plant whose leaves yield high levels of a substance found to be effective in the actual treatment of malaria. Drunk regularly in smaller doses in a tea, it has also been found effective against many other illnesses; its immune-boosting properties also help halt the progress of HIV/AIDS. The Baumann’s carefully explained the painstaking process of growing, harvesting, and propagating the plant, as well as how to process, store and make tea from its crushed leaves. Kendra boiled up some water and we all got to taste a sampling of the green brew. It smelled very green and tasted extremely bitter—after all it is medicine. The Baumann’s drink the tea regularly and no longer need sugar to mask its bitterness.

John instructed some of his workers to begin the process of planting a small amount of Artemisia in tiny peat cups, later to be transferred to a test plot. Loamy peat, plenty of natural fertilizers (chicken manure), a close water supply, and sunshine could make this a successful project. Hopes are that Artemisia could be grown along with Aloe Vera to provide these as food supplements both commercially and locally.

For more information about tropical immune boosters and natural medicines (such as Artemisia, Aloe Vera, Amaranth, Morenga, and others) go to http://www.anamed.org/. Anamed--Action for Natural Medicine—is a European group of medical professionals, scientists, humanitarians, and others who are working to develop natural/herbal remedies from common plants, especially for use in the Developing World. You may be interested in the book “Natural Medicine in the Tropics,” by Dr. Hans-Martin Hirt and Dr. Kieth Lindsey, printed by Druckerei Bauer.
Even for this complete novice, the topic was enormously interesting, and I intend to check out the website. When one realizes how malaria and AIDS are simply devastating the people of Africa, it is hopeful to know that some of the plants that surround them could be used also to heal them.


Lorna Jost said...

Dear Gina - Thanks for posting your impressions of life in Africa and your Individual Volunteer experiences! I cannot help but notice that most of your comments are posted in the middle of the night! Is that your time or ours? :-)

Dorothea said...

Artemisia...very interesting indeed. May their efforts help many people build strong immune systems.

ladydigei said...

Artemisia?? WOW!!! That's my name in Greek! Did you know that?? Gina, I am really enjoying your postings. Its almost like we are right there with you. GOD BLESS YOU BOTH!!