Stakeholders call for Zumbani research. This comes as some of Manicaland’s biggest institutions are conducting research for the purposes of producing tea and throat lozenges from the plant. Stakeholders have called for local research on the medicinal properties of the fever tea tree, locally known as zumbani.

While the jury is still out on the scientific value of a number of traditional home remedies in fighting Covid-19, the zumbani plant has gained popularity in Africa and beyond owing to its medicinal properties.

While the public has been drinking the herb and using it to steam themselves without any form of dosage, research shows that high doses and prolonged use of the herb can lead to liver damage, with jaundice being the most notable result.

Regardless, Africa University’s College of Health and Agricultural Sciences is in the process of developing throat lozenges made from the plant, while a tea producer is making a zumbani variety.

The university’s principal project investigator, Dr Eltony Mugomeri, said despite its potential in alleviating Covid-19 symptoms, dosage forms were required to promote safe usage, hence the urgent need for research. “This project aims to develop a medicinal cough drop from lippia javanica, also known as zumbani.

“The cough drop prototype was produced at Africa University to test the concept. Besides the oral cough drops, the project also aims to develop a higher dosage form that can be dissolved in hot water for steaming of the airways,” said Dr Mugomeri.

He said the university will also consider establishing an organic garden for the herb for sustainable manufacturing of the product.

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