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Homeopathy as a Means of Conserving Endangered Medicinal Plant Species: A Homeopathic Proving of an Important Herbal Medicine in Southern Africa
05 February 2018 (online)
Background: In Southern Africa, 85% of the population use traditional herbal medicine as their primary healthcare option. Due to a variety of reasons, many species are now critically endangered. The Swaziland Homeopathy Project is investigating the viability of introducing homeopathic use of endangered species as an alternative to traditional herbal use. The first proving in this process is Warburgia salutaris, categorized as endangered (A1acd) on the IUCN Red List. It is a slow growing tree in the wild with limited distribution and low abundance, which makes it vulnerable to human-induced habitat degradation and over-exploitation as a medicinal plant, as it is regarded as a panacea for many symptoms.
Methods: A total of 500 g of plant material from protected trees was made into tincture using GHP HAB4A process. The proving was conducted with 24 provers from Swaziland and Kenya. All provers were given a 6C dose of the remedy and a month later, 7 provers took a 30C. The rationale was to observe the effects of different potencies and maximize the information from the proving.
Results: The proving showed a clear affinity for the treatment of a wide range of symptoms that correlated with the herbal use. These include congestive headaches, eye symptoms, digestive disorders, chest and respiratory problems, skin afflictions, joint and febrile conditions, and menstrual irregularities.
Conclusion: It may be concluded that the homeopathic preparation of Warburgia salutaris can be used in a way similar to traditional herbal use. At a low potency, the remedy could be applied for a large range of symptoms, including digestive, chest, joint, febrile, and skin conditions and a wide range of fungal, bacterial and protozoan infections. The next stage of clinical verification of the proving should give more clarification of its homeopathic affinity and its ability to be used as an alternative to the herbal form.
Keywords: Endangered medicinal plants, conservation, ethnobotanical medicinal plants, provings, Southern Africa, Warburgia salutaris