Today, no one can go anywhere without hearing about the coronavirus, (COVID-19) which continues to broaden and deepen its tough grip and foothold on the mass global consciousness. The virus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 has now reached over 200 countries and probably more. Although some European countries have shown a gradual decline over the past few days, the global pandemic – as confirmed by the World Health Organisation, is continuing to extend across the world, with 4.5 million confirmed cases and 307,000 deaths.
Experts have claimed that a vaccine is likely to become available only by mid-2021. However, Madagascar – the island located in the western Indian Ocean, might have a plant-based cure. Curious? Read on for Coronavirus Cure: Has Madagascar Discovered a Herbal Remedy?
On the 20th of April, Madagascar’s President; Andry Rajoelina, launched COVID-Organics – a remedy made of medicinal plants. It is said to be used as a drink to prevent and cure patients suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
The drink was developed by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) – an institution founded in 1957, in the capital city of Antananarivo by Albert Rakoto Ratsimamamanga. Its main goal is to conduct biochemical research with the intent of treating the population. Today, it has multiple laboratories dedicated to the research and the creation of drugs extracted from medicinal plants throughout the country.
Artemisia: The Main Ingredient
The main composition of COVID-Organics is derived from the plant, artemisia. Artemisia, or Artemisia annua, has long been cultivated and applied in the treatment of malaria on the island of Madagascar.
The plant’s properties were first discovered in 340BC as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Other research has looked into artemisia tea infusions for battling HIV as well as treating Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Although the detailed formula of COVID-Organics is kept secret, it is strongly believed that one of the other plants added to the remedy is Ravintsara. Ravintsara, a plant native to Madagascar, consists of very strong antiviral and anti-infectious properties.
Currently, Madagascar’s cases stand at 186 cases, 101 recoveries, and 0 deaths. The President revealed that in Madagascar, 80% of the population is treated with the medicinal remedy. Trials and tests have been performed and its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms has been shown by curing two patients suffering from the virus.
African Countries are Trying it out
COVID-Organics has been freely distributed to the most vulnerable and can now be purchased commercially at supermarkets. Tanzania’s President has ordered supplies of artemisia from Madagascar, and the President of Congo will also be importing artemisia in addition to adopting the COVID-Organics treatment. Other African countries such as Senegal and Niger, have recently received bottles of the remedy.
Warnings from WHO (World Health Organisation)
Despite all the fanfare, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Madagascar’s national medical academy (ANAMEM), and others have claimed that there is no scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of the remedy. Such organisations say that Africans, whether their therapies originate from traditional practice or not, deserve to use medicaments that have been tested to the same standards as those living in the rest of the world; determining their safety and efficacy through meticulous clinical trials.
Furthermore, President Andry Rajoelina’s chief of staff claimed that the remedy was sold in bottles and herbal teas after having been tested on less than 20 people for a duration of only three weeks. Other medical experts mention that artemisia’s use in successfully battling against malaria doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have the same effect on COVID-19.
Scientific Testing Required
Such a product could potentially harm people’s health, due to the lack of scientific evidence. It could also convey a false feeling of security and distract individuals from the essential prevention mainstays: hand washing and social distancing.
In short, whether COVID-Organics is in fact a cure against coronavirus remains at the moment, subjective. Regardless of that, on the other hand, medicinal plants are always helpful in strengthening the immune system to better fight off of any external parasites trying to invade the body. Perhaps, COVID-Organics could be a successful drink in preventing or supporting as an antidote to the virus. We shall have to wait and see.