After years’ of over medicating and treating symptoms of illnesses rather than the root of the problem, individuals are beginning to pay more attention to natural and herbal medicine. Today, we interview Delphin Rabehaja, Director of the Department of Phytochemistry and Quality Control at the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA), shares some fascinating insights about medicinal plants of Madagascar including one that can help alleviate symptoms of the coronavirus. Read on for Magical Madagascar: Top 5 Healing Herbs You’ve Never Heard Of!
Good morning Mr. Rabehaja, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
It’s a pleasure to be here with you today.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, I began studying at the faculty of science learning about botany. However, I am more specialized in the domain of medicinal plants – specifically, the chemical-analysis of essential oils here at IMRA.
What made you want to get into this field in the first place?
When I was young, I wanted to become a doctor. But when I realized that Madagascar has plants incomparable to those of other countries, I decided to make the most of what my environment has provided us with and use these natural resources for good – ie., extract medicine!
Fascinating perspective. So what do you do at IMRA exactly?
We work with botanical practitioners to investigate the use of plants, their dosage, and their utilization in order to test and scientifically confirm their effectiveness. Once the product is verified and authorized, our institute sells it to pharmacies in the form of drugs and essential oils.
5 Magical Healing Herbs of Madagascar
According to you, what are the Top 5 healing herbs of Madagascar?
1. Madagascar Periwinkle
The Madagascar Periwinkle is a plant used for diabetes, cancer, and sore throats. It is also used as a cough remedy for easing lung congestion and reducing fluid retention.
Recently, some chemicals found in the plant, vinblastine and vincristine, have been approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) for use in chemotherapy.
Niaouli essential oil has a very broad anti-infectious spectrum, whether against fungi, bacteria, or viruses.
The composition itself already gives the essential oil synergistic expectorant and antiseptic properties, which are favourable during episodes of influenza. Applying Niaouli post-radiation therapy also reduces the intensity of any negative side effects.
The essential oil extracted from Madagascar’s Ravintsara doesn’t contain any safrole, making it the preferred Ravintsara oil across the globe.
A wide range of individuals believe that this plant may alleviate symptoms of the current COVID-19 or coronavirus. It’s an antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and air-disinfectant against airborne flu epidemics.
Katrafay is extracted to form an essential oil used to fight fatigue. It also acts as a painkiller as well as an anti-inflammatory substance.
Recently, Italian researchers have found that the plant contains anti-carcinogenic properties. The oil can be added to baths, or used during massages for arthritis, muscle pain and inflammation.
Saro, locally known as Mandravasarotra, is distilled into an essential oil to fight against bacterial, viral, or dermatological infections.
Saro is used to strengthen immunity, as well as to aid the respiratory system thanks to its mucolytic and expectorant action. A true ally to one’s health, this plant also helps fight against depression, fatigue, and asthenia, due to its relaxing and neurotonic properties.
What are your thoughts on the shift back to nature and plants for therapeutic purposes?
Herbs are of course a less expensive way and a safer means of treatment than conventional (allopathic) medications. Perhaps, it’s time to rediscover ancient virtues and return back to Mother Nature. Madagascar, as a vast and varied ecosystem in itself is living proof that we have the resources and that such a return is possible.
Thank you Mr. Rabehaja for sharing your distinct knowledge and insights with us.