Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a widespread problem and a serious global issue. But, for the African population, these treatable and easily avoidable infections pose an even bigger threat.
Out of the 37 million people living with HIV, 66% are in the sub-Saharan African region.
Since not many families have the funds to get treatment, more and more are getting infected. Some even transfer their infection to their unborn child.
In recent years, however, rural communities, particularly in South Africa, have taken interest in medicinal plants to cope with the rise in STIs. We’ve compiled all the research on this alternate medicine, and whether or not it can be effective.
Medicinal Plants for Treating STIs in Africa
According to the South African Journal of Botany, there are 33 plant species and 23 combinations of herbal medicine used for treating STIs and other similar infections. Roots are the most popular addition to a soothing concoction.
The sheer number of these plants shows just how important medicinal plants are in rural African communities. The truth is, people prefer plants over conventional medicine. They believe in their therapeutic properties and potent compounds.
In fact, medicinal plants are the go-to choice in Africa for treating all kinds of diseases. From skin conditions to flu-like symptoms. But, when it comes to treating STIs, only a couple of the plants stand out. Some of the more popular options are:
- African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidea)
- The Weeping wattle (Peltophorum africanum),
- Senecio (Senecio serratuloides)
How Effective Is Alternative Medicine for STI Treatment
People use these remedies for treating genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, external, and internal sores, including AIDS symptoms. Based on clinical studies, these plants do contain some therapeutic properties.
They are packed with anti-oxidant and phenolic compounds, which can serve as an effective antiseptic. They have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits that can soothe the symptoms. In the case of a parasitic disease, like STIs, it makes sense to use such types of plants.
However, the full extent of their properties, effects, and mechanisms remain unknown. The anti-fungal compounds can reduce the activity of infectious diseases, but there is not much research on how well will their compounds work.
While the bioactive properties in these plants can come in handy in complementary medicine, they might not be enough to treat these diseases completely. Especially if the infection has already built up a resistance. That’s why proper, more powerful antibiotics will come in handy.
For a long time, people have been relying on medicinal plants to treat a range of different illnesses. But as the environment changes, so do these infections, eventually becoming more difficult to treat. Medicinal plants can be useful, but there is a limit to what they can do. Sometimes it’s best to rely on both natural and conventional sources to treat more serious infections.