HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): The number of coronavirus patients and people using herbal medicines has significantly increased after the outbreak of Covid-19 in Afghanistan, especially in western Herat province, findings of Pajhwok Afghan News show.
There are fewer families in Herat that have not used herbal medicines to treat their coronavirus patients or have not consulted herbalists.
But the question is: Can the use of herbal and traditional medicines be efficacious in treating the coronavirus disease?
Pajhwok’s reporter in Herat City conducted interviews with a large number of citizens, coronavirus patients, herbalists, doctors and health professionals.
It emerged that with the outbreak of the coronavirus in Herat, most residents of the province turned to traditional treatment and the use of herbs.
Bibi Gul, 60, hails from the Farashan neighbourhood of Injil district. Her son contracted the coronavirus in the first wave. The woman treated her son with herbs in 40 days and without taking him to the doctor.
She said: “When my 18-year-old son was diagnosed with the coronavirus, I gave him herbs such as ginger, cumin, cinnamon, teucrium polium and other bitter herbs.”
“I treated my son with decoctions day and night. I thought he may be frozen; I even rubbed him with the hide of sheep. But he is still coughing,” Bibi Gul said.
The woman added she had not taken her son to hospital due to rumours that I may lose my son at hospital.”
Bibi Gul said: “I was dead-set against taking my son to hospital; I had heard that anyone suffering from Covid-19 is killed with a poisonous injection at hospital.”
Parveen Amiri, 30, from Krakh district, was infected twice. However, she did not visit any doctor.
She said: “The dried fruit and herbs I boiled and consumed included almond, cumin, nutmeg and flowers. I also drank milk to relieve my sore throat.”
Marzia, 25, a resident of Krakh district, said when her brother contracted the coronavirus, we didn’t take him to a doctor. Instead we treated him with herbs.
“We gave him herbs, such as decoctions, jujube and other plants,” Mazia explained.
Samira, 18, also contracted Covid-19. “Our financial situation is very weak, so I could not go to the doctor, I treated myself with herbs. I would boil and use hollyhocks and yarrow. Many people call the pandemic a seasonal cold, so I consumed these medicines,” she said.
This Pajhwok reporter interviewed more than 90 women in all districts of Herat. Many of them said they believed in using traditional and herbal medicines.
Meanwhile, following the outbreak of coronavirus, the market of herbals in Herat flourished recently and many people have turned to natural and traditional treatment and medicines believing it may be effective in preventing or treating the infection.
Currently, a large number of people are seen visiting herbal shops and buying a variety of herbals, decoctions and traditional medicines.
Some herbalists say people evince keen interest in herbal medicines more than ever before.
According to them, as still no specific medicine or vaccine is developed for Covid-19 treatment, people are seeking to benefit from herbals.
Mohammad YousufQaderi, known as Mirza Qalam, is a herbalist in Herat province, who has been selling herbals and other Greek medicines for many years.
The market of herbal flourished after the outbreak of coronavirus.
MirzaQalam said he had many clients or customers and he had treated more than 300 coronavirus patients with herbal remedies.
He said that every Covid-19 patient, in addition to health advice, was prescribed some herbal remedies.
He added: “The patients who come to me, I advised them that first they should quarantine themselves and mix fennel flower with ginger and eat it along with milk and honey, eat soup every day and drink tea. Boil a plant called “thyme” and eat it every night before going to bed, so this will prevent the damage of lungs.”
The herbalist said he had prescribed these drugs to Covid-19 patients and after a week, their test results were negative.
Hakim Rouhani, is one of the herbalists in Heart, who has many clients. He told Pajhwok that he had so far treated more than 1,000 patients of coronavirus with herbal remedies. The herbals were not harmful to the body and all those who used it have been cured, he added.
Can herbal cure coronavirus patients?
Health experts in Herat say treating coronavirus patients with herbal and drugs is misleading and believe that these methods may help the patients recover for one or two days; but then the patient’s condition gets worse.
Mohammad RafiqSherzai, spokesman for the Public Health Department of Herat, told Pajhwok: “Using herbal remedies or using drugs for a Covid-19 patient treatment, disappear the symptoms and when the patient visits doctor, the doctor cannot find any symptoms in the body and it cannot be diagnosed so it prevents the patient from receiving proper treatment.”
He said more than 7,000 people had been tested positive for coronavirus so far from total of 15,000 suspected cases, and therefore, people should refer to Covid-19 related hospitals if they noticed minor signs.
He added: “Unfortunately, many people, especially residents of districts, still believe in traditional cure methods and use these methods during treatment, while we provide health services to more than 85 percent areas in Herat province.”
Health professionals urge people to first follow health instructions such as wearing mask, washing hands with soap and avoid gatherings and if their condition worsens, they should visit health centers, especially Covid-19 hospitals to be treated.