BY BEAUTY NYUKE
UNITED Methodist Church-run Africa University (AU) has made progress in developing throat lozenges from, among other ingredients, the zumbani plant which most people in the country have turned to for home remedies.
Developed by AU’s College of Health and Agricultural Sciences, the new product is expected to hit the market next month.
Africa University spokesperson Stephen Chikozho said the cough drops were made from more than six ingredients, with the zumbani plant being the main component.
“The cough drops are expected to add an array of herbal products that are on the market, with a view to boost immunity of the people in Zimbabwe and abroad as universities in the country continue to drive transformation through indigenous knowledge systems,” he said.
Chikozho said the institution was considering partnerships with corporates, governmental and civic organizations for strategic sustainability and commercialisation of the project.
Principal investigator Eltony Mugomeri said despite the potential use of the medical cough drop to alleviate flu-like symptoms, there was still the need of the right dosage so as to ensure safe usage, while promoting the product.
He said the prototype cough drop was made following standard methods for compounding crystal sweets or candy, with the alcohol-based extract and other additives.
“Besides the oral cough drops, the project also aims to develop a high dosage from that which can be dissolved in hot water for steaming of airways,” Mugomeri said, adding that the university would also consider the establishment of an organic garden for the herb so that it can sustainably manufacture the product.
Mugomeri also noted that while the majority of the people has been using the Zumbani, fresh or dried leaves without any form of dosage for both drinking and steaming, research, however, shows that high doses and prolonged use of the triterpenoids in Lippia javanica are known to cause liver damage, with jaundice being the most notable result.
These findings implied that Lippia javanica is toxic if consumed in excess, he added.
However, he said there were a lot of exaggerations surrounding the uses of Zumbani concerning COVID-19 fighting, so it was not yet established that the herbal cough drop would be effective.
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