Herbal medicine is an integral part of Anam culture and tradition. Most Anamites are familiar with traditional herbal practices to varying degrees. Many have knowledge of the specific benefits of the plants that surround them in this forest-mosaic landscape. An Anam barrister and herbalist recently stated, “There is no living thing that is used for nothing.”
As a public health intern with The Chife Foundation, I have had the opportunity to learn about regional herbal medicines on our first tours of the Ebenebe site with the Chife Foundation Fellows, Anam City staff, and local residents. Several native plants are known for their abilities to heal and treat specific ailments, for example: bitter leaves can be prepared as a tonic for stomach problems, a red leaf tea used to build blood, and multiple plants that can treat malaria. There is such a wealth of healing resources in the Anam land.
Dr. Onyeka, General Manager for Anam Development Company, uses the bark of the Ebe Tree (pictured) to treat malaria. Ebe Tree preparation for malaria:
- 3 Liters of water
- 3 double handfuls of bark.
- Preparation: Combine water and bark. Boil for 30 minutes, no longer. Drink 1 glass full of this tea three times per day. Store in a cool place for up to 3 days. Heat each serving before consuming.
Through much discussion on our walk, we realized that everyone does something a little different and agreed that people in Anam would benefit from using standardized preparations that are proven effective. This is not unique to Anam either; it is a challenge of herbal medicine worldwide. Integrated with the public health program in Anam we should institutionalize the preparation of effective plant medicines, while testing oral healing tradition help patients receive consistent benefits. In this way, we can ensure the survival of medicinal plants and traditional healing knowledge for the future.
Collectively through the Anam Rurban Design Workshop, we are looking to draw out this knowledge and integrate herbal wisdom of the Anam community. By documenting the names, uses, and growing conditions of these plants, herbal medicine can be woven into the future of the New City in Anam.