Tropical Medicinal Herbs

By Dr Atta K. Bonsu

In the old African home, plants were gathered so naturally and applied on the sick and they were healed. Today, most people are adapted to the use of modern chemical drugs, which have resulted in many untimely deaths on the continent. In the 15th century when Europeans started coming to African continent, diseases were less and mortality rate was extremely low.

Most African, tropical shrubs and trees that we see around us are medicines for healing so many diseases, but this contemporary generation know less about the efficacy of these plants, which are almost left as common weeds.

Natural, traditional medicine must be practiced and used in the most NATURAL manner as possible if one would like to observe the effectiveness of these plants. In the olden days; our ancestors pluck herbs fresh and used them directly on cuts, wounds, swellings, pains, and as poultices, and drink (tea) which were very effective. But, today, medicinal herbs are boiled (decoction) and put in bottles and kept for so long that often lose their potency.

Like modern chemicalised drugs, some modern herbal preparations are in the form of pills, tablets and capsules similar to the products of the chemical industry, which have less curative effect on the sick. Today, if herbs are gathered and used directly on the sick without processing them as the old people did, many would be saved from disease crisis and untimely deaths.

If herbs are gathered and dried not much under the sun but airy drying, to maintain their potency, then they can be kept for some time and still be used as medicine. Herbal preparations in the form of infusion and decoction, which are drunk instantly have proven to be the best way of using and administering herbs. Of course, I use herbal drugs in the form of supplements, tablets, pills and capsules, I rarely use them, herbal teas have been efficacious to me.

Interestingly, a contemporary man who is not cognizant of all these facts, consume drugs, even herbs in the processed, refined forms and always live with disease. The fact is, most people are even lazy to prepare herbs and use in their natural state— they are comfortable on pills and tablets—unwrap them and swallow with less labour. The reason why we are dying while leaves, medicinal herbs are left on our compounds and environments as common weeds. Study the following plants, and see how you can apply them to alleviate disease and pains.

Carica Papaya (Pawpaw)

Carica Papaya (Pawpaw)

Carica Papaya (Pawpaw)

I wish Ashantis, Igbos, Zulus, Wollofs, Hausas, went back to captivate their minds on the way pawpaw plant was used by our ancestors as medicine. The whole plant, down from the root, stem, leaves, saps, juice, seeds and flowers are all medicines. Papain, in that white, juicy element found in pawpaw has made it the greatest antibiotic and antiseptic in the world.

The green leaf, which is bitter, tells you what a great febrifuge it could be. Remember, plants high in febrifuge property can easily cure any fever attacks and infectious diseases. The reason why I have chosen green pawpaw leaves to be my number one choice for treating malaria, typhoid fever, jaundice and hepatitis. Just grind or marsh or pound the leaf, mix with about 3 glasses of water, strain and drink a glass in the morning, afternoon and evening. This often saves the sick within a few days’ use, with fruits and wholesome meals.

The dry, brown looking pawpaw leaves should not be thrown away as weed, they are highly medicinal, the best tonic nature can provide. My prescription for fibroids, cysts and hard lumps and masses and hernia includes brown pawpaw leaves. Combining the green and brown leaves and taken as infusion with honey and lemon juice brings relieve to sickle cell patient within a very short time. (Details and general use of pawpaw leaves as medicines can be obtained from the following books written by Dr. Atta K Bonsu.

  • Eight Laws of Health
  • Power of Garlic
  • Healing With Simple Plants
  • Secrets About Health

You can also order for BROWN or GREEN carica papaya. Order using the contact form

Zea Maize (Corn Silk)

Zea Maize Corn Silk

Zea Maize Corn Silk

The old African ancestors ate the grains of the corn fresh and dried and boiled the hairs, mixed honey with the  infused tea, and did serve strangers and visitors. This natural tea, did not only act as refreshing, but for the cleansing of the internal organs of the body.

Today, Corn Silk tea, added a bit of lemon juice and honey can be taken for cleansing and combating liver, kidney, spleen and lung diseases. It is a simple drug that you can easily prescribe for hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. It removes kidney and gall bladder stones due to its litotriptic property and strengthens the prostate gland; and its diuretic nature helps those growing over their weight (obesity) and could cleanse the genital organ and eradicate venereal and infectious diseases. It helps ladies and gynecological problems, and regulates normal menstruation to prevent ovarian and uterine cysts and fibroid. See our books for detailed study. You can also place order for our clinically prepared corn silk (see products and contact form)

Momordica Charantia

Momordica Charantia

Momordica Charantia

“She” is the queen of African traditional medicine. She cripples and climbs and rests on other plants. Naturally and in reality the old intuitionists would say; as it rests on other plants, so it conquers diseases. I have never regretted prescribing this herb for patients dying of dreadful diseases.

In serious infections and abdominal complications like ulcer, gastritis, colitis, piles and hemorrhoids, it has not failed. Female disorders, serious cancerous cells disappear with the help of Momordica Charantia. The entire plant—the seeds, fruits, stem and leaves are all medicinal. You can order for it (see products and contact form).

Ocimum Gratissimum

Ocimum Gratissimum

Ocimum Gratissimum

Nigerians call it as Scent leaf (because of its aromatic nature), Cameroon traditional name is masepu, but in Ghana Nunum remains the all time commonest herb ever used by indigenes, especially Ashantis and all Akans.

In Nigeria, scent leaf is common in all markets; Nigerians use it as a common vegetable in stew and soups. I love the way Nigerians prepare leafy vegetables stew/soups. They do not over-cook leafy-vegetables—they are added when the stew soup is already done. I am not surprised of the high population of Nigeria. Of course, ocimum is among the herbs that promote fertility and child bearing.

In Cameroon, gastritis seems to be the most common disease affecting both the Anglophone and Francophone communities. While the cause could be free consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially “afofo” (a local gin), frequent taking of masepu and momordica leaves’ tea with perhaps honey, will heal many of the disease.

Almost every Ghanaian knows Nunum for its common use for “asa” (as Akans in Ghana call enema). Today modern practitioners condemn enema treatment, but people of this generation of junk foods need enema than any other generation. I am not surprised of the high rate of fibroids, menstrual disorders, fertility and gynecological complications among Ghanaian women, and neglect of “asa” has been the greatest cause of all this.

Grinding a few Nunum leaves with little ginger or few cloves of garlic, mixed with lukewarm water and taken as enema, as first thing in the morning, at least, for every week is life. And mashing fresh leaves in water and drinking the resultant green juice repairs the lining membrane of the digestive tract, stops peptic ulcer, gastritis, constipation and piles (hemorrhoids), colitis and helps in severe cancer cases. Its expectorant property helps cough, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other pulmonary diseases.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera plant of all species originates from the African soil. It is not foreign or an European plant as many believe. It has been used by our ancestors of old several hundreds of years before Christ was born. Typical examples are the Egyptians and Abyssinians (old Ethiopians), and even in the West Coast of Sierra Leone, Cote D’voire and Liberia, aloe vera has long been used as an indigenous medicine.

Subsequently, Aloe vera will save many from disease crisis and death if it is allowed to be used as natural manner as possible. Aloes are bitter but they do wonders. In fresh cuts and wounds and open sores, aloe vera gel is my first choice. I just collect some gel and apply topically on them and it stops bleeding and heals without leaving scars.

Applying gel on skin, eradicates serious skin eruptions and alleviates pains. With much trust, it has great curative effect on thematosis. Among some folks, taking orally aloe vera gel’ with warm water every morning upon rising from bed makes them guaranteed from contracting diseases. Aloe vera gel’s tea can be prescribed for many patients dying of fatal diseases.

Dandelion (Lactuca teraxacifolia)

Dandelion (Lactuca teraxacifolia)

Dandelion (Lactuca teraxacifolia)

Dandelion (as European and Americans call Lactuca teraxacifolia), has been growing all over the coast and beaches of Africa. In Abidjan of La Cote D’voire, Accra in Ghana, Lome in Togo, Lagos in Nigeria, Douala and Buea of Cameroon, Durban in South and St. Pauls of Re Union, all over the sea coast of Africa and even the internal of parts Bouake in Cote D’voire, Kumasi in Ghana, Onitsha in Eastern Nigeria, Bamenda and Baffoussam of Cameroon, and all places I have tread my feet in Africa grow good species of Dandelion.

One finds it difficult to get the African local names for Dandelion. But just as the Europeans see it as the teeth (dent) of lions, (hence dandelion), African intuitional scientists also see it something strong enough like Lion’s teeth to destroy diseases.

Nevertheless, it helps in so many ways of combating deadly diseases such as hypertension, stroke, cancer, and the best remedy that one can prescribe for Diabetes (especially the roots). Its calcium content helps the bones and nerves, and thus good for arthritic and rheumatic cases skin disorders. As a great diuretic, Naturopaths of old prescribed it for serious infectious diseases; the liver, kidneys and spleen afflictions and it worked.

Physically the leaves are like the lion’s teeth, but naturally it works slowly to alleviate pains and eradicate diseases. The world and its orthodox practitioners have declared many diseases as incurable because they do not believe long-term-cure. Diseases in many cases take a long period of time to generate, therefore may need the proportionate period to receive absolute cure.

Many are so ignorant of the mechanism by which herbs work. Many take modern drugs because they need instant healing, and have no patient to have a slow cure with herbs. In treatment of disease, it is not the drug which is used to treat and cure the disease that matters, but while doing the conservation of the body organism is so paramount.

Just gather some dandelion leaves, dry and break in granules and use as your tea daily with honey and perhaps some lemon or lime juice, it will prevent and slowly cure deadly diseases. (2 teaspoons of the granule is infused in a glass or teacup of boiling water).

The old people used Dandelion. It disappeared in the system for some time, it has come back again. The reason why some communities find it difficult to give traditional names.

Graciously, The Creator has brought herbs like this in their appointed time of great need. That is nature for you! God brings seasonal foods and herbs to conserve the life of His people.

In Africa, especially Ghana, dandelion grows all over. I use it as salad, at times too I press the juice and drink as first thing in the morning. A good friend of mine serves me dandelion tea whenever I pay him a visit, as my welcome mineral. While we have all this let us use them to the Glory of God.

Cautiously, scientists have brought chemicals to be used to clear bushes; very soon no one would use machetes to weed our farm lands, and the danger is, soon all medicinal plants, especially shrubs will disappear on our rich soil. Let us continue in this practice to destroy African’s fine land that the Creator gave for our coming children to suffer—posterity, subsequent generation will ask us terrible questions—if we allow nature to destroy.

Cassia occidentalis

Cassia Occidentalis

Cassia Occidentalis

Akans in Ghana call this plant “Mmofra brode” (Children’s plantain). The old African traditionalists used this plant in many ways to heal untold diseases. The Creator before creation forsaw all the ailments that we are battling with today, so He made provision for their antidotes. Of course, all the diseases we have today have their respective medicines in nature, but who will show us all this? It is the Creator Himself.

Africans, naturally created beings, have neglected nature and we are dying more than any group of people today on this globe. Africans adoption of western, artificial style of living has caused millions perishing with untimely deaths.

Significantly, plants do communicate with humans but modern men do not anticipate and die hopelessly while leaves are left as common weeds around our  own compound and environment. Yes, piles is said to be the most common disease amongst Akans in Ghana.

Unfortunately, while thousands of victims pass everyday around Cassia ocidentalis, the plant with its natural features appeal to natural man “come to me and eat my leaves I will restore your health” but these victimized with western drugs, often neglect this call of nature and die while their helpers are left as common weeds.

If any herbal practitioner has this plant at his centre he will heal many diseases, including piles (hemorrhoids), waist pains, kidney and prostrate disease, female gynecological ailments like painful menstruation, (dysmenorrhoea), absence of menses (amenorrhoea), premenstrual syndrome (P.M.S), and sterility cases.

I have always loved to take our Cassia coffee. That is coffee prepared from roasted seeds of cassia occidentalis. It regulates blood sugar and cholesterol, and this is very good for diabetic and hypertensive patients. It is very good for middle-aged men to maintain and prevent them from prostrate disease, and make men strong, even in sexual performance.

Order for Cassia coffee (non-caffeine) by filling our contact form. For detailed information and preparation.

Cassia alata

Cassia Alata

Cassia Alata

Akans in Ghana call it as “sempe” or “duawusu”. Any time I want to empty my bowel, this plant is my choice. I see it as a laxative or as mild purgative. In this case, when one is constipated, instead of hard purgatives, use this smooth substance to have your bowel released.

Just boil some fresh leaves, add some natural salt and one lime juice in a cup of the tea and drink as first thing in the morning. Add another cup if the first cup could not help you release the bowel.

We know Cassia alata for asthma and other pulmonary diseases such as coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, cold and headaches; when taking the tea with honey, lemon juice and perhaps, some garlic.

Moringa oleifera

Moringa Oleifera

Moringa Oleifera

President Kwame Nkrumah commanded the planting of Moringa in Northern Ghana and today it has spread to all over the country.

The medicinal properties of moringa make it a special plant designed and appointed by the Creator Himself to heal many diseases and save many souls from untimely death.

In Ghana, I have seen many people planting moringa. Many have started enjoying moringa powder in stew and soups or as tea. I have seen local moringa sellers spreading the stuff all over the places. Perhaps, it is the motivation and a command from God, the Creator.

At times, you feel bad, with undesirable and uncomfortable complications, which even your medical laboratory results could not show the specific ailment (as it happens to many). Maybe, your body organs are choked with toxins and waste, for this, you do not need any pain killer or modern drug, they will rather increase your woes, your best remedy is rest, good diet and moringa tea with perhaps honey and lemon juice, your body will respond so quickly without taking any drug on the shelf.

For detailed study, see this book “Healing with simple Plants” at the Health Books page.

Paulina pinnatum

Paulina Pinnatum

Paulina Pinnatum

This plant has a fascinating story to tell. My Akan community in Ghana call this’tua ntini” (“tua” – means – join and “ntini” – means nerves or bones). That is to say, the old people believed this plant could join broken nerves or bones together, hence the name “tuantini”

Remarkably, it has a strong force and power for mending nerves, tendons, and bones. It is an herb for footballers and those on body physical activities.

In my “DUDO” medicine named as 7 DOCTORS, ’tuantini’ was not left out. 7 DOCTORS is a combination of 7 different tree barks and roots, including ‘tuantini’, which is intended to be prepared traditionally in clay pots, just as our ancestors did for the whole house to drink to prevent diseases.

I have prescribed this herbal medicine for many patients and it has worked marvelously to heal them. Today, this same ‘Dudo’, like the one of old, prepared as decoction in clay pots can be used to combat and prevent malaria, typhoid fever, hepatitis, jaundice, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, stroke, fibroids and many more diseases.

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