UDM leader Bantu Holomisa defends his Covid-19 concoction

12 January 2021 - 13:40
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has defended his use of umhlonyane. File photo.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has defended his use of umhlonyane. File photo.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa has clapped back at critics over his use of Galela Oil, a concoction he takes to “protect” himself from getting Covid-19.

In a post on social media this week, Holomisa wrote: “Prevention is better than cure. Nxamalala (Khulubuse Zuma), since you introduced me to the Galela concoction in November last year, I managed to get few bottles from Thami Mtshali.

“Every morning I take a drop together with vitamins C and D. So far I’ve managed to dodge the Covid-19 bullets. Thank you.”

Some users felt it was “irresponsible” of Holomisa to post about the concoction, saying it “has not been medically investigated or endorsed in any way as being effective with regards to Covid-19”.

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Holomisa clapped back, saying there was nothing wrong with taking the oil and umhlonyane (a traditional medicine).

Holomisa asked if herbs that have helped many people for decades should be destroyed.

During the first Covid-19 wave, health minister Zweli Mkhize cautioned against beliefs that the plant known as Artemisia afra (African wormwood) could cure Covid-19.

Umhlonyane is an old African herb which we grew up consuming. Even I, growing up, I never went to hospital. I would drink umhlonyane to deal with fever and flu,” Mkhize said at the time.

“Therefore no-one can dispute the fact that umhlonyane has healing abilities when one has flu - but whether it can defeat the coronavirus, we do not have evidence in this regard.”

In May last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood) were being considered as possible treatments for Covid-19 and should be tested for efficacy and adverse side-effects.

“Africans deserve to use medicines tested to the same standards as people in the rest of the world. Even if therapies are derived from traditional practice, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.

“As efforts are underway to find treatments for Covid-19, caution must be taken against misinformation, especially on social media, about the effectiveness of certain remedies. Many plants and substances are being proposed without the minimum requirements and evidence of quality, safety and efficacy.”