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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 21 September 2014

IS HERBAL MEDICINE TAKING OVER FROM CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE


The Proprietor of Murugu Herbal Clinics Dr (H) Peter Murugu is among the newly crowned persons of the year alongside key personalities like the first lady Margaret Kenyatta in an event held last week in Nairobi for his lead role in spearheading research in the field of herbal medicine in the country.

The event held last Friday at the Laico Regency attracted other key personalities like the Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal who presented Dr Murugu with the award. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and his equity Bank counterpart James Mwangi was also crowned for their efforts at improving quality of life through various initiatives in their organisations.

Speakers at the fete acknowledged the resources that Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic has put in to transform herbal medicine to what is increasingly becoming acceptable to many including the elites.
“September 5, 2014 will go down in the annals of history as a day when herbal medicine was given the highest fete ever in Kenyan soil. It is a day we do not take for granted at Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic because we have just realized that somebody somewhere has been keeping close tabs on our effort to compliment the conventional medicine through a different approach, the herbal route,” Dr Murugu said
The event which was supported by the government’s department of culture and social services was organised by Showbiz Africa. It is an annual event.

“We picked on Dr Murugu because of the numerous requests we received from members of the public who in one way of the other have benefited from his services-they appeared pleased with his services,” said Mr John Njenga, the chief events coordinator.
Mr Njenga explained that Dr Murugu’s approach to herbal medicine has heralded a milestone in a sector hitherto believed to be a preserve of the less educated in the society.

“We found it interesting that although herbal medicine was seen as backward and its place in the health sector dismissed as outdated, Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic has changed this perception with its diagnostic approach that incorporates modern laboratory system and prescription,” he said
Dr Murugu stated that before embarking on this journey, he was always perturbed by the hypocrisy displayed by the elites on green revolution.

“I used to wonder why it is easy for people to use beauty products made of herbal extracts from Aloe vera, avocado and other plants but when it comes to medicine, preference is given to chemicals, many which are health hazards in the end,” he said
He said they stand out from other people who profess knowledge in the field because of the approach to diagnosis.
“Just like you will be referred to a laboratory at The Kenyatta National Hospital before treatment commences, so will your blood sample be tested
He said herbal medicine can mutually co-exist with the modern hospitals.

“What I have noticed over time is that most of our clients are people who have first gone to hospitals and mostly referral facilities before coming to us. It must be known that I am not here to disparage hospitals; we are alive today because of them. However, my point is that herbal medicine equally has a place in the modern world if practiced professionally. And talking from experience, it gives better results in some cases,” he said to the applause of the audience.

Dr Murugu told those in attendance that herbal medicine has huge potential if the government could borrow a leaf from countries like India and China who have invested in it so much.
“Herbal medicine is like gold. Just like the recently discovered oil is Turkana has the potential of changing our fortunes as a country, so is herbal medicine. If we invest in herbal medicine, we will save hundreds of millions of shilling spent daily by Kenyans seeking medical care oversees in countries like India which are known to have invested in it,” he said adding doing so would equally lead to an upsurge in herbal tourism and greater research in the same by medical scholars.
Dr Murugu said the missionaries were responsible for the relegation of herbal medicine to the periphery. To him, they presided over its near death.

“Our forefathers lived longer than we do today yet the growth registered in medical technology today was not there. When God created the heavens and the earth, he provided everything mankind needed and our venture in the herbal world is not rocket science, we are just making good use of what providence has bestowed on us to the glory of his name. The Christian missionaries presided over the collapse of the system of herbal medicine when they introduced us to the tablets, syringes and other modern diagnostic procedures. But there is hope once again,” he said

He said there are those who braved the missionary onslaught and are now instrumental in the recovery effort by helping indentify tree species with medicinal value.
The herbal expert said the major secret to success of Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic was their approach where the body systems are triggered to heal themselves.
“Through collaborative research with a number of University Professors, we have been able to make tablets and liquid medicine that have been effective in making the body heal,”

Dr Murugu, who first obtained diploma in Herbal medicine before advancing to the current level where he partners with other university, dons to undertake research has a an informal PhD in the field. In the normal scholarly world, PhD is earned through practice and experience
“ I have walked the herbal medicine path for the last 18 years now, starting in Nakuru before setting base here in Nairobi where cumulatively, we have treated more than 100, 000 people,” he told Citizen Weekly.
And aware that members of the public could also fall prey to unscrupulous practitioners, Dr Murugu urged the government tighten the grip in the field to regulate the sector.

“I am aware that the government is working on a policy to regulate the practice of herbal medicine in the country. This is laudable because it has been long overdue. The policy will not only help weed out unscrupulous practitioners but also streamline the field so that people can choose to decide whether to go to a herbal expert or go to the other hospitals without being worried about the quality of treatment,” he said
He said the guideline will also prevent a Loliondo-like situation when many Kenyans trooped to Tanzania to see Mzee Ambilikile Mwasapile for cure of their ailments unfortunately many died after abandoning their drugs they were taking in hope that they had been healed.

Whereas patients are compelled to use medicine for their entire lifetime for diseases like diabetes and others like asthma, Dr Murugu said such and many others are curable.
“Like the case of the 17 year old Stella Wangui Wakiara from Gitugi girls school in Murang’a whom President Uhuru Kenyatta volunteered last week to donate money towards her kidney transplant in India. These things can be done here and we have proof,” he said
He gave a case of one patient Simon Kimani, whose health had deteriorated and after seeking treatment without success in the conventional hospitals, he was also referred to India as a matter of urgency if his life was to be saved.
“Mr Kimani was not so lucky since his trip abroad faced a major challenge and many families find themselves in such situations, lack of enough money for treatment and air ticket. His kidney had failed and it was to cost a whooping Sh2.5million to conduct the transplant. There was also the question of a donor, who had a healthy kidney and willing to donate.
Doctors like Dr Were, a neurosurgeon have said that just like other patients who have undergone kidney transplant, Wakiara will need an average of sh20, 000 every month for other medical attention after the operation.
“Fortunately, his family knew about the Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic and the services we offer and having listened to them, we embarked on what we have always done best, treatment using the herbal medicine necessary for the problem Mr Kimani faced. It was not long before he started showing signs of progress and today he is a healthy man, providing for his family, thanks to Murugu Natural & Nutritional Clinic.” He stated.