TRADITIONAL MEDICINE – THE ROOT OF HEALTHCARE
Traditional medicine has been the root of healthcare around the world for centuries – Ayurveda, Unani Tibb, Traditional Chinese Medicine and African Traditional Medicine are a few examples. While opinions differ regarding the exact figure, it is accepted that a significant percentage of South African people choose to consult with traditional healers, the two main categories of which are sangomas (spiritual mediums), and nyangas (herbalists) who use various substances, including plants and minerals, to initiate healing.
The role of traditional healers in the modern healthcare system, and the challenges faced by practitioners, was recently highlighted in a comprehensive article in The Daily Maverick by Malibongwe Tyilo. He quoted Phephsile Maseko, the national coordinator for the Traditional Healers Organization (THO), South Africa’s largest body of traditional medicine practitioners, who questions the efficacy of government’s role in regulating the practice – an issue that was discussed at the THO Leadership Summit on 5-6 February 2019: “We have decided that we would go back to government and propose that they allow us to be a self-regulating profession. We also want to review the 2007 Traditional Health Practitioners Act and send it back to Parliament, and ask them to commission a team of experts to work with us and do proper research on our profession. As things stand, traditional healers are not registering with the Department of Health. The current law displays a poor understanding and a lack of respect for our profession,” says Maseko.
The use of traditional medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa has recently been the subject of a study by the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The study, published on 18 December 2018, is apparently the first empirical study into TCAM in the region. The paper, ‘Traditional, complementary and alternative medicine use in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review’, in the journal BMJ Global Health, looked at 180 studies on TCAM use in the region between 2006 and 2017.
WORKING TOGETHER TO TACKLE REGULATORY CHALLENGES
Strong representation from the health supplements industry is necessary to ensure that the Department of Health (DoH) and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) are made aware of the fact that inappropriate regulations will stifle the industry. In order to facilitate this, the HPA is currently establishing a CAMS & Health Supplement Alliance with the Direct Selling Association (DSA) and the SA Society of Integrative Medicine. HPA Chairperson, Maria Ascencao, is to meet with stakeholders to discuss the project.
The main objective of the Alliance is to ensure that an electronic screening system is promulgated. Another objective is to ensure that food/nutritional supplements are brought into the food category, in line with their status in the majority of countries worldwide. Various affiliated groups will be approached to join the Alliance, and discussions with the American Chamber of Commerce are planned for the future.
The HPA has also been in contact with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) to advise the organization of the negative impact that the current regulations will have on businesses and employment – as well as highlight the extensive history of the HPA’s attempts to engage government and assist in formulating appropriate regulations for CAMS and health supplements.
THE BEAUTY OF BUSINESS IN NATURAL COSMETICS: GLOBAL MARKET EXPANSION
Increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly personal care products has prompted companies such as Garnier, Henkel and Amore Pacific to enter into the natural and organic personal care products market and develop new and advanced products. Manufacturers are continuously launching organic personal care products with clinical backing in order to expand their customer base. Rising numbers of innovative personal care products with antioxidant properties, including those with herbal extracts, are expected to fuel the demand for natural and organic personal care products over the forecast period.
The global Natural and Organic Cosmetics market was valued at US$11500-million in 2018, and will reach US$23600-million by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 9.4% during 2019-2025. The objectives of this study were to define, segment and project the size of the Natural and Organic Cosmetics market based on company, product type, end user and key regions.
IN THE PIPELINE – A WORKSHOP, PRESENTATION AND CONFERENCE
The HPA constantly initiates projects to promote, protect and educate the industry, as well as assist members and consumers. To this end, HPA member The Twinz Foundation has undertaken to hold two workshops this year: HPA Chairperson, Maria Ascencao, together with Amway CEO, Allen Frank, will present the prestigious Frost & Sullivan Report, and the HPA will have a presence at the PharmaConnect Africa Conference on 3-5 April 2019.
The Twinz/HPA workshops will focus on Port Health and Regulations in the SADC countries. For more information, go to ‘Events’ on the HPA website.
A report published by the prestigious Frost & Sullivan group – which outlines the impact of health supplements/wellness products on a country’s health budget, along with the potential for reducing costs – will be presented at an HPA meeting.
The HPA is taking the opportunity to raise its visibility and profile by hosting a stand at the PharmaConnect Conference. This takes place on 3 – 5 April 2019 at Glenhove, Johannesburg, and will include a Cannabis Symposium. The theme of the main conference is ‘Reliance and Worksharing – lessons for Africa’. Details can be found at http://pharmaconnect.co.za/
ECONOMICS OF KINDNESS: NEW ZEALAND LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST ‘WELLBEING BUDGET’
“We want New Zealand to be the first place in the world where our budget is not presented simply under the umbrella of pure economic measures, and often inadequate ones at that, but one that demonstrates the overall wellbeing of our country and its people,” states New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. In May, her government will present the world’s very first “wellbeing budget”—a concept originated by the OECD and the IMF, and which urges countries to look beyond a strong balance sheet and a strong economy to redefine success.
Instead of focusing on GDP growth, the New Zealand government will focus specifically on living standards and human, social and natural capital when it sets targets and tracks progress. At a time when political and business leaders all around the world are grappling with populism and disenchantment, such a wellbeing approach is likely to be emulated elsewhere, and probably sooner rather than later.
BUCHU – THE MAGICAL GIFT FROM THE WESTERN CAPE
Buchu is as distinctly South Africa as it gets: it grows only in a very specific area of the Western Cape, between the Cedarberg and Hottentots Holland mountains. Part of the fynbos family, the three different species are Agathosma betulina (short buchu), Agathosma serratifolia (long buchu), and Agathosma crenulata (ovate buchu). Buchu needs a very particular soil-type and climate, and has almost magical medicinal properties.
Buchu, which has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries, is regarded by some as a miracle plant. Professor Patrick Bouic, co-founder of Synexa Life Sciences and Extraordinary Professor of Immunology at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, spent a number of years researching its healing powers: “Buchu has incredible medicinal properties. It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-infective, which is why the Koi people traditionally used it for bladder infections.”
In the late 1990s, Michael Stander, Managing Director of Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, teamed up with Bouic to prove the power and benefits of buchu. The first human clinical trial was conducted in 2002 at the Sports Science Institute with Professor Tim Noakes. Synexa’s scientific findings confirm wide-ranging clinical applications of buchu, including arthritis management, pain control, prevention of muscle damage induced by exercising or trauma, urinary tract infections, and as an anti-ageing product, the latter supporting the belief of the Khoisan that this plant is an elixir of youth.
SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST CANNABIS-TESTING LABORATORY
South Africa’s first dedicated cannabis-testing laboratory has been established at Afriplex (Pty) Ltd in order to meet the requirements created by the exploding cannabis industry for high-quality processing and testing in South Africa. This facility meets DoH and SAHPRA regulations, and boasts a specialised team of experienced professionals and researchers.
The South African Cannabis Research Institute (SACRI) has nominated Afriplex Cannabis Laboratory as its laboratory of choice. Robert Longrigg, Afriplex Responsible Pharmacist, says: “Afriplex Cannabis Laboratory takes a three-tiered approach: 1) Receiving, identifying and processing; 2) End-product analysis, and finally 3) Research and Development. The processing laboratory is set up to ensure reproducible and effective cannabis products by handling receiving aspects like investigating the appearance of the arriving, cultivated cannabis’s morphological and microbiological presentation to ensure the appropriate, respective cannabis strain has arrived onsite prior to the extraction process proceeding.”
“Afriplex will utilise and build on our partnerships with our clients, South African universities, medical practitioners, pharmaceutical companies, the SACRI and other international medicinal plant specialists. Together we will be able to run pharmaceutical, clinical trials on various cannabinoid products and Afriplex-developed cannabis APIs to create new, innovative and patient-specific medications,” says Wayne Robinson, Afriplex Business Development Director.
For more information: http://afriplex.co.za/