The Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) has updated the herbal and nutritional guide to provide Kenyan families with comprehensive and practical information to prevent and treat common illnesses with food and plants.
The new edition – Using our Traditions: A Herbal and Nutritional Guide for Kenyan Families – is a product of rigorous research with expert and community engagements that began two years ago. “The book represents the main goal of TICAH’s work which is linking culture and health,” TICAH Executive Director, Ms Jedidah Maina, said during the launch of the guide at the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi.
Ms Maina said the second edition of the herbal and nutrition guide combines information and strategies from Kenyan traditions and cultures to build healthy individuals, families and communities. “These household remedies can be valuable in keeping families healthy, at a time when the cost of healthcare continues to rise,” she added.
The second edition is an improvement of the first, introducing new remedies and strategies, and providing better description of the conditions. The first guide was published in 2006. The new edition’s coverage is broader and includes more diseases, more lifestyle diseases, and more on reproductive health.
Many new remedies and plants have been added, with a total of 127 plants in it, of which 41 are new additions.
According to TICAH Founding Director Mary Ann Burris, the most notable development has been the introduction and use of ointments and tinctures.
“This Guide is for countless Kenyan families. It is for all of us. It represents the spirit of our work; listening and learning from different community groups, herbalists, botanists and medical practitioners, and sharing what we learnt on nutrition, strategies for self-care, home and herbal remedies and recipes for preventing, managing and treating a wide range of illnesses or conditions that could be dealt with safely at home,” Mary Ann Burris said.
Many of the plants growing abundantly as weeds are an amazing source of medicine that can support building resilient good health, according to Ms. Tara Fitzgerald, author of the Guide. “The plant medicine and recipes, and advice in this book are a way of bringing some of our traditional ways of treating illnesses and promoting health into our households. Sharing strategies that are valuable, effective and safe in keeping our families healthy,” Tara noted.
Over the past 15 years, TICAH has trained hundreds of participants who have honed their skills in herbal and nutritional self-care and treatment. They have taken their knowledge and shared with their communities through both voluntary and supported programs, becoming key players in helping people manage their healthcare and develop healthier lifestyles.