Friday, June 22, 2012

action for natural medicine

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for so long. I only hope that some of you heard me talk about anamed during my visit home (or here in Malawi, since I tend to bring up anamed daily) because I feel so passionately about the cause. What is anamed you ask? Anamed stands for ACTION FOR NATURAL MEDICINE, an organization based in Germany founded by Dr. Hans Martin-Hirt and Bindanda M’Pia. “Anamed aims to enable people in the Tropics to develop the greatest possible degree of self-reliance, particularly with regard to their health. To this end, anamed runs seminars and conducts research into medicinal plants and the preparation of medicines. Anamed seeks to work in complete harmony with the environment”. Maybe I’m a sucker or an idealist- but have you ever HEARD of a greater mission statement?? I couldn’t think of a better one myself for any cause- anamed is where it’s at!

Over the past year, Peace Corps Malawi has been connecting PCVs with anamed- namely thru natural medicine trainings, where volunteers bring their Malawian counterparts to receive the training, so that they might bring the knowledge of natural medicine back to their sites. The director of anamed Malawi, Nelson Moyo, runs these trainings- and there is now a volunteer whose site IS the training center, and works with Nelson Moyo for the cause!

The knowledge that I gained during that week of training is innumerable- and incredibly valuable. Although I work at a health center, we are often short of the services and medicines people need. Beyond that, natural medicine really shines in how it can be used as preventative care- keeping people healthy by incorporating medicinal plants into their lifestyles. And when prevention is too late, for those already suffering from HIV/AIDS, incorporating medicinal plants into their daily lives can boost immunity, prevent opportunistic illnesses, and things as simple as helping to increase appetite.

One thing that became especially clear to me during anamed training (although I had a basic idea of this before) with the help of Nelson Moyo is that living as close to nature as possible is what will make us the healthiest. It’s like the plants knew we would need them- passionflower to help us sleep, artemisia to clean our blood, moringa to give us all the essential amino acid proteins we need. It’s amazing! The knowledge of how to use these plants appropriately has become out of touch with the advances of modern medicine (which often use extracts of these plants as is) and anamed aims to bring this knowledge back to popularity through its own research.

With the knowledge myself and my anamed counterpart Dennis gained from the training, we have brought back to Mlowe Health Center, namely with the creation of our anamed garden, which is partnered with the local People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) group. We have a great artemisia plant growing from which we hope to propagate many more plants, moringa seeds planted, garlic, ginger, aloe, cassia spectablis, and more! We’re a work in progress and I am thrilled to be laying the foundation for anamed to be spread throughout the catchment area of Mlowe Health Center.

Now you might be saying, “Hey Renee, this natural medicine stuff sounds pretty cool, I’d like to see what I can try for myself back here in USA”. If you are really super interested, email or facebook me and I can try to get some anamed literature to you. Otherwise, some basic tips? Incorporating as much raw garlic into your daily diet will provide you numerous benefits (because of its anti-viral and anti-fungal properties). In addition note that you can straight up EAT the sap inside your aloe plant’s leaves (as well as of course rubbing it on skin wounds and rashes) for immuno-modulating effects. Maybe you’re not yet at the point where you want to suck on an aloe plant leaf- note that delicious ALOE JUICE is commercially prepared and probably available at your local health store. While I was in America I had some and it was DELICIOUS! Floating in it are little pockets of the sap to give you all the medicinal benefits. Try it!

I hope you are interested in learning more about anamed. For me, I feel this is just the beginning of a lifelong passion in my quest for the ultimate healthy living! Contact me for more information or check out (

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