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Is Zumbani going to be extinct? Our actions say YES

by Makomborero Muzunde | 22-01-2021 20:25 recommendations 0 recommendations

The second wave of Covid-19 virus pandemic in Zimbabwe has seen major changes in lifestyles of the citizens. This 2021 has seen the Zumbani plant being 'declared the national plant' as witnessed by every household having stocks of the 'precious' plant. Zumbani or Umsuzwane popularly known in Shona and Ndebele respectively for Fever Tea Tree (Lippia javanica) which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

People believe that the Zumbani plant as a natural herb that can relief covid-19 symptoms and may cure covid-19 virus completely. For the past years Zumbani was sold in established retail outlets and herbal shops in form of Zumbani herbal tea sachets. Late last year to this year there has been a sharp increase of people selling the Zumbani plant in the streets and even through WhatsApp groups. But there is a question that should be asked on the consumption behaviors and patterns. Is it sustainable? 

The major concern is that people are uprooting the Zumbani plant. Uprooting is a destructive behavior that people should desist from, especially in these times when sustainability should everyone's responsibility. In the streets you see people with the bundles of the plant with roots where we only want the leaves to use in our tea and steam inhalation (kunatira). We should harvest a reasonable number of leaves and leave the plant to grow new leaves so that we can harvest again. In this short space time we have lost more than 30% of the plant population and at that rate the plant can become extinct. Imagine that if coffee and tea estates uprooted instead of harvesting, would we be drinking coffee and tea today. There is need to practice sustainable harvesting and plant conservation measures such as growing the Zumbani shrub in our backyards. 

Not all other medicinal plants are being spared from extinction as there is increased demand for them. Experts found that plant extinction is occurring much faster up to 500 times than the natural rates of extinction. In 2008 the UK-based Botanic Gardens Conservation International named the Pacific yew (Taxas brevifolia) and the Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) to be on the risk of extinction since there are being widely used for cancer medicine. As humanity we have to find ways for sustainable harvesting of plant species that are useful in our daily lives. Elderly people can tell you that there were lot of plant species when they grew up which they are now rare to see. What the beautiful Flame lily faced, is what the Zumbani plant is facing.


  1. https://www.newzimbabwe.com/zumbani-selling-like-hotcakes-in-bulawayo/
  2. https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=148720

Zumbani plant


  • Zimbabwe E-gen Ambassador Makomborero Muzunde


Mun WooJooMentor

  • Mun WooJooMentor says :
    Hello Makomborero,
    this is your mentor WooJoo.

    Warm greetings from South Korea.
    Thank you for sharing such an interesting report about Zumbani.
    To prove that the plant truly serves as an effective virus infection reliever, there should be related researches or studies.
    Do you know if its potential as a therapeutic ingredient is really effective?
    The one-plant market boom has always made me worry about decrease in the quality of products, loss of plant diversity and its sustainability, as you partially mentioned.
    I think that it is important to limit the production of single plant, and maintain a steady, balanced production of the rest of the products.
    Hopefully new regulations are implemented to protect the biodiversity of today.

    Keep writing

    Posted 26-01-2021 23:11

SJ Mentor

  • SJ Mentor says :
    Hello Makomborero!
    It's your SJ mentor.

    I hope you are doing well.
    Thank you for writing a report on Zumbani, a medicinal plant.
    In fact, I wonder if this plant is effective in preventing viruses or if it is just a folk remedy.
    I hope the government will step up and actively verify the actual effect.
    If the effects were exaggerated, people would no longer look for this plant.
    Demand for medicinal plants can increase, so rather than simply growing and harvesting plants, identifying and chemically synthesizing medicinal ingredients should be considered.
    How do you think?

    Keep writing!

    Best regards,
    SJ mentor.
    Posted 25-01-2021 04:38

Shobha Pokhrel

  • Shobha Pokhrel says :
    Greetings from Nepal ,

    Thanks for sharing Such an informative report about the Zumini Plant .

    We all must Think about the sustainable use of every plant .

    Keep Sharing

    warm Regards ,

    Posted 23-01-2021 22:44

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