President Trump is not the only head of government who has discovered his talents as a scientist saving the world from the corona-virus pandemic. It has been reported that shipments of a herbal tea are being sent to neighbouring countries by the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina (below having a sip of his herbal drink). He claims that his tea is a powerful remedy against the corona-virus and hopes to distribute across West Africa and beyond.
Baptised ‘Covid-Organics’, the tea is derived from artemisia, a plant containing artemisinin which has efficacy in malaria treatment. Artemisia is cultivated in Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia – all in high-altitude regions and regions with a pronounced cool periods. The tea reportedly also contains other indigenous herbs, such as ravintsara. Ravintsara is derived from the Cinnamomum camphora tree which is a native of Madagascar. This species of tree is different from the Asian camphor species; its leaves have a very different chemical composition.
‘Covid-Organics’ is being marketed after being tested on fewer than 20 people over a period of three weeks.
After Equatorial Guinea on Thursday, Guinea-Bissau is the second country to take delivery of the potion that Andry Rajoelina claims cures Covid-19 patients within 10 days.
The World Health Organisation has said that the herbal tea’s effects have not been tested, and there are no published scientific studies of the potion.
Embalo’s chief of staff Califa Soares Cassama told reporters that part of Saturday’s shipment was to be passed along to the other 14 members of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). He said that he will test the potion from Madagascar on leading government members, including the premier. (Some readers of this blog might feel that the same should have been done in the US when Trump seemed to promote disinfectant for the corona-virus infection.)
Back in Madagascar, unarmed soldiers have been going from door to door in the capital Antananarivo handing out Covid-Organics. When launching the distribution last month, Rajoelina said two people had already been cured thanks to the potion, and added: “We can change the history of the entire world.”
Personally, I wonder whether a potion against hubris would not also be needed in these desperate times.