With the advent of the second wave’ of COVID-19 infections came some interesting trends. Before this people had been mainly focused on the basic washing of hands, sanitization, masks, and social distancing. Plus deaths were not yet that widespread. However, when the second wave came there was a sudden spike in deaths and people were quite disturbed. In a bid to come up with home remedies, Zumbani suddenly became popular. That was also coupled with various concoctions based on things such as lemons, ginger, honey, guava leaves, and so on. So widespread has been the use of Zumbani that businesses have emerged out of it and environmentalists have cited concerns on biodiversity. Anyways, in this article, I am talking about a recent interesting development.

Zumbani Cough Drops

The faculty of Health and Agricultural Sciences at Africa University has made significant progress in developing Zumbani cough drops. They will essentially be medicinal cough drops that will work somewhat like what usual cough drops or lozenges do. The research and development are still on-going so we are yet to hear the comprehensive description of these Zumbani cough drops’ medicinal properties. They will be made using at least 6 ingredients and are slated for market release in March. More work still has to be done in ascertaining how efficacious these cough drops will be. The standards used in making candy or sweets are the same standards they adhered to when they came up with the prototype.

Remarks By Africa University’s Advancement And Public Affairs Director – Mr Stephene Chikozho

The cough drops are expected to add to an array of herbal products that are on the market, to boost the immunity of the people in Zimbabwe and beyond, as universities in the country continue to drive transformation through indigenous knowledge systems.”

He also indicated their eagerness to partner with possible corporate, civic society, and governmental partners. He stated that such partnerships will boost the sustainability of the initiative. Additionally, it will feed into the monetization of the project such that it becomes a commercial enterprise.

Remarks By Principal Project Investigator Dr Eltony Mugomeri

This project aims to develop a medicinal cough drop from Lippia javanica, a herbal plant with a long history of traditional use in tropical Africa as indigenous herbal tea. The cough drop prototype was produced at Africa University to test the concept. Besides the oral cough drops, the project also aims to develop a higher dosage form that can be dissolved in hot water for steaming of the airways.”

He also added that they plan to start an organic garden so that they will not have challenges emanating from the scarcity of Zumbani.

A Look At Dosage Dynamics

It is obvious people have generally been using Zumbani without adherence to any dosages. This has been so regarding either using it as a tea or for steaming purposes. However, experts say that using high dosages and using Zumbani for extended periods can be hazardous to health. Zumbani can lead to liver damage and even jaundice given those scenarios. Dr Mugomeri remarked that Zumbani is toxic if the dosage is beyond 1138 ± 1.33 µg/mL. Even in their project, they are ensuring dosages are lower than that threshold. So people must be aware that there are dosage implications at play. I have heard most people encouraging the use of Zumbani as often as possible but that can be injurious.

It is still too early to tell whether or not this project will become a commercial enterprise. Personally, I would love for it to sail through because this is something dear to me. I want to see more and more innovations emerging from our academic learning institutions. I believe it is one of the key missing links in the development of the Zimbabwean economy. We need to see university and college projects morphing into startups that will shape society and unlock national, regional, global value.