Best Traditional African Herbal Medicines for People Living With HIV AIDS

Herbs can improve digestion, stimulate appetite, preserve foods.

Traditional African herbal medicines may help to treat many of the symptoms of opportunistic infections that are part of HIV AIDS.

Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture
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Best Traditional African Herbal Medicines for People Living With HIV AIDS

Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

A list of herbs and the beneficial effects by people living with HIV AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and how to use herbs for traditional African Medicines.

HIV AIDS is not a traditional African illness and so far, there is no hard evidence to believe that traditional African medicines can treat HIV and cure AIDS. The effects may not be the same for all people. People can try these herbs and spices in moderation and decide for themselves whether they are helpful. Remember that all herbs should be used in moderate amounts. Exceeding these amounts may cause problems and have a toxic effect; moreover, the function of the herbs and spices will not be increased if you take more than required.
Plant Name Benefits How to use


Helps to relieve constipation

Use as extract; boil and drink the concentrated water.


Helps to relieve nausea and aid digestion; has an antiseptic function for mouth sores

Add to food to treat nausea and digestive problems. Use as gargle for mouth sores


Flower heads help with infections of the upper digestive tract

Use as a compress to treat infected wounds. Prepare as tea to help digestion


Helps with digestive problems, pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite

Add to food during cooking or prepare as tea


Stimulates appetite, helps fight infection, heals ulcers and intestinal inflammation

Add a pinch to cooked or raw foods. For an energizing drink add to fruit juice or water


Helps digestion and provides relief for nausea

Prepare tea from the leaves and flowers and drink several cups throughout the day


Good for colds and for weakness after colds or flu, diarrhea and nausea. Stimulates appetite.

Either add to meals or in tea, particularly ginger cinnamon tea for chesty colds or tuberculosis


Stimulate appetite, help weak digestion, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting

Use in soups, stews, warmed fruit juice and tea


Helps to increase appetite and reduce flatulence. Controls bacteria and fungi

Add herb to meals


Oil has an antibacterial function, particularly for lungs and during bronchitis.

Prepare tea from the leaves or extract


Helps to increase appetite, combat flatulence and expel gas

Add as spice to foods or prepare tea from the seeds. Use in limited amounts


Has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal function, particularly in the gut, intestines, lungs and vagina.

Prepare tea or energy drink , or use in food


Improves digestion, energizes, relieves diarrhea and stimulates appetite. Used for treating common colds, flu and nausea

Use either as a spice in meals or prepare a ginger tea


Is antibacterial and helps digestion

Add lemon juice to food or drinks

Lemon grass

Has a calming effect as well as soothing digestion and alleviating stress

Use as tea


Has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps digestion

Use as tea or gargle for mouth sores. Chew mint leaves to aid digestion


Brings down fever

Cut a fresh twig, remove the leaves and boil the bark in water; drink as tea. The bark can also be chewed


The seed is used to remove excess water from the body.

Add raw or cooked to food


May help nausea, helps to control diarrhea and stop vomiting.

Prepare as tea, by boiling the leaves for about ten minutes. Add to food.


Has antiseptic and antifungal function. Relaxes nervous coughing and increases mucosal secretions.

Use as gargle or mouthwash,  or as tea


Digestive aid, antiseptic and antioxidant

Use powdered in rice, cereals, etc.

Aloe is cultivated for medicinal uses by African herbalists.

Aloe is cultivated for medicinal uses by African herbalists.

Did you know? In Africa, 25.6 million people were living with HIV in 2016 and Africa also accounted for almost two thirds of the global total of new HIV infections.

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