The Total Health Center at the Himalayan Institute Cameroon, focuses on treating diseases and health problems specific to the local population in Bui, Cameroon. This is a region in a country that is still developing, produces very little for domestic consumption, and imports almost everything.
The irony is that the land in Cameroon is lush and capable of supporting its economy, feeding its population, and most importantly, growing herbs that cure its illnesses. Growing medicinal herbs locally for the treatment of local health problems is a concept that is profound both in its simplicity and in its effectiveness! Additionally, the work of growing, harvesting, and processing the herbal products now provides income and employment for 100 people, on average, per harvest. This not only benefits the economy and provides affordable health options, but also removes the dependency on cumbersome, unreliable, long-distance supply chains for medicine.
Some of the more common health challenges faced by the villagers are gastritis, respiratory infections, fungal infections, influenza, pneumonia, piles (hemorrhoids), diarrheal diseases, muscular and joint aches and pains. Some easy to grow herbs that are used in treatment of these ailments include tumeric, ginger, rosemary, ashwagandha, brahmi, paw-paw leaf (papaya), black pepper, and tulsi.
The ginger rhizome grows easily in Cameroon but most people are not aware of its medicinal properties. When combined with turmeric and other ingredients in the right proportions, the combination becomes healing and is able to treat many illnesses that otherwise would advance into serious, chronic conditions. In this area, and similarly in many others, an illness often necessitates a trip to a hospital for emergency treatment and is costly, not only in terms of the upfront expense, but also in terms of income lost from work.
“At last we have access to side-effect free health products that are affordable, and that we don’t need to go to an emergency hospital to get.”
The Total Health Center began with a vision that included sustainable, locally grown medicine to treat its most prevalent and common health problems. Demonstration plots that were launched seven years ago turned into a pilot program for local farmers and have now expanded to nine acres that can supply two years worth of herbs for the lab. The harvesting, drying and processing of the herbs locally is a new endeavor and the lab, which uses modern production methods, is the first of its kind in the area. With the boost in public health awareness from the Total Health Revolution and as word of mouth spreads, Cameroon is becoming able to cure itself of its own illnesses.