Many continue to modify their lifestyles following the phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions by President Akufo-Addo.
‘This is the new, second phase we are entering and it requires responsible behavior, continuing state support and living in Grace,’ the president said during his fourteenth address to the nation.
With churches and other social gatherings gradually opening up for life to return to normalcy, some people are taking their destinies into their own hands.
One way they are doing this – is through the age-old neem tree steam inhalation therapy while those infected by the virus consider it a management option at home.
It looked like a nuisance plant specie occupying space – when I first saw neem plants many, many years ago.
But age old oral tradition has it that – it’s been a potent local remedy for different forms of ailments.
Either boiled together with other herbs for drinking or steam inhalation therapy.
Multiple medical publications reveal the neem plant is a powerful immunostimulant.
The Pytotherapy Research Journal found the neem plant can treat uncomfortable and painful gastric ulcers.
It adds that it can prevent and cure bacterial and fungal infections and also good for treating skin problems and the like…
Apart from having meals with a lot of greens and fruits – the steam bath or inhalation therapy is another key feature on the weekly routine of some, as they adjust to life in a Covid-19 era.
56-year-old Alhaji Umar has known the medicinal value of the therapy since he was probably ten.
He tells me it’s become more relevant today than ever, as we plan our lives after Covid-19.
“I still boil the neem leaves and then inhale the vapour under blankets for some time’, he said, adding ‘it is very good at treating fever, malaria and the like. I do it and my children do to.’
Perhaps the only grey area, he says, is for medics to carry out some research to prescribe the dosage of the concoction for drinking.
Alhaji Umar is not alone.
Maame, does not only do the steam bath. She also drinks the concoctions especially when she feels feverish or has a severe headache.
“The steaming is such a good therapy. It’s even better when you use the residue from the steam for a shower after sweating under the sheets for the ten minutes,” she tells me.
“As we are gradually getting used to the Covid-19, that is the easiest way we can help ourselves, she says.
Some infected persons during home management use this too.
Senior medical officer and resident in pediatrics at the Bolgatanga regional hospital, Dr. Gillian Bogee is one of them.
“…when I began feeling symptoms…fever, headache etc, I was advised to do the steam therapy…so while I was on antibiotics, vitamin C and zinc tablets, I was also doing the steam inhalation.”
But what is the science behind the steam inhalation therapy?
General Secretary of the Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (GHAFTRAM) and a licensed traditional and herbal medicine practitioner, Nana Kwadwo Obiri says the therapy has been tried and proven for ages.
“The body has tiny pores – and during viral and other bacterial infections, the steam enters the pores and goes into the system to fight the infection,” he said.
He says there are a variety of plants that could be used for the same purpose depending on the kind of condition being treated.
‘While you are inhaling the steam from the specific plant steam, the antimicrobial properties work on the system.’
He tells me the therapy though has been long known for its medicinal value, should be done with caution.
‘…We do not advise pregnant women to do this exercise neither should they drink these concoctions for the sake of their unborn fetuses.’
Nana Kwadwo Obiri adds, young children could easily have the hot and boiling liquid spill onto their skin causing accidents in the process.
He added, ‘for those younger than we are, the temperature of the water must be checked to avoid spills and burns.’
Well whether you steam-bath or drink it, the advice from the health experts is for it to be in moderation – but as we take charge of our own health in this era, some may just get different ideas.
By Komla Adom|3news.com|Ghana
The writer is a journalist with the Media General Group.