Somewhere in Zimbabwe, some few kilometres from neighbouring Mozambique lies the Eastern Highlands. For those who have heard or who have had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful place, they will testify it’s one of the most fertile parts of mother earth, blessed with deep red soils that are perfect for many farming projects.
However, because Zimbabwe has such diverse ecological regions, in the Eastern Highlands, only citrus fruits (grapefruits, lemons, oranges, nectarines, and naartijies) and horticultural crops that require much rainfall are grown here. This includes chilli, coffee, and tea.
It is the last horticultural crop above, tea that we are going to discuss today.
After going out for shopping, I stopped by the ‘Tea and Coffee’ section. I wanted to buy some teabags. I had one brand in mind I wanted to pick, Rooibos. However, when I reached the section, I was greeted by a new and different tea brand, one I had never seen or heard of before. I usually don’t have the knack of falling for new stuff when I am in the grocery store but on this occasion, I just decided to take a look at this beautifully packaged new tea brand. To my surprise, the tea had a ‘Proudly Zimbabwean’ tag; it is grown and processed in my own country.
Makoni-Zumbani was the tea’s name. Underneath, the name were the words that prompted me to buy and try this new Zimbabwean tea, “Resurrection Herbal Tea.” What allured me to Rooibos in the first instance was the word ‘herbal’ and its subsequent health benefits and it’s the same thing that prompted me to buy Makoni-Zumbani tea.
After a month of drinking tea, I began to feel different, I realised I was more lively and energetic. Because I had maintained pretty much the same routine during that month aside from the Makoni-Zumbani tea, I knew that this new me was only as a result of the Makoni-Zumbani tea thus I decided to investigate more.
My investigations led me to one, Sam Mandivheyi. He has conducted a scientific research on the Makoni-Zumbani tea with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Zimbabwe. He gave me a good list of benefits from drinking the makoni-zumbani tea, but before I share them with you, I asked Sam the early history of the makoni-zumbani and this is what he had to share.
Makoni-Zumbani has always been there from time immemorial but the earliest recorded account of Makoni-Zumbani being consumed by the public was during the reign of Chief Makoni some 150 years ago. Chief Makoni used to force his soldiers to take this tea (known as Zumbani at that time) as he believed it helped them to recover quickly from war wounds. As more and more people realised that Chief Makoni was indeed right, they ultimately prefixed his name before the original name thereby giving birth to Makoni-Zumbani.
According to the study conducted by Sam at the University of Zimbabwe, he realised that Makoni-Zumbani is more than just a tea but medicine in its own right. Anna Brazier, the founder of Naturally Zimbabwean, an online magazine that explores Zimbabwe’s indigenous fruits and foods, also corroborated Sam’s views.
Sam said that the zumbani is scientifically known as lippie javanica and it is a nutraceutical meaning it has both food and medicinal properties. The zumbani is said to have more anti-oxidants than Rooibos; it has four to five times more Zinc, a metal that can prevent and fights degenerative diseases such as cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
He went on to say the zumbani has two times more phenolic compounds than other herbal teas. It detoxifies the body, removes cholesterol, and blood clots in the veins. The zumbani also suppresses the replication of bacteria and viruses. It is also effective in treating influenza, abdominal pain, menstrual pain, backache, coughs, chest pains and in boosting the immune system.
Sam stated that research is still ongoing on the zumbani’s possibility of being used as an aphrodisiac and in treating fertility problems in women.