Background: Since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, various approaches have been adopted worldwide by various state health authorities contain the ravaging pandemic. Tanzania adopted additional approach based on Tanzanian Traditional Medicines.
Aim: This review aimed at exploring the suitability of this local approach based on evaluation of the virus biology, pathogenesis and immunology in relation to the traditional medicines, nutritional immunology, steaming practice and nutritional contents of medicinal plants and potential impact of their combinations.
Materials and Methods: In this review and perspective, data related to COVID-19, dietary therapy and herbal medicine were systematically searched and gathered in scholarly materials. The search strategy included all terms that contain key words in relation to COVID-19 and treatment using traditional approach.
Results: Over 188 published articles on COVID-19 virus that included the virus biology, pathogenesis and immunology in relation to the traditional medicines, nutritional immunology, steaming practice, medicinal plants and nutritional contents of medicinal plants were obtained after individual manual screening. These are the articles which are discussed in this review on COVID-19 and the value of traditional medicine to contain the disease. Given the relatively lower cases of the pandemic in Africa and the approach that Tanzania and some other African countries have used, it is undeniable that other factors than host-pathogen interaction determine the severity of the infection by the SARS-CoV-2 to necessitate multiple approaches to contain the disease.
Conclusion: We conclude that traditional medicines potentially contain variable compounds with immunological, antiviral activity and nutritional value which, combined with steaming practice, can limit the virus impact while providing relief or protection to patients against the disease and be the key local interface remedy in keeping the COVID-19 low in Tanzania and other African countries to contain the pandemic.
Keywords: Nutrition therapy, traditional medicine, COVID-19, Nutritional Immunology, Steam therapy