By Amanda Xoagus – Windhoek, Namibia, Wednesday, August 19, 2020.
Elephant dung has become the most sought-after item in the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek after rumours that it cures COVID-19, spread like wildfire over the weekend.
Windhoek has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases with at least 147 cases reported in the city, hence desperate Namibians are trying out all weird concoctions hoping to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Elephant dung is made up of a variety of plants and leaves and holds most of the foliage that traditional healers or herbalists would use in their treatments, those familiar with it say.
However, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism, Romeo Muyunda warned Namibians against the use of elephant dung to cure COVID-19 as it has never been tested.
“We understand elephant dung is used traditionally as medicine elsewhere in the country. There are also rumours that people are now acquiring it to sell because it apparently cures/treats COVID-19, leading to a high demand for the dung,” he said.
Muyunda also appealed to Namibians not to enter restricted areas of national parks to collect dung, saying that they will be fined.
Muyunda also said they have clarified that collecting dung outside national parks is not restricted. We just urge people to do so cautiously.
However, people are not allowed to collect dung in protected areas, in other words our national parks. There is a fine for such offences, he said, adding that all should follow guidelines for treating the virus as stated by competent authorities.
“The Environment Ministry is not the competent authority to answer whether or not dung cures Corona, hence people should just follow the procedures and guidelines currently in place to avoid contracting COVID-19,” Muyunda said.
According to online research and local herbalists, elephant dung has been used for years to subdue mild pain and to stop nosebleeds.
It has also been used in rural areas as a mosquito repellent, while it is consumed as an exotic coffee in some countries.
COVID-19 has far killed some 39 people and infected 4,665 in the country with 2,426 recoveries, according to information from the country’s Health Ministry, Monday.