Herbalists’ plea as forest fire threatens plants

Herbalists in the North Rift region have raised the alarm over raging forest fires which they fear will affect their operations.

With more than 200 hectares of vegetation reported to have been destroyed, the practitioners said the Kerio Valley escarpment and Tugen Hills in Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo counties respectively are home to certain rare herbs.

“The catchment is a popular destination for herbalists who are known to cure life-threatening diseases. In fact, the few popular practitioners that are sought after by local and international patients derive the herbs in the burning escapements,” said Johana arap Chebet.

“The forests should not have been burnt and we are asking State agencies to rescue the bushes from the wild fires as a matter of urgency otherwise lives of patients depending on the alternative medicine will be at risk,” said Dr Julius Kalya.

A renowned practitioner Mrs Juliana Kitum based in Nakuru county, warned that some particular critical herbs take years to rejuvenate unlike any other ordinary vegetation.

Elgeyo-Marakwet deputy county commissioner Arthur Bunde attributed the fires to superstitions held by the local community.