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Kenya Church Leaders Demand Testing of HIV/AIDS Herbal Medicines

Concerns echo debate over "miracle herbal cure" in neighboring Tanzania that drew millions.

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) – A "miracle herbal cure" recently attracted more than 4 million pilgrims to the home of retired Tanzanian pastor Ambilikile Mwasapile.

Now church leaders in neighboring Kenya are pressing their government to scientifically test herbal medicines that are used by millions to manage and treat diseases, saying the nontraditional therapies could be putting patients' health at risk.

The leaders say HIV/AIDS patients and others suffering chronic conditions are widely using the medicines, whose efficacy is unknown.

"We are urging the government to test the medicines in modern laboratories so that citizens can be advised scientifically about what they are taking. That's a challenge we are also throwing to universities," former Anglican Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told reporters last week.

The natural medicines are so popular that some churches are advising their congregations and people with AIDS to use them to boost their immunity, alongside standard anti-retroviral medicines, ...

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