TICAH is a non-profit trust based in Kenya that is dedicated to using positive aspects of our cultures to improve and protect health.  One of our projects is to collect practical herbal and nutritional strategies for helping AIDS-affected households protect their health, treat common conditions, and eat better food. A key element of this project has been our 2006 publication, Using Our Traditions—A Herbal and Nutritional Guide for Kenyan Families. This book is a compilation from over two years of community based research on what locally available herbs and nutrition Kenyan families are using to manage 52 common ailments.

We printed a limited run of 3,000 copies of this book in 2006 and have been overwhelmed by the response we have had to it both within Kenya and internationally. We have been using the book as the basis for training programmes that we are organizing with HIV affected communities in both urban and rural settings in Kenya.  If you are interested in the training work that we do or want to purchase the book, please write to us at listening@ticahealth.orgWe hope that this interactive website will be of use to others, and that, in turn, you will help us to build our knowledge and improve its presentation and usefulness by clicking “Contribute to this page” on the top right-hand corner of any page on this website.

This Interactive Guide initially contains the remedies and plants that are included in TICAH’s 2006 publication.  Over time, we will regularly update this site with input from its users and those who participate in our trainings.  We will collect all comments and suggestions and, through a thorough consultative process with experts, revise and improve the contents of this site.  We hope that it will be useful not only to those of us coping with the health effects of HIV infection, but to everyone interested in learning more about good diet, herbal remedies, prevention strategies, and making better decisions about when to seek care, and what kinds of care to seek.  

Our hope is that this site will contribute to
Positive Living for all who use it.

Helpful Hints

This section offers practical advice about the following:
•    Clean Water
•    Daily Activities That Will Help You Stay Healthy
•    Drying and Storing Plants
•    Harvesting and Preparing Your Medicine
•    Keeping the Kitchen Clean
•    Keeping Yourself Clean
•    Preparing Food
•    Preparing Medicines
•    Stocking your Kitchen
•    Storing Drinking Water
•    Storing Food
•    Useful Equipment for Your Kitchen
•    Your Shamba.

Your Body

Explore ailments and their treatments according to which part of the body they affect. We have separated the illnesses according to which part of the body they affect. For each illness we give you some general information including symptoms and information that is particularly important for children. We then advise you how to manage the illness using herbs, nutrition and general good sense and tell you when you should stop self-treating and seek professional medical help.

Nutrition & Recipes

In this section we have collected recipes that will help you eat good, nutritious foods at affordable prices so you and your family can stay healthy and keep illness away.

Plant Index

In this section we have listed all the plants we talk about in this Guide. For each plant we give its Latin, English and Kiswahili names as well as any vernacular (tribal) names that we know. Additionally, we have a dictionary of names for each language so that you can look up the name of a plant in your own language and find out what the Latin name is. We also tell you where the plant grows in Kenya, which part of the plant you should use and which illnesses the plant is used to treat.

It is very important that you only use the parts of the plant that we tell you to as other parts of the same plant can be poisonous and dangerous to your health. It is important to note that many of these plants can be used for treating other illnesses but we only list the uses that we have documented in this Guide.

Using This Guide

In the Your Body section of the Interactive Guide different ailments/illnesses are arrange according to the part of the body they affect.  Click on a coloured section of the body to see a list of the ailments/illnesses for each—Head, Respiratory, Skin, Genital, Stomach—or the General Health and Diet Related Problems link.

Also, a list of several ailments common in children (Chicken Pox, Colic, Convulsions, Measles and Teething) are listed separately by clicking anywhere on the small pink figure.

When you select an illness, you will find the following information about each ailment:  About the Illness, Common Symptoms, Children's Issues, Important Information, Herbal Therapy, Food & Nutrition Advice and Body Work & General Advice.

The Herbal Therapy section will list recipes using common plants and ingredients to treat the illness and include a link to individual plants that are included in our Plant Index section.  Also, the Guide includes a picture of how to prepare the medicine, which you can click on for further instructions. 

We tell you for whom the recipe is appropriate:

  • All—good for treating adults and children
  • Adults Only—use this medicine for treating adults only
  • Careful for Kids—this medicine must be used with caution when treating children
  • Baby—this medicine is especially good for treating babies
  • Kids—this medicine is especially good for treating children.

If, for example, your child is suffering from diarrhoea, click on the image of the stomach (in the adult figure) and choose diarrhoea from the drop-down menu that appears.  One of the four treatments suggested in the Herbal Therapy section is Guava Leaf Infusion, which is good for all, including children.  On the left side of the web page you will find instructions and on the right you will find a link to Psidium guajava (the guava plant) and instructions on how to prepare an infusion.

General Health and Diet Related Problems
Head Respiratory Stomach Genital Skin Child