For Australian Naturopath, Elizabeth d’Avigdor, the connection with Ethiopia began with the adoption of her son 14 years ago. But the seed of an idea for a project to support health in rural Ethiopia using indigenous herbs, was planted in her kitchen in Sydney some years later.
“An epiphanal moment for me was when I was brewing up some Fenugreek tea and my son said ‘I know that smell, I know that smell – my mother used to make that for me when I had a stomach ache,'” says Elizabeth.
“I felt this huge connection with his mother, and with Ethiopia, and being a herbalist, I thought I really wanted to know more about how herbs are used there everyday for common ailments and preventable diseases.”
In January next year, Elizabeth and her son will travel back to Ethiopia to research and record traditional herbal medicine use and establish a medicinal herb garden in Fiche, a rural town North of the capital, Addis Ababa.
The project, ‘Botanica Ethiopia – A Living Pharmacy’ was developed by Elizabeth as part of her Masters in Clinical Science (Complementary Medicine). It will be delivered in partnership with the Fiche community and Global Development Group, with funding from Australian natural healthcare company Blackmores Ltd.
Elizabeth says native herbs can provide a very cheap, safe and accessible means of health care in Ethiopia, and in rural communities in particular.
“These plants are immensely important. Many Ethiopians don’t have access to a doctor and this is often their first port of call, if you like, in medicinal approach. ”
But according to the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and the United Nations, herbal medicine practice is in danger of being lost due to lack of documented knowledge, and the threatened extinction of medicinal plants.
Interview with Naturopath Elizabeth d’Avigdor
Botanica Ethiopia is proud to be a partner for project ‘J655N Botanica Ethiopia – A Living Pharmacy’ with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993), an Australian AusAID approved NGO carrying out quality humanitarian aid and development projects with approved partners to relieve poverty and provide long term solutions. Global Development Group takes responsibility for this project according to AusAID rules, providing a governance role and assisting in the areas of planning, monitoring, evaluating and auditing to ensure that project J655N Botanica Ethiopia – A Living Pharmacy is carried out to Australian requirements.
For more information about Global Development Group, visit www.globaldevelopment.org.au
Click here to make a donation to the Botanica Ethiopia ‘Living Pharmacy’ project.