Physico-chemical characteristics and therapeutic potential of Rubanda springs
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Since old timings, Rubanda springs have been used by the local people; primarily for the cure of a wide range of diseases. However, no scientific information has been published about these springs, making it impossible to evaluate both the extent of hot spring use and the risks associated with using any of the springs. In recent years, there is a serious trend toward a “return to nature,” that is an approach to natural methods of treatment that include the use of natural spring water for therapeutic purposes. The current study was performed to provide scientific information about the physico-chemical characteristics and therapeutic potential of Rubanda springs in Southwestern Uganda. The springs had pH varying from 6.4–6.9, total dissolved solids from 78–301, conductivity from 157–602 ppm, highest mineral concentration of 23 ppm sodium, lowest mineral concentration of 1 ppm potassium, highest anion concentration of 1102 ppm bicarbonates and lowest anion concentration of 2.33 bicarbonates. The obtained information was analyzed to highlight the potential uses of the springs. Nyamasizi spring water was found unsuitable for drinking due to the presence of Total Suspended Solids and a higher Iron content than that recommended by the UNBS guidelines for natural portable water. On comparison with main stream water, the physicochemical data of the selected spring waters revealed that the springs hold promise for utilization in hydrotherapy due to the higher mineral concentrations. The spring waters belonged to the undetermined water type due to Total Dissolved Solids lower than 1 g/ l, hence no specific therapeutic value for any of the selected springs; indicating that the springs could be used generally for complementary treatments. However, there is need to reevaluate the properties of these springs in depth; using modern technologies. Microbiological analysis of the selected springs should be carried out to determine whether the springs are fully fit for Balneotherapy.