HERBAL RESEARCH IN NIGERIA:
THE NEED TO COLLABORATE
Nwaopara., IJHPR; 2(3): 28
*International Journal of Herbs and
*IJHPR, 2013, 2(3): 28.*
HERBAL RESEARCH IN NIGERIA: THE NEED TO
Nwaopara, A.O., FIIA, PhD
Published: 31st July, 2013
The role of herbal medicine in the
Nigerian health system is not in doubt. The
massive patronage of traditional health care
practitioners is also an established fact.
Reasons for the growing patronage of
traditional medicine practitioners have as
well, being highlighted, even in the midst
of severalchallenges that includes issues of
quality, safety, exaggerated potencies,
regulation, overall skill limitations of
traditional medicine practitioners,
spiritual ‘infusions’ and lack of
appropriate equipments to conduct
appropriate examinations in complex
situations (Ekeanyanwu, 2011).
Irrespective of these challenges however,
herbal medicine has become the preferred
health care alternative for many Nigerians;
probably due to easy access and cost. On the
other hand, there is a growing scientific
interest in herbal medicine and in line with
this trend, the efficacies of herbal
remedies have been corroborated or
discredited (Nwachukwu et al., 2011). This
indicates that the required advancement of
herbal medicine is inextricably tied to
conscientious effort in constantly
evaluating the therapeutic potentials of
abundant medicinal plants around us.
Available evidence does show that many
pharmaceutical classes of drugs include a
natural product prototype (Gilani et al.,
2000) and traditional medicine have given us
very useful clues of modern drugs in the
past (Gregory, 2004).
concerns however, that despite obvious
therapeutic benefits of medicinal plants,
herbal medicine research in Nigeria is
bedeviled with several barriers identified
by Sofowora (2008) to include cost of
acquiring information, distrust of
researchers by practitioners, the desire to
pass down information only to off springs,
restrictions due to cult/trade membership,
and the fact that a lot of unwritten
knowledge resides in the hands of healers in
Fears have also been expressed regarding
prejudice of practicing health-care
professionals who did not learn about
phytomedicines during their academic
programmes and consequently believe all of
them to be ineffective, as well as the
belief by some traditional herbalist that
unprocessed natural products have an innate
superiority and that the mystical aura
surrounding herbs will somehow be destroyed
by extraction and standardization (Tattam,
1999). Unfortunately Nigerian researchers
are yet to come to terms with the abundant
potentials of our indigenous medicinal
In fact, the effort of the federal
government in the establishment of the
Federal College of Complementary and
Alternative Medicine is an indication that
the Nigerian authorities appreciate the
undeniable role of herbal medicine research
in the Nigerian healthcare system. Why then
should trained researchers abandon this
discipline in the hands of diviners and
herbalist even now that it has become
obvious to collaborate with them to improve
the quality and safety of such herbal
Ekeanyanwu, C.R. (2011). Traditional
medicine in Nigeria: Current status
and the future. Res. J. Pharmcol
: 5(6): 90-94.
A.H., Aziz, N., Ali, S. and Saeed, M.
(2000). Pharmacological basis for the use of
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Gregory, J. (2004). Herbal medicine, modern
pharmacology with clinical application. 6th
Edn. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins,
PA. USA. PP. 785-796.
Nwachukwu, C.U., Ijioma, B.C. and Onwukwe,
E.O. (2011). Medicinal plants and their
correlate use by the inhabitants of Ikeduru
LGA of Imo State Nigeria.
*IJRRAS*; 8(1): 123-126.
Sofowora, A. (2008). Medicinal plants and
traditional medicine in Africa. 3rd Edition,
Spectrum books Ltd. Ibadan, Nigeria.
Tattam, A. (1999). Herbal medicine heads for
the mainstream. Lancet; 353: 2222.
ASN-PH-020919 ISSN: 2315-537X