Some experts have called on all tiers of government in Nigeria to pay more attention to alternative and herbal medicine in order to boost healthcare delivery. This has remained an issue of national and international debate for decades now as to whether alternative medicine should be given the competitive attention with respect to conventional medicine and prescription drugs.
Several discussions and lectures organized by alternative medicine activists on the need to pay attention to alternative medicine has been ongoing for many years now. It was during one of such lectures that Dr Akintunde Ayeni, President of Yemkem Group, said Nigeria was endowed with lots of natural medicines.
Ayeni in his lecture entitled, “Nature and Human Health”, said that natural medicines have capacity to cure many serious and life threatening ailments which have defied interventions by orthodox medicine. He listed social psychiatry, hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy and other psychosomatic diseases as some of the ailments which natural medicines have the capacity of curing.
“Our governments should prioritise development of herbal medicine through keeping inventory and documentation of medicinal plants and herbs. They should establish local botanical gardens, potent regulatory body for traditional medicine practice and set up testing laboratories with adequate facilities to ensure quality control in herbal production,’’ Ayeni said.
Ayeni said that herbal medicine practitioners across the country had ensured tremendous improvement on packaging strategies. He said they had also evolved measures aimed at addressing the fears on measurability, dosage, preparation, documentation, preservation, potency and determination of side effects of traditional medical care.
“I want to assure the public that over 70 per cent shortcomings have been rectified while the remaining 30 per cent is receiving required attention,” he said
Also speaking, Taiye Ayorinde, the Baale of Ekotedo in Ibadan, urged Nigerians to take advantage of the efficacy of traditional medicine if they desired to live long.
Ayorinde, who was the Chairman of the occasion, said he was rescued from blindness through the application of herbs after spending his first three years on earth with visual impairment.
Earlier, Mr Adewunmi Faniran, the Oyo State NUJ Chairman, said that alternative medicine had the potential to heal many illnesses ravaging the country and its people. He said the economy would also get a boost if adequate attention was given.
Reasons why some people choose herbal medicines
Using medicinal herbs sometimes becomes the option for several individuals rather than using medical drugs. Let’s review some reasons why medicinal herbs remain a preferred choice for some people.
The rising cost of prescription drugs have led the people to look for alternatives. While medicinal herbs may not be as strong or as fast acting as conventional medicine, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows their efficacy and in what doses.
They may also have fewer side effects. Even though the side effects of any herbal medication depend on the drug in question, many have fewer side effects than conventional medicine. For example, St. John’s Wort, which is used for mild to moderate depression, has fewer side effects than most other prescriptive antidepressants.
There seems to also be a variety of choices on how to use them. Medicinal herbs can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the kind of herb that is to be used. Some herbs can be mixed with food. Some can be made into tea, and there are some that are available in capsule or tablet form.
Finally and perhaps one of the most controversial reason is that they are said to be good for more than one condition. Most prescriptive drugs are designed for one specific health problem but by contrast, many herbal medicine are said to act on several parts of the body at once.