A list of herbal medicine in Nigeria
Herbal medicine is a traditional form of healing that has been practiced in Nigeria for centuries. It is a holistic approach to healthcare that employs plants and other natural ingredients to treat a variety of health issues.
We will provide a detailed list of the most commonly used herbal medicines in Nigeria, as well as the potential benefits they may provide.
What is herbal medicine?
Traditional medicine, according to the World Health Organization, is the combined knowledge, skills, and practices based on diverse cultures’ beliefs, theories, and experiences utilized in the nurturing of the well-being of people and the prevention, detection, amelioration, or treatment of physical and psychological diseases.
Despite the widespread use and impact of chemically synthesized drugs in the healthcare sector in many parts of the world, there are still certain developing countries, such as Nigeria, where a significant portion of the population relies heavily on traditional practitioners and herbal medicines for their primary healthcare needs.
Benefits of using herbal medicine
- Fewer side effects
- You become more in control of your health
- The emphasis of traditional medicine is holistic health
- Herbal medicines are more affordable
1. Fewer side effects
Herbal treatments are derived from natural plants and for that reason, they have relatively fewer side effects when compared to the synthetic chemicals used in making pharmaceuticals.
Although medicinal plants can be toxic, they are safe to consume when they undergo proper toxicology evaluation. This does not mean that herbs don’t have their disadvantages.
A common instance is the ordinary food we consume. These foods contain some chemical substances that are naturally safe for our consumption but also there are others that are potentially poisonous. However adequate preparation will avert these risks.
2. You become more in control of your health
To become more in control of your health, herbal medicine usage changes your perspective towards eating more fruits and vegetables. This change in lifestyle choices has proven to be better in the long run.
Asking your traditional healer questions regarding your diagnosis and goals of any recommended treatment can increase your sense of control. Frankly, this also applies to the use of synthetic drugs even as you establish clear communication with your healthcare provider by asking questions.
Alternative medicine practitioners encourage patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise to prevent illness.
3. The emphasis of traditional medicine is holistic health
When we say holistic, it means that herbal medicine emphasizes health and wholeness by considering the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person.
In retrospect, traditional healers believe in addressing the underlying causes of a problem rather than focusing on the symptom.
4. Herbal medicines are more affordable
Herbal treatments are much more affordable than synthetic drugs. This makes herbal treatments a more accessible option for individuals who may not have access to expensive medical care.
It is worth noting that accessibility and affordability of herbal medicine depend on a list of factors such as circumstances, location, cost, availability, and cultural attitudes. Hence, while some forms of herbal medicine may be more accessible than some synthetic drugs, this may not always be the case.
Risks of using herbal medicine
The dangers associated with herbal medicine can be attributed to the fact that these products are often introduced into the market without proper toxicological assessment.
Additionally, the lack of standardized dosages for consumers based on their age, genetics, and current pharmaceutical drug use further compounds these risks.
List of herbal medicines in Nigeria
It is crucial to properly identify and authenticate the plants used in herbal medicine in order to avoid any potential harmful effects.
- Agbo jedi-Jedi
- Agbo iba
- Moringa oleifera
- Garcinia kola
- Vernonia amygdalina
- Anacardium occidentale
1. Agbo jedi-Jedi
A study carried out in Lagos (which has a significant Yoruba population) showed that Agbo jedi-jedi was the most commonly used herbal medicine followed by agbo-iba.
This traditional Nigerian herbal mixture is believed to have various medicinal benefits. The medicine is made of barks, roots, and leaves and it is often used to treat back pain, hemorrhoids, impotence, malaria, typhoid fever, and stomach infection.
It is one of the most popular herbal medicine in Nigeria and many believe it to be effective against the medical conditions listed above.
Some of the ingredients used in preparing this medicine include ginger, honey, lemon, parsley, apple cider vinegar, and honey.
2. Agbo iba
Agbo-iba is a traditional herbal mixture used in Nigeria for the treatment of fever, pain, and malaria.
It is a concoction made up of two more medicinal plants just like Agbo jedi-jedi. This concoction has been found to have prophylactic action against malaria in mice in a study done by some scientists.
The concoction is made of pineapple peel, some pieces of lime, a big size of oranges, lemon grass, big-sized ginger, cloves of garlic, Lipton tea bags, and corn water. Boil all together for 20 minutes.
If you are considering using Agbo-iba or any other traditional herbal treatment, it is important that you consult a healthcare professional first and as well, a traditional healer who knows his job.
3. Moringa oleifera
The properties of Moringa oleifera have been found to be beneficial for the treatment of various ailments. It is used for water purification, improving immune system function, cell treatment, and digestive issues such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis.
Additionally, Moringa oliefera is sometimes used as a natural coagulant in water treatment.
4. Garcinia kola
The tropical plant known as bitter kola has been used for centuries in West African traditional medicine. This plant treats cough, throat infections, diarrhea, and colds.
A recent study was done and it showed that bitter kola has the potential to reduce blood sugar levels and improve knee joint stiffness – the substance kolaviron, obtained from kola, is responsible for this effect.
The plant’s seeds, stem, and leaves have medicinal value that treats inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
5. Vernonia amygdalina
In a nutshell, vernonia amygdalina can do these:
- Relieve stomach aches
- Help protect against prostate cancer
- Help enhance fertility
- Helps relieve fever
Vernonia amygdalina is a tropical African plant known as a bitter leaf. It is widely domesticated in Nigeria which makes it a household name.
6. Anacardium occidentale
This tropical evergreen tree is known as the cashew tree in Nigeria. It produces cashew nuts. Anacardium occidentale has a variety of medicinal uses. The bark, roots, stems and fruits of this plant have been used in traditional medicine.
Cashew tree extracts have been utilized in treating health conditions such as colds, asthma, congestion, and even malaria. The valuable antimicrobial properties of this plant aid in designing oral healthcare products.
It is best to consult a healthcare professional before using this or any other alternative treatment option.
Although there’s a growing interest in the use of herbal medicine in Nigeria, however, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the efficacy and safety of these herbal remedies.
Last Updated on September 9, 2023 by Our Editorial Team