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Herbal medicine: from myth to reality

Herbal medicine: from myth to reality

African medical practice,over the years has been shroud in secrecy,sorcery and uncertainty, this,among other reasons are why health professionals had viewed it with a pinch of salt. However, today, the story is changing, African medicine is moving towards evidence-based medicine, says a key player and Director of Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories (PAXHERBALS), Fr. Anselm Adodo.

This progress, according to Father Adodo, who spoke at the Seventh National Congress of Pax health care providers, which is an association of all distributors, agents and scientists, would make African medicine evidence-based.

He said the era of describing African Traditional medicine as fetish and pagan has long gone.

Fr Adodo lamented: “Nigeria is still busy discussing whether herbal medicine is a good source of healthcare or not while countries, such as China and India have already invaded the world herbal market like a colossus”.

He continued: “While the yearly world market for herbal medicine is estimated at over $100 billion, Nigerian professionals are busy attending seminars to convince people of the efficacy of herbal medicine, while others are standing by the ringside complaining about charlatans”.

The monk called on the scientific community to join hands to develop African herbal medicine.

Director-General, Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Mr Sam Etatuvie praised PAXHERBALS for its determination to open new frontiers in herbal medicine research.

He said his agency will collaborate with Paxherbals in working out a model of clinical trials of herbal products and other Nigerian herbal products in line with international regulations.

The Chief Medical Director of Irrua specialist Teaching Hospital, Dr. Sylvanus Okogbenin, represented by Dr Peter Akhinor, said Paxherbals is not just an herbal medicine manufacturer but a full-blown research institute that is ready to move towards clinical research and scientific verification of the claims of its herbal products.

Okogbenin, who chaired the committee set up the teaching hospital to discuss clinical collaboration with Paxherbals, said he was initially skeptical about the prospects of such a proposed partnership, but his doubts got dispelled after learning about the serious research initiatives of PAXHERBALS.

He said that he was satisfied with PAXHERBALS reputation as it currently trains over 38 science students from five Nigerian universities.

The Commissioner for Health, Edo State, Dr Aihanuwa Eregie, represented by the state’s Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Dr. Godwin Okonofua, thanked PAXHERBALS for their achievement in changing the face of herbal medicine in Nigeria and Africa, and thus encouraged them to remain steadfast in their mission.

Other speakers at the congress were the Catholic Bishop of Uromi Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. Gabriel G. Dunia, Vice Chancellor, Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa, Prof. Bernard Aigbokhan, Deputy-Vice Chancellor (academics), Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Prof. Jack Aigbodion, Head, Microbiology Department, AAU, Ekpoma, Prof. Mrs. E. Ohenen and Prof. MacDonald Idu of the Department of Phytomedicine, University of Benin (UNIBEN), among others.
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