Fr Adodo, Iwu, Others Slam Critics of Traditional Medicine Practice

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-As UNILAG Celebrates African Traditional Medicine Day

Eminent traditional medicine practitioners in the country, including Rev.Fr Anselm Adodo, the director of Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories and Prof. Maurice Iwu, chairman, Bio-Resources Development Group (BDG), have described criticisms against the efficacy, validity and efficiency of herbal medicines as fictitious and unfounded, saying orthodox method of treatment is not the only valid healthcare approach, as there are other ways of obtaining healthcare that are equally valid.

Fr Adodo, Iwu, Others Slam Critics of Traditional Medicine Practitioners
Dignitaries at the 2018 African Traditional Medicine Day, organised by the Model Herbal Clinic,UNILAG, in a group photograph, shortly after the programme.

The experts made this submission at the commemoration of the 2018 African Traditional Medicine (ATM) Day, organised by the Model Herbal Clinic, Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG), at the Old Great Hall, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, recently.

Addressing participants at the event, Fr Adodo noted that the history of herbal medicine is the same as history of medicine generally, and that it is quite unfortunate that ‘some chemically –minded persons’ are criticizing natural medicines today, forgetting that medicine is one, and it has the same function, which is to provide healing.

Fr Adodo, Iwu, Others Slam Critics of Traditional Medicine Practitioners
Rev. Fr Anselm Adodo, delivering his keynote address at the programme.

The experts made this submission at the commemoration of the 2018 African Traditional Medicine (ATM) Day, organised by the Model Herbal Clinic, Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG), at the Old Great Hall, College of Medicine, Uniersity of Lagos, Idi-Araba, recently.

Addressing participants at the event, F Adodo noted that the history of herbal medicine is the same as history of medicine generally, and that it is quite unfortunate that ‘some chemically –minded persons’ are criticizing natural medicines today, forgetting that medicine is one, and it has the same function, which is to provide healing.

Speaking further, the Ewu Monk said the criticisms about the dosage, lack of scientific proof of efficacy, lack of standardization and safety, as well as lack of objectivity levelled against herbal medicine “can only come from the chemically-minded observers, who have not sat down to study the background and culture in which herbal medicines have grown”, saying in order to properly respond to the criticisms, it is important that one understands that herbs are used as food, supplement, as well as drug.

According to him, the disapproval for lack of precise dosage only applies when dealing with chemicals or synthesized plant extracts, as precise dosage is important when dealing with such substances, in order to avoid overdosing. “However, when herbs are used as food or as a supplement, precise dosage does not really apply, as the body simply takes the number of nutrients it needs and the rest are excreted, so it is  wrong to impose a ‘chemical mentality’ on the use of herbs generally,” he said.

“It is not disputable that western medicine was derived from herbal medicine, and that orthodox medicine cannot exist without herbal medicine, so it is high time people stopped capitalising on few errors from traditional medicine practitioners to condemn the practice entirely.

“We have seen cases of orthodox practitioners giving wrong medications, and this does not in any way translate to the condemnation of the healthcare givers. So why do people derive pleasure in running down the traditional medicine practice, once there is any mistake from any of the practitioners?”.

In his goodwill message, Prof. Maurice Iwu, who described the theme of the programme, “Effective and Safe Use of Herbs” , as apt reiterated the need to recognise herbal practitioners, as well as train them to produce refined herbal medicines, saying it is important that the research aspect of our traditional medicine be developed, adding that it is imperative that we cultivate our medicinal plants and do it in such a way that the world will benefit from what we are doing.

Iwu, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who was represented by Mrs Georgina Idoko, further noted the importance of incorporating some aspects of African Traditional Medicine into modern clinical practice, as done in China, India and other countries, as this will greatly enhance healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

Other dignitaries at the event included :Maj. Gen Olasehinde Ishola Williams, executive secretary, Pan-African Group (PANAFSTRAG), who was represented by Mrs Arinola Bello; Pharm. Moshood Lawal, director, Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health; Prof. Bolajoko Aina, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNILAG, who was represented by Dr  Chukwuemeka Azubuike, sub-dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, UNILAG; Dr (Mrs) A. A Sowemimo, acting head of department, Pharmacognosy, UNILAG; Pharm. (Mrs) A. A.  Adegun, chairman, Local Organising Committee, among others.

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