To mark the 2019 African Traditional Medicine Day, pharmacists from the department of pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos recently held an awareness lecture and herbal product exhibition in Lagos.
The event themed: ‘Herbal Research, from Laboratory to the Market: the Asian Experience’ graced by a good number of pharmacists was the third annual symposium of the faculty in commemoration of African Traditional Medicine. The first edition was held in 2017.
Speaking at the event, Dr Ifeoma Orabueze, the chairman, planning committee, said that over 80 percent of the people in the developed world still depends on herbal medicine, noting that people in developing countries cannot afford to ignore herbal medicines.
While stating that the usefulness of herbal medicine in our world cannot be overemphasised, Dr Orabueze noted that African traditional medicine has kept our forefathers going for decades.
Speaking on the theme of the event, the guest speaker, Prof. Neelam S. Sangwan from Central University of Haryana, India stated that at least 7,000 medical compounds in the modern pharmacopoeia are derived from plants.
Explaining the usefulness of plant, Sangwan said, medicinal plants such as Aloe, Tulsi, Neem, Turmeric and Ginger can cure several common ailments.
She further stated that herbs like aloe, sandalwood, turmeric, sheetraj hindi and khare khasak are commonly used as antiseptic and are very high in medicinal values.
“These are considered as home remedies in many parts of the country. It is known fact that lots of consumers are using Basil (Tulsi) for making medicines, black tea, in pooja and other activities in their day to day life”, the professor stated.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Abimbola Showemimo, the acting head of department for pharmacognosy, Faculty of pharmacy, University of Lagos, said that traditional medicine are our heritage, adding that some of the use of herbs in the country have been passed down from generations.
“These herbal products today are the symbol of safety in contrast to the synthetic drugs, that are regarded as unsafe to human being and the environment,” Showemimo added.
The head of department for Pharmacognosy explained further that herbs have been priced for their medicinal, flavouring and aromatic qualities for centuries even though the synthetic products of the modern age surpassed their importance for a while.
She however stated that the era where people blindly depend on synthetic drug over herbal medicines is over, noting that people all over the world are now returning to the natural medicine because of its safety and security profile. “It’s time to promote them globally.” She said.
Explaining the reason for organising the programme, Dr Showemimo noted that the programme was a way of creating awareness about the safety and use of herbal medicine because of the adverse effect of a lot of the synthetic drugs.
Amongst the dignitaries at the event were: Prof. Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, vice-chancellor, UNILAG; Mr Robert Uzu, managing director, Ruzu Bitters; Dr Mr Olawale Olorunkemi; assistant director, Lagos State Ministry of Health/Coordinating Director, Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board; Prof. Glory Oluremilekun Ajayi, dean of Pharmacognosy and Prof. Boladele O. Silver, former dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy.