According to the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), 70% of Nigerians still use herbal remedies, which are as old as mankind.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Dr Samuel Etatuvie, Director-General of the NNMDA, stated that it is not undermining the practice of orthodox medicines.
Etatuvie stated that part of their purpose was to explore, collect, and document indigenous herbal products, and that they had previously researched 14 of them.
The D-G went on to say that five of the products had already been listed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), while the remainder were still seeking approval.
“Natural medicine practice is as old as mankind, the orthodox medicine came several decades after natural medicine which is mainly being practiced in rural communities.
“Today in Nigeria and across the world, both natural and orthodox medicine are being practiced concurrently.
“In Nigeria specifically, I can say that we have more than 70 per cent of Nigerians that patronise natural medicine practitioners because our rural areas do not have modern health care facilities.
“With respect to herbal medicine, we have herbal medicine practitioners or herbal products in each community,’’ he said.
Natural medicines apart from addressing health, Etatuvie said, were also associated with different purposes which include protection, the act of disappearance, massaging, colour management and traditional birth attendants, among others.
He, however, said the agency is committed to researching on indigenous natural medicines which have the capacity to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product when well harnessed.