The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency has said that 70 per cent of Nigerians still patronise herbal medicines, saying that it is as old as mankind.
The Director-General of NNMDA, Samuel Etatuvie, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja said it was not undermining the practice of orthodox medicines.
Etatuvie said that part of their mandate was to research, collect, and document herbal products that were indigenous and they already had researched 14 of such products.
The DG added that five of the products had been listed by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, while the rest were awaiting.
“Natural medicine practice is as old as mankind, the orthodox medicine came several decades after natural medicine which is mainly practiced in rural communities.
“Today in Nigeria and across the world, both natural and orthodox medicine is 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 indigenous natural medicines which have the capacity to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product when well harnessed.