The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) said that 70 per cent of Nigerians still patronise herbal medicines, saying that it is as old as mankind.
Dr. Samuel Etatuvie, Director-General of NNMDA, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja said it is not undermining the practice of orthodox medicines.
Etatuvie said that part of their mandate was to research, collect, document on herbal products that were indigenous and they already had researched 14 of such products.
The D-G added that five of the products had been listed by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), while the rest are awaiting.
“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.