Can Food Crop Medicine Reduce Pressure on Forest Harvest in Nigeria?
Awareness created in the social media through smart phones had popularized the practice of using food crop parts such as leaves, fruits, roots and seeds to treat common illness which had hitherto been treated with herbs from the wild. This study investigated whether the use of food crops for medicine can reduce pressures of harvesting medicinal plants from the forest. A combination of three research methods: structured questionnaire survey; informal discussions with stakeholders in food crop medicines and observations on collection and preparation of food crop medicines were used to collect data. Simple random sampling method was used to select 62 respondents for questionnaire survey and discussion groups in Ota Ogun State, Nigeria. Data were presented in tables and percentages. A Chi-square analysis was used to test the research hypothesis. Results derived from data analyses indicated that food crop medicine (FCM) was: (i) widely used; (ii) fully accepted; (iii) gradually reducing pressures in natural forests; and (iv) used to compliment indigenous traditional medicine. A conclusion was reached that FCM had come to stay as a major primary health delivery. Moreover, FCM has found a place in herbal treatments of diseases.
Keywords: Food crop medicine, Traditional medicine, Traditional plants, Natural forests, Herbs.
The Faculty of Science, Federal University Dutse. Jigawa State, Nigeria.