An Overview of Herbal Medicine Research and Development in Nigeria
The research pattern in medicinal plants and traditional medicine practices in Nigeria is largely unknown. Hence this paper examined such research patterns with a view to determining how the country fared in herbal medicine research and development. The study also identified the number of herbal medicine scientific research outputs. Factors that mar herbal medicine research were discussed. Descriptive analytical technique was adopted in analyzing the secondary data obtained from the book of abstracts of published research findings on Nigerian medicinal plants and traditional medicines practices for 42 years (1970-2012). Results showed that the most researched areas in herbal medicines were in the anti-infective drugs, gastro-intestinal tract drugs, analgesics, cardiovascular drugs, hypoglycemic, and mollucicidal in that order. The study also revealed that much work is yet to be done in other vital areas such as hormones, anti-viral agents, ear nose and throat (ENT), hemorrhoids and neurological disorder. Thus, it recommended among other things, that herbal medicine research and development should be intensified in the above –mentioned least-researched areas, if Nigeria intends to meet the health challenges of the 21st century.
Key words: Medicinal Plants, Patterns, Traditional Medicine Practices.