Traditional herbal medicines used in neonates and infants less than six months old in Lagos Nigeria
Background: Herbal medicine use in children , adults and other groups have been documented but little information is known about the use herbal medicine mixtures in neonates and infants less than six months old. This is important because pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics changes between infants and adults may result in age-related differences in drug metabolism. This study was carried out to document the herbal medicines used for common ailments in neonates and infants less than six months in Lagos, Nigeria.
Methods: With the aid of questionnaires and personal interviews during field trips to herbal medicine markets and infant welfare clinics a survey was undertaken to collect information on herbal medicine use by neonates and infants less than six months from traditional healers and nursing mothers during July and September 2014. Demographic Information and types of herbal medicines used by the respondents, indications for their use and adverse effects of the herbal medicines they used were obtained.
Results: Medicinal plant species used for the treatment of common ailments including diarrhea , abdominal cramps , skin rashes, Fever (malaria) , jaundice, convulsions, Insomnia and weight loss in neonates and infants less than 6months were documented. A high percentage of the mothers (72%) agreed they used herbal medicines in neonates and infants, although 96% of them did not notice any adverse effect while 100% of the mothers perceived the herbs to be efficacious. Herbal medicines are administered as a polyherbal compound, containing 4-6 plants
Conclusion: The use of herbal medicines is common amongst neonates and infants less than six months old . Further studies on the efficacy and safety of these medicines which are administered as polyherbal mixtures is recommended.
Keywords: Herbal medicine sellers, Nursing mothers , Herbal medicines, Neonates, Infants less than 6 months, Ethno botanical survey