That plants are veritable sources of scientific bioactive drug discovery is attested to by the fact that many species of these plants are important condiments of observed efficacious traditional medicines and concoctions in developing countries. The study of naturally occurring compounds has evinced impressive advances in pharmacology, physiology and clinical medicine. Tropical plants will continue to provide mankind with a dynamic natural laboratory as sources of important medicines, food, cosmetics, and natural pharmaceutical excipients. The WHO recognizes Medicinal Plants as whole plant species or parts thereof whose extracts, decoctions in especially aqueous vehicles whose beneficial medicinal properties have been proven both by folkloric practice and experimental research. The use of Phytomedicines or ethnobotanicals in the form of processed herbs has already gained world-wide attention and acceptance. The use of these phytomedicines are not without some health hazards. Strong reports of medical complications due to use or intake of herbal remedies have been made. Herbal medicines which include plant extracts of ephedra, garlic, ginko, ginseng, kava, St. John's wort and valerian have been implicated in excessive bleeding during surgery, hypoglycaemia, cardiac abnormalities. Herbal remedies are known to have demonstrated serious drug interactions with conventional medicines. What is very worrisome in the Nigerian landscape is the very fact that many of these herbal preparations fail woefully as remedies for presupposed ailments. Items of information such as the afore-mention make it imperative that the physician goes the extra mile in determining the medication status of a patient before conventional prescriptions are made or before recommending a patient for surgery. This treatise attempts to explore the present status of traditional remedies, traditional medicine practice and plant or natural sources of acclaimed antimalarials of natural origin in Nigeria.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 49(5) 2006: 126-132