Federal government has been urged to explore the huge potentials inherent in herbal medicine to grow the nation’s economy.
Professor Paul Alozie Nwafor of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo made the call at the weekend while delivering the 69th inaugural lecture of the Institution with the theme ‘’’My Interswitch from Fertility- Regulating plants (Contraceptives) To Aphrodisiacs.’’
The university don who identified herbal medicine as the most neglected sectors of pharmaceutical practice in Nigeria noted that they potentially hold the greatest promise both for entrepreneur pharmacist and the Nigerian economy.
He warned that if Nigeria fails to urgently explore this potent economic sector, foreigners would take the advantage of our huge population and occupy the space.
“Already, Chinese and Malaysian herbal medicine of different shapes and measures has made serious inroads into the country and are making huge profit, this is a wake up call for our pharmaceutical industries to look inward.
“Herbal medicine is a $100 billion industry and our hope is to stimulate interest both of industrialists and the general public to the enormous potential this sector holds.
“It is something worth exploring that could add positively to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and could bring some sort of income for the whole country,’’ he said.
Nwafor stressed the need for extensive research in plants that has anti-contraceptives effects which could lead to establishment of local pharmaceutical companies and create more jobs for the teeming population.
‘’Nigeria is blessed with many medicinal plants: six of which are in demand all over the world with an estimated aggregate market of $55million.
‘’Another twenty major plants could also be cultivated here and promoted as substitutes for highly prized botanicals with a potential market of $200million.
“If these are produced into herbal medicines and cosmetics, their net value will increase even more,’’ he stated.
Professor Nwafor who advocated the incorporation of herbal medicine into the nation’s primary health care system advised citizens on regular consumption of green vegetables, grains and fruits in order to reduce incidences of metabolic diseases.
In his remarks, the vice chancellor of University of Uyo, Professor Enefiok Essien congratulated the inaugural lecturer for his brilliant and educative lecture.
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