The world is turning its attention to the utilization of herbs for healing, cosmetics and culinary. The ground work for the use of herbs in healing predated most ancient civilizations. Various scriptures of many religions point to the use and efficacy of various medicinal plants in effecting cures. Many centuries ago, Hippocrates taught his students; ‘let food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food’. Hippocrates advocated the use of herbs like garlic, ginger, onions etc for the treatment of diseases.
Here in Africa, our forefathers employed the use of herbs for therapeutic purposes as well as for nutrition. They administered single or combination of herbs after the herbal ingredients have been subjected to some processes like boiling, burning [carbonization], extraction in palm wine or local gin etc. Fresh leaves and vegetation were at their disposal and served as the much needed raw materials for their healing feats and trade. Following the advent of civilization and urbanization, the need to develop an improved system of producing and packaging herbal or traditional medicine to have longer shelf life as well as reduce the effect of product’s degradation stemming from weather changes became imperative. The new generation of Africans more so find it more challenging to stem the tide of massive importation of foreign herbal medicinal products into our shores. They sense that if no pragmatic action is taken, the flooding of our markets with these products could lead to total eradication of an essential segment of our cultural heritage.
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