THE Federal Ministry of Health has inaugurated a 16-man expert committee for the review of the first edition of the Nigeria Herbal Pharmacopoeia in recognition of the global upsurge in the use of herbal and traditional medicines and its potential for wealth creation.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Clement Uwaifo, who inaugurated the committee in Abuja said Nigeria was blessed with vast bio-diversity of different medicinal herbal species, many of which had remained untapped.
Mr Uwaifo, in a release signed by the Health Ministry’s Director, Media and Public Relations, Mrs Boade Akinola, stated the need for a scientifically organise information and documentation on useful medicinal herbs that were found efficacious in the management and treatment of several ailments in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, therefore, charged members of the committee to be chaired by Professor Maurice Iwu to put in their expertise and explore more herbal medicinal plants not captured in the first edition.
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He said the committee should take a cue from countries with various editions of Herbal Pharmacopoeia such as Ghana and India to update and adopt plants with similar agronomical proportion with a view of coming up with a second edition.
Responding on behalf of the other members of the committee, the acting Chairman, Professor Tony Elujoba, said that the Herbal Pharmacopoeia represented the official documentation of medicinal plants, their values, and standardisation of quality and quantity.
The document, according to Elujoba, was also to serve as a guide to herbal production, quantity control, and assurance, so that people who used herbal medicinal products would be sure of their efficacy and safety standard.
The First edition of Nigeria Herbal Pharmacopoeia published with the support of World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2008, contained 42 commonly used medicinal plants in Nigeria.
Twenty-two (22) of the cultivated plants were indigenous to Nigeria, 18 were introduced into Nigeria from other countries, while only two were not grown in appreciable quantities in the country and as such predominantly imported.
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