Herbal medicine is a system of medical treatment in which various part of different plants are used in order to treat symptoms and to promote health. Herbal medicine was the most common medical treatment in most culture of many centuries. A look at the past indicates that we owe a great debt to Hippocrates. Before his famous speech on natural remedies about 400 BC, people believed that the gods were responsible for the illness. It was Hippocrates who taught that diseases have natural causes and that the body has the power to repair itself. In language of Dr. John Mckena renowned herbalist in South Africa, herbal medicine is the mother of all medicines. Time and other constrains may not allow a detailed history of herbal medicine but records show that the ancient Egyptians , the Babylonians, the Greeks and England in the days of Queen Elizabeth, the first, used herbs to record impressive results in treatment of diseases.
Today, the use of herbal has reached advanced state in Asian countries. India, China, Pakistan and Indonesia have all attained high level of technology in herbal medicine. In Nigeria, though one will not doubt that the use of herbs has been in practice before the white men came, the methodology is still at the crude level. The lion shares of herbal doctors are in the villages where they combine their practice with agriculture and live a typical illiterate life. This is the basis upon which herbal practitioners are seen as fetish, uneducated and local.
However, the last two decades has witnessed the emergency of well talented, educated, versatile herbal doctors. These coupled with the support of the Federal Government through policy formulation and the establishment of Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency, to identify and promote the research activities of Herbal Doctors and Nigeria Agency for food and Drug Administration and control (NAFDAC) to confirm the non-toxicity and safety of herbal formulation. Herbal medicine has become the thing in our medical environment. Herbal Herbal Homes such as Yem-Kem International (Nig) Ltd can rub shoulder with any western fashioned hospital be it in terms of administration, research, facilities and responsiveness to health care delivery campaign of the government. I am of the view that this millennium belongs to herbal medicine and this is no exaggeration.
There is no doubt that there are inherent benefits in the use of herbal medicine. Indeed, the benefits have no end, but below are some advantages inbued in the use of herbal medicine to human race:
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