By Dayo Johnson, Akure
University of Medical Sciences, UNIMED, Ondo is set to start courses in herbal medicine.
Its Vice Chancellor, Prof Friday Okonofua, said a special and scientifically based curriculum would be designed for the programme, so that people would not mistake it for local herbalists’ package.
He noted that the future of Africa depended on herbal drugs and that the institution would establish a farm where herbal plants could be generated.
The professor of medicine said the decision to introduce herbal medicine from next academic session was taken after considering the role herbs play in drug discovery.
He said, “Plants have been used for medicinal purposes for so long in Africa while researches have shown that people in different parts of the world use plants and herbs for healing purposes and one cannot rule out the potency”.
According to him, the move would allow the institution to contribute to the development of herbal medicine in the world but said this is not to encourage fetish activities.
Okonofua said a pharmaceutical company would be established in Ondo State where the efficacy of herbs and plants will be established.
The VC disclosed that the university had been positioned for the treatment of breast cancer and other life threatening diseases.
The institution, he stated, would research into herbal drugs with a view to extracting active ingredients to treat ailments.
He, however, lamented that herbs were going into extinction because of lack of protection and nurturing.