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HEALTH 101: Plants, Ethnomedicine and Drug Discovery

By Lawal Fadekemi

Ethnomedicine is the study of different cultural approaches to health, disease, and illness. It is the use of nature in local healing systems for easy and quick cure straight from mother nature, plants.

HEALTH 101: Plants,Ethnomedicine and Drug Discovery
Medical Plants and Herbs

Plants have the miraculous treasure of numerous compounds with abilities to cure diseases and make immunity strong, however, The role of ethnomedicine in modern drug discovery is just as unappreciated as the plants involved in their practice.

According to WHO fact sheet 2008, about 80% of the population in Asia and Africa depend on plant-derived traditional medicine, therefore; more attention should be focused on the valuable information that is relayed over generations of traditional healers.

Drug-like activities of plants or plant products, including antiviral activity, have been attributed to the secondary metabolites of plants, mainly alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, quines, terpenes, lignans, tannins, polysaccharides, a steroidal glycoside, thiosulfates, proanthocyanidin, and proteins.

Plant-derived Natural Health Product (NHPs) are used worldwide for disease prevention and healing in ethnomedicine practices in humans. compounds in plants often are secondary metabolites and are also known as natural products.

Plants such as bitter Kola contains vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron, also carry other antioxidants. It increases sex drive and serves as an active anti-malaria agent amongst all other benefits.

Ginger and Tumeric Both have also been used to help relieve pain, decrease nausea, and enhance immune function to help protect against illness and infection. Its medicinal properties are mostly due to the presence of phenolic compounds, including gingerol, a chemical thought to possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Some others with medicinal values include bitter leaf, pawpaw, both leaf and fruit, kola nut, cucumber amongst all others.

Research has shown that Herbal medicine asks a lot but gives the practitioner more in return.

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