The traditional health system plays a significant role in maintaining the well-being and health of the people. Yet evidence abounds showing that the traditional medication knowledge base is being eroded, heading towards oblivion.
According to WHO, traditional medicine is the totality of all knowledge and practices, whether, explicable or not used in diagnosing, preventing, or eliminating a physical, mental or social disequilibrium which relies exclusively on past experiences and observation handed down from generation to generation whether verbally or in writing.
In present-day Africa, there is an existing knowledge gap in the composition of traditional healing methods. This is observed by the few use of herbs, shrubs, roots, and flowers as first aid response and home remedy and the poor health status of the average people.
Going through the annals of history it is known that the traditional health system in Africa was a robust and well-advanced one. There were well-established approaches to treatment, such as the integrative approach that considers the lifestyles of patients in relation to their ailment and also the functional model which is intent on improving overall functions of the body while also exploring individual biochemistry and environment to determine underlying causes of diseases.
Diagnosis in this system was through inspection of the face, skin, and tongue, there was also an inquiry into the diet, and sleeping habits of an individual to know what to attribute as the cause of an ailment and how to treat it.
This traditional system of healing utilized an estimated 5,000 plant, animal, and mineral substances. Concoctions were made by distilling and combining herbs and other substances together, the herbs might also be dried and made into powder used with any liquid substance as its a vehicle.
plants mentioned below have been found to be of great usefulness in the traditional health system in Africa;
- Phyllanthus Niruri ( Olobe) Yoruba.
- Basil ( Ewe Efirin) Yoruba.
- Turmeric ( Atale Pupa) Yoruba.
- Clove ( Kanafuru) Yoruba.
- Aniseed ( Yansun ) Hausa.
- Chamomile ( Babunaj) Arabic.
- Senna Leave ( Asunwon Oyinbo) Yoruba.
- Mint Leave ( Nahana Leave ) Arabic.
- Black Pepper ( Iyere Dudu) Yoruba.
- Negro Pepper ( Eru) Yoruba.
- Fig ( Eso Opoto ) Yoruba.
- Hunteria Umbellata ( Abere) Yoruba.
- Aidan Fruit ( Aidan) Yoruba.
Traditional uses of these plants that have been recorded include gastrointestinal disorders, headache, heartburn, indigestion, liver and gall bladder tonic, malaria, allergies, blood diseases, boils (topical), childbirth difficulties, choleretic, diuretic, climacteric problems, dysmenorrhea, dyspepsia, edema, fever, fibromyalgia, fibrositis, migraines, myalgia, neuralgia analgesia, anorexia, antiarrhythmic, antidiabetic, antiphlogistic, antipyretic, appetite stimulant, arteriosclerosis, bitter tonic, , nicotine poisoning, sedative, skin cancer (topical), skin ulcers (topical), sores (topical), tendonitis, urinary tract infections.
Let it always be remembered that Africa always had a way of preserving health and removing infirmities with the resources within its domain.