Herbal and traditional medicines are widely used in the country. Many of the drugs used in modern medicine today originate from plants and there is no doubt that new drugs can still be discovered from plants, including those indigenous to Nigeria. There is, therefore, a need for the government to provide adequate funds in institutions and universities to promote research in drug development, especially herbal medicine. Such research shall have demonstrable relevance to the needs of the society, with a high potential for immediate application.
The following list, of possible areas of research and interventions, which is by no means exhaustive should be supported with the provision of grants for their attainment by government and local and international development partners:
i. Rational use of herbal medicines;
ii. Formulation of a national policy on herbal medicinal plants and traditional medicines by the Federal Ministry of Health;
iii. Co-ordinated promotion, support and sponsorship of research on medicinal plants;
iv. Investigation of traditional medicines, particularly herbal medicines for efficacy, safety, and quality with a view to integrating them into the health care system;
v. Cultivation and management of herbaria to ensure conservation of medicinal herbs and sustainability of supplies
vi. Standardisation of products to ensure efficacy;
vii. Compilation of a compendium of herbal medicines;
viii. Collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health, and other relevant ministries and agencies (Universities, Ministries of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, National Institute for Medical Research and State Ministries of Health) to promote multidisciplinary inputs necessary for discovery, development and application of drugs from plants and other natural sources, in the search for useful medicines;
ix. Encouragement of the development of a “Code of Practice” by herbal medicine practitioners;
x. Regulation and control of advertisements of traditional medicine and practices by the government; and
xi. The protection of patents for efficacious and safe herbal medicines.