Volume 7, Issue 1      January - March, 2019

African traditional medicine: relevance, regulation, potential challenges and possible remedies

Oluwafemi O Oguntibeju

Phytomedicine and Phytochemistry Group, Oxidative Stress Research Centre, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Bellville, 7535, South Africa


There is no doubt that advances have been made and significant improvement reported on the application of orthodox therapies in the management and treatment of various acute and chronic diseases. However, different reports seem to show that orthodox therapies are restricted by mechanisms of action, which tend to focus on the symptoms of the disease instead of the main cause. On the other hand, throughout history, African traditional medicine (ATM) using products majorly from medicinal plants have been applied to alleviate symptoms of various diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, infertility, parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Globally, information in respect of certain medicinal plants and their activities has been passed on from generation to generation. Fortunately, scientific studies have been able to confirm some of these claims and established the importance of medicinal plants in health care. Although African traditional medicine has contributed significantly to health care in Africa with over 80% of the population using African traditional medicine for their primary health service, it is faced with some challenges in term of its regulation and practice. Indiscriminate or non-regulated applications of various herbal medicines has put the health of people especially in African countries at the risk of toxicity or adverse effects or even death. It is for this reason that this paper examines the relevance of African traditional medicine, its regulation, the challenges associated with its regulation and the way forward.

Keywords: Medicinal Plants, Diseases, Treatment, Management, Tradition, Africa

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