Herbal Medicine is a Gold Mine – Iwu

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Chairman, Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), Professor Maurice Iwu has said that Herbal Medicine is a gold mine because Nigeria can generate more revenue from earnings of herbal and traditional medicine.

Iwu who also outlined the advantages of herbal medicine said this while briefing journalists on the Herbal, Health Food and Natural Expo (HERBFEST) 2015.

HERBFEST will hold in Abuja from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8, the theme of the expo is “Food as a Medicine: Utilization and Sustainable Exploitation of African Medicinal Plants and Natural Products.’’

Iwu said “Now, with the lowered income from petroleum and the need to diversify our economy, we need an Expo like this to showcase the abundance of resources deposited in Nigeria but remained untapped.

“Nigeria is so endowed that we should be able to compete with other countries in adding to our income stream things that come out from herbal products.

“Herbal medicine is an area where many countries are looking at, yet we have not looked into this area to any significant level.

“We know what happens in China, a lot of people in this country buy products from them and also India where people buy a lot of food supplements.

“This event will help indigenous manufacturers to interface with foreign businessmen and see how they can do their businesses together.

“As we speak, there are over 48 commercial plants from Nigeria and 30 of these plants are food plants.

“We are hoping that one day, herbal medicine practitioners will be able to look at the global trend and key into scientific traditional trend.

“We are convinced that traditional medicine is the key into the future of Nigerian health system.

“Last month, the U.S. reported that the growth in herbal dietary supplement, herbal medicine and functional food is 200 million dollars with growth rate of 8 per cent.

“We have a lot of these functional foods like cashew nuts, even cocoa is an antioxidant proven to fight cardiovascular diseases, we also have dogonyaro.

“What we lack mainly in Nigeria is awareness of the abundance of these herbs; even today, many don’t know the efficacy of bitter leaf which is good for fighting diabetes, while some know.

“We depend too much on consumption of foreign products, especially herbal foods in spite of the fact that government has well laid out policy encouraging herbal practise and production.

“It is dangerous to eat food that is not processed in Nigeria because there is no way they can bring it in even from closest neighboring state without putting chemicals into it.’’

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