The practices of traditional medicine dates back many centuries and have therefore been as “tried and tested” as many of the scientific medicines that can be more harmful and in many cases with a higher degree of side effects. The use of herbs and other organic substances by African traditional medicine is a practice now increasingly followed by western medicine. The use of herbal remedies is generally more effective and less invasive and aggressive than the scientific preponderance of scheduled drugs. African herbal medicine does not treat the symptoms but rather seeks to cure the causes of diseases.
Herbal Africa offers the distinct advantage of tried and tested herbal remedies backed by scientific research and ethno-botanical data (literature, African herbal doctors) and manufactured with care and in hygienic conditions.
Precautions when using Herbal Supplements
Herbal Supplements can interact with conventional medicines or have strong effects. Do not self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor or Health Professional before taking herbal supplements.
Herbal medicine is a part and parcel of and sometimes synonymous with African traditional medicine. It is the oldest and still the most widely used system of medicine in the world today. It is used in all societies and is common to all cultures. Herbal medicines, also called botanical medicines, vegetable medicines, or phytomedicines, as defined by World Health Organization (WHO) refers to herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations, and finished herbal products that contain whole plants, parts of plants, or other plant materials, including leaves, bark, berries, flowers, and roots, and/or their extracts as active ingredients intended for human therapeutic use or for other benefits in humans and sometimes animals
A detail of plant parts used in herbal medicines is as follows:
- Roots—i.e., the fleshy or woody roots of many African plant species are medicinal. Most of the active ingredients are usually sequestered in the root bark rather than the woody inner part.
- Bulbs —A bulb is an underground structure made up of numerous leaves of fleshy scales, e.g., Allium sativa (garlic) and Allium cepa (onions).
- Rhizomes—Woody or fleshy underground stem that grows horizontally and brings out their leaves above the ground, e.g., Zingiber officinale (ginger), which is used for respiratory problems; Imperata cylindrica (spear grass) for potency in men and Curcuma longa (turmeric), an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer drug.
- Tubers—Swollen fleshy underground structures which form from stems/roots, e.g., potatoes and yams such as Dioscorea dumetorum (ona-(igbo)) for diabetes and Gloriosa superba for cancer.
- Bark—The outer protective layer of the tree stem or trunk. It contains highly concentrated phytochemicals with profound medicinal properties. A host of plants have barks of high medicinal value.
- Leaves, stems, and flowers of many plants are also medicinal.
- Fruits and seeds also contain highly active phytochemicals and essential oils.
- Gums, exudates, and nectars, which are secreted by plants to deter insects and grazing animals and to seal off wounds, are very useful in the pharmaceutical industries.