How The African Traditional Medicine Has Been Neglected Despite It's Ability To Cure Sickness And Diseases.
This article talks about how the African traditional medicine has been neglected and modern medicine has taken over despite the healing ability of the traditional medicine.
Medicinal plants are an integral part of the African healthcare system since time immemorial. Interest in traditional medicine can be explained by the fact that it is a fundamental part of the culture of the people who use it and also due to the economic challenge: on one side, the pharmaceutical drugs are not accessible to the poor and on the other side, the richness and diversity of the fauna and flora of Africa are an inexhaustible source of therapies for panoply of ailments.
Nonetheless, there is still a paucity of clinical evidence to show that they are effective and safe for humans. Without this information, users of traditional medicinal plants in Africa and elsewhere remain skeptical about the value of such therapies. This denies people the freedom to choose plants that are potentially less costly and are more accessible. Another issue concerning the use of botanical remedies is the need to understand the safety of these therapies. For these reasons, information about efficacy and safety of traditional medicines is urgently required. The present paper has endeavoured to overview just a few common medicinal plants from the African continent which have short- as well as long-term potential to be developed as future phytopharmaceuticals to treat and/or manage panoply of infectious and chronic conditions. Within the framework of enhancing the significance of traditional African medicinal plants, aspects such as traditional use, phytochemical composition, and in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies pertaining to the use of these plants have been explored.
During the last few decades, it has become evident that there exists a plethora of plants with medicinal potential and it is increasingly being accepted that the African traditional medicinal plants might offer potential template molecules in the drug discovery process. Many of the plants presented here show very promising medicinal properties thus warranting further clinical investigations. Nonetheless, only few of them have robust scientific and clinical proofs and with a significant niche market (e.g., Aloe ferox, Artemisia afra, Aspalathus linearis, Centella asiatica, and Pelargonium sidoides) and a lot more have yet to be explored and proved before reaching the global market.
Without effective quality control, consistency and market value of the herbal product may be compromised. Indeed, one of the main constraints to the growth of a modern African phytomedicine industry has also been identified as the lack of proper validation of traditional knowledge and also the lack of technical specifications and quality control standards. This makes it extremely difficult for buyers, whether national or international, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of plants and extracts, or compare batches of products from different places or from year to year. This is in marked contrast with Europe and Asia where traditional methods and formulations have been recorded and evaluated both at the local and national levels. This would also tend to justify why the level of trade of phytomedicines in Asia and Europe is blooming more than those in Africa.
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