Here in this post, we are going to bring you a detailed list of medicinal plants in Nigeria and their uses. We hope you find this post invaluable.
20 Most Popular Medicinal Plants in Nigeria and Their Uses
Medicinal plants as defined by World Health Organization as a plant in which some or all its parts are used in management of certain illness.
The attention of industries in tropical rain forest especially in Nigeria have moved their interest in herbal medicine rather than orthodox medicine due to the economic predicament of the people.
In West Africa, new orthodox drugs are not affordable hence more use of herbs of medicinal plants. Most preparation of herbal remedies can take forms like decoction or infusions which are extraction means of getting the active ingredient from leaves or other plants parts or direct use of such parts.
Decoction preparations are made traditionally by boiling the medicinal plant part with water and then the extract fluid is taken e.g. Preparation of dogoyaro.
Infusions on the other hand are derived by pouring an already boiled water on top of the plant part to collect extract e.g. preparation of Scent leaf infusion using leaf as the plant part ,though trends in the use of scent leaf by scientist over Nigeria have come to agree that decoction of scent leaf has antibacterial effect when used traditional mouth wash but an infusion prepared from such leaf are used for patients with diarrhea.
Nigeria is a country which is part of West Africa with over 250 ethnic groups and language and known for their diverse use of plants for both ethnomedical use (plants used based on the belief by different ethnic groups.
An important note was noted that some medicinal plants may have the same name but are so much different from each other and also same plants but in a different geographical location may be used for different purposes e.g. bitter leaf known as
‘ewuro’ by the Yoruba tribe is commonly used by herbalist to patients with diabetes but in the southern area of Nigeria are used for treating burns or skin infections.
Classification of some medicinal plants based on their medicinal properties with the plant parts used in Nigeria are as follows
- Antimalarial Properties – lemon grass (leaves),Mango(leaves),Dogoyaro(leaves)
- Antidiabetic properties– Garlic, Aloe vera and onion
- Pain relief – Moringa (leave)
- Skin infections – Aloe vera( mucilage from leaf) and bitter leaf
- Antidiarrheal properties – Ginger (rhizome) and scent leaf etc.
- Erectile dysfunction – Bitter kola (nut)
- Bitter Kola (Nut) B. Zobo flowers(wine colored)
- Ogbono (Africa Mango) D. Lemon grass
- African Cherry (Prunus Africana) F. Scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum)
A system of scientific naming was known to be a great success in great use to identify plants in the Nigeria herbarium.
Some Plants characterized by these scientific naming such as ocimum gratissimum commonly recognized as ‘scent leaf’ for its spicy smell.
These scent leaf through use of the leaf for preparation of infusion has been used in the south-west and East of Nigeria effective against diarrhea and stick from the plant is used as chewing stick due to its antibacterial effect.
Read Also: 12 Health Benefits Of Coconut Oil
Some Medicinal Plants within Diverse Ethnic Groups In Nigeria
A list of common medicinal plants used by the Otuo tribe of Owan East local government area Edo State were noted by researchers on herbs included the Lemongrass, orange (known as omoka), Dogoyaro, pineapple (oghakha), pawpaw (Ayaba), African cucumber (Elohn), guava (Egova) and waterleaf known.
Also, companies such as Pax herbals have gained successful in sales of unique herbal product e.g. bitter leaf prepared as decoction beneficial to members of Epkoma and Ewu-Esun community in Edo state.
Over the years, a major research centre in the drug and research production unit of Obafemi Awolowo University after the discovery from the late Prof Abayomi Sofowora had made huge success in the use of four major plants in combination in the form of decoction to treat malaria.
The decoction was known to constitute of mango leaf, Morinda leaves (oruwo), dogoyaro leaves and leaf of the stool wood (known as ‘awun’ by the Yoruba tribe).
The research was till useful till date in curing malaria and sold to the indigenous people of the south-west of Nigeria as a brand known as ‘MAMA decoction’.
Also, the unripe fruit of pawpaw plant has been used by the Yoruba tribe for fever and as a treatment in diabetes and sickle cell patient.
Enlisted Nigeria Plants Proposed By the National Mirror Committee Recommended By the African Region Standard Organization
The African regional standard organization, an intergovernmental body formed by the African union intends to adopt 10 medicinal plants from Nigeria.
These set of plants intended to
- capture food as medicine and
- and are considered resourceful to improve ,harmonize and standardize traditional medicine practice in Africa
Common name: Moringa or drum stick
Scientific name: Moringa Oleifera
Yoruba name: Ewe ile
Hausa name: Habiwal
Igbo name: Ikwe beke
Ethno medicinal use: 1.Use of Leaves as (A) natural booster
(B) Ulcer, inflammation and pain and cures headache
- Use of flower: Flowers boiled with soymilk have been noted for aphrodisiac quality
- Use of fruit: Research till goes on the fruit as it shows chance of boosting sperm count in
2. Bitter Kola
Scientific name: Garcina Kola
Yoruba name: Orogbo
Igbo name: Ugbolo
Hausa name: Cida goro
Ethno medicinal use: Bitter kola are used for enhancing sexual activity and also pain relief
3. Bitter leaf
Scientific name: Vernonia amygdalina
Yoruba name: ewuro
Igbo name: Onugbu
Hausa name: Chusar doki
Ethno medicinal use: leaves of bitter leaf is used as decoction is predominant in South west of Nigeria to manage diabetes and Edo state for treating skin infection
Scientific name: Anacardium occidentale
Yoruba name: Kantonoyo
Igbo name: Kachu
Hausa name: Jambe
Ethno medicinal uses: Seed products are used as anti- diabetic
5. Scent leaf
Scientific name: Ocimum gratissimum
Yoruba name: Effirin
Igbo name: arigbe
Ethno medicinal use: leaves are commonly used for the treatment of diarrhea in form of infusion and for headache
Scientific name: Irvingia gabonensis
Yoruba name: aapon
Igbo name: ogbono
Ethno medicinal use: Ogbono soup helps overweight persons to shed weigh and lower high blood pressure
7. Yellow yam or bitter yam
Scientific name: Dioscorea bulbifera
Ethno medicinal uses: For treatment of diarrhea
Scientific name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
Ethno medicinal uses: Decoction of its wine colored flower protects from chances of prostate cancer
9. African cherry
Scientific Name: Prunus Africana
Ethno medicinal use:
(1). Decoction of the bark is used for treatment of stomach ache and wound dressing
(2). Infusion of leaves is used traditionally to improve appetite despite its fruits is mostly generally used for its antioxidant properties (supplement of vitamins)
Ethno medicinal use : Though less used has gained grounds due to its wide range of medicinal activity of its dried powdered leaves and seeds as antimalarial , antimicrobial, antiviral and antidiarrheal effect etc.
Though more research in new plants is still undergoing by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development despite limits by the toxic effect of some medicinal plant as well as intangible documentation on new plants suspected to till be of use.
Hence a consistent approach to make already establish medicinal product available in the herbal market with both efficacy and effectiveness with minimal or no harm under recommendation and assistance of National Administration for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
Written By: Peter Dibia
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