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While Nigerian medical doctors and pharmacists engage in battle of supremacy, their counterparts in Asia are developing traditional medicine into a global transformative venture.

A Catholic priest and monk, Rev. Father Anselm Gbenga Adodo stated this in an interview and described herbal medicine as big business in the world while calling on government and other stakeholders to invest in the industry.

Adodo who is a specialist in Alternative and Complementary Medicine and Phytomedicine Research as well as a Monk of the Benedictine Monastery, is the Founder and Director of Nigeria’s foremost herbal research Institute, the Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories, popularly called Paxherbals based in Ewu, Edo State.

Paxherbals is one of the organisations spearheading the search for indigenous cure for COVID-19.

In an interview earlier published by an online platform, The Nigerian Democratic Report the priest spoke on how herbal medicine can transform Nigeria’s economy and other issues in this exclusive interview.

Excerpts:

“We have been having lots of meetings and dialogues for a long time now. In Nigeria, there are hundreds of seminars and conferences on every topic under the earth. We seem to have an infinite capacity for talking. If our roof is leaking, we organize a conference before we mend it. If our house is on fire, we first of all organize a seminar on how to handle fire-outbreak before we quench the fire. If flood is wiping out our towns and villages, we summon a stakeholders’ summit to discuss it even while our children are drowning. Nigerians can sit down all day discussing about the way forward, how to move the nation forward, which direction to follow, and how quickly to arrive there. What is often lacking is the will, the determination, the sincerity, and clarity of purpose to make a difference

“Herbal medicine practice is not just about preparing concoctions. It is much complex than that. We also must identify, conserve and document the therapeutic properties of the plants in our society. In many indigenous societies, when a knowledge-bearer dies, his knowledge dies with him. With every old person who dies in our villages, the equivalent of a library is lost. Today, we speak of protecting the environment and our rare species of plants and animals. However, equally important is the need for national and international efforts to protect and preserve indigenous knowledge, especially local medical knowledge. There’s also need to adapt a community-oriented approach to herbal medicine research. Scientific enquiry cannot be devoid of the subjectivity of the subject and the immediate environment. The properties of a papaya leaf, for example, should not just be tested in a laboratory. One also needs to understand how a community thinks about and uses it. This approach should be an integral part of the scientific research. It provides a line of enquiry for the scientist to explore. Without this inquiry, the scientist cannot claim to have tested the properties of the papaya leaf fully.

“If you do a google search on some of our products, especially the popular Pax Herbal Bitters, Pax Health Tea and Pax Cough Syrup, you will see a lot of interesting scientific work already done on the products by scientists who published their findings in peer-reviewed journals. We do not know any of them personally. They went to our outlets to purchase our products and subjected them to rigorous scientific analysis to verify the claims. That is one beauty of science. The Pax Herbal Bitters, for example, which is a tincture of 40 local herbs, qualifies as one of the most underrated medicine in the world. It is just a matter of time before the world we give the product its rightful place of honour. We have been very successful in treating diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Osteoarthritis and management of Breast and Prostate Cancer and viral infections. We have kept accurate record of the protocols used for the treatments.

“While countries like China and India have already invaded the global herbal market like a colossus, Nigeria is still busy discussing whether herbal medicine is a good source of health care or not. While the annual global market for herbal medicine is estimated to be over 200 billion dollars, African professionals are busy attending seminars to convince them of the efficacy of herbal medicine. And Nigerian medical doctors and pharmacists are engaged in a fierce battle of supremacy about who is more important than the others. While Asian medical doctors, botanists, pharmacists and other scientists are all united in the development of their traditional medicine into a global transformative venture, Nigerian scientists are standing by the ringside complaining about the attitude of charlatans and quacks. What we need to do is to walk the talk. Herbal medicine is our field of comparative advantage, and we need to use it as a platform to develop our nation medically, economically, and even politically,” he stated.

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