In today’s article, we will be sharing with you some of the popular Nigerian herbs with of course their health benefits but before we proceed lets look at a brief definition of this herbs.
An herb is “a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities. Herbs are medicinal plants, whose roots, leaves, stem or seeds can be used for medicinal purposes. Incase you don’t know, herbs have played an important role in our overall health and well-being in the past because in the ancient times, it was used for a lot of medicinal purposes, and by people of different cultures.
Although modern medicine has taken over now, herbs are still beneficial to man kind and many developed countries effectively use herbs to keep themselves healthy.
Importance of medicinal herbs
Are you aware that lot of herbal extracts like those derived from mint, fenugreek ginkgo, and aloe vera are used in manufacturing medicines. Till today medicinal herbs are of great importance to mankind because they are useful in cases of emergencies and alternative medicine by offering us a cheaper alternative than modern medicine and medications. Herbs are of importance to us because they can also be used for culinary purposes ,that is great because you can eat delicious food and get healthy. And above all, herbs provide a host of nutritional and health benefits, by treating diseases and many more.
Local Nigerian herbs and their health benefits
Here are some of the most common types of Nigerian herbs uses and health benefits ‘
1. Mitracarpus Scaber
Mitracarpus scaber is a very common weed of cultivated or fallowed land, that is a perennial herb of 30 cm tall with the botanical name Mitracarpus scaberulus. It has different names according to the different tribes in Nigeria and it is called Ogwungwo or Obuobwa in Igbo language, Gududal in Hausa language and Irawo lle in Yoruba language.
Health benefits and medical uses of Mitracarpus scaber
a. It is scientifically known that this plant has a lot of antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
b. It is used to treat skin infections such as infected wounds, dermatoses, ringworms and scabies.
c. It is popular in traditional medicine practices in West Africa for the treatment of headaches, toothaches, amenorrhoea, hepatic diseases and venereal diseases.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a very popular herb that is widely known to have wonderful health benefits and medicinal uses. It is a common plant that doesn’t have a stem and is usually about 80-100 cm tall.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
a. Aloe Vera contains substances that inhibit inflammation.
b. It is very effective in healing wounds and burns.
c. It helps in digestion and helps to rid the body of intestinal worms.
d. It is very good for theskin and is commonly used in the production of many skincare products.
e. It helps in detoxifying the body.
3. Ringworm Plant
It is scientifically known as Senna alata, or cassia alata, an important medicinal tree, as well as an ornamental flowering plant commonly known as candle bush, candelabra bush, or Christmas candles that’s about 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–70 cm long, called Asunrun Oyinbo in Yoruba and Ogalu in Ibo.
Health benefits and medical uses of Senna Alata
a. It has anti fungal properties and is used to treat a number of skin infections, including ringworms.
b. It is used in treatment of haemorrhoids, constipation, and inguinal hernia.
c. It is also used in treating intestinal parasites, convulsions and syphilis.
4. Dracaena Arborea
Dracaena arborea is a specie of Dracaena, commonly known as dragon tree that is an elegant ornamental tree that grows up to 20m tall with deep green thick leaves. It is locally known as peregun in Yoruba, and odo in Igbo and found in semi arid deserts and are tropical perennials.
Health Benefits and medical uses of Dracaena arborea
a. Dracaena arborea is medically known to be useful in the treatment of diabetes-induced testicular dysfunction.
b. The roots of this plant is used in treating abdominal pains.
5. Cashew Nut Tree
The botanical name of cashew nut tree is Anacardium occidentale and it is a tropical tree of 12 m high that produces cashew seed and cashew apple. The cashew seeds are used in snacking and according to confirmed report Nigeria was the second largest producer of cashew nuts in 2013.
Health benefits and medical uses of cashew tree
a. The twigs of the tree is used as chewing stick that helps with mouth thrush, sore gums and toothache.
b. The extract from the bark is an efficient natural remedy for malaria fever.
c. The bark of the cashew plant is an effective contraceptive that can be used to prevent pregnancy.
e. An infusion can be made from the leaves and used to cure nasal congestion.
6. Stool Wood
The scientific name is Aistonia boonei De Wild and is also called cheese wood or pattern wood. In Nigeria, however, it is locally called ahun in Yoruba and egbuora in Igbo. It is a tall forest tree, that grows up to 45 metres tall. The leaves are borne in whorls at the nodes, the leaf shape is oblanceolate. The bark is grayish-green or grey and rough.
Health benefits and medical uses of Aistonia boonei
a. It is widely used as a febrifuge, for fever.
b. It contains an important alkaloid chemical called echitamine, that has a lot of pharmacological uses.
c. The bark, leaves and roots are all used to relieve rheumatic pain.
d. The leaves, when pulped to a mash, are applied topically to reduce oedemas.