Annals of African Medicine
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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 84-85 Table of Contents     

Awareness, beliefs and practice of traditional medicine in a Nigerian community in the 21st Century


Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, P. M. B. 12003, Idi- Araba, Lagos, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication10-Oct-2009

Correspondence Address:
E O Agbaje
Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, P. M. B. 12003, Idi- Araba, Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.56364

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How to cite this article:
Agbaje E O, Babatunde E O. Awareness, beliefs and practice of traditional medicine in a Nigerian community in the 21st Century. Ann Afr Med 2007;6:84-5

How to cite this URL:
Agbaje E O, Babatunde E O. Awareness, beliefs and practice of traditional medicine in a Nigerian community in the 21st Century. Ann Afr Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2019 Oct 17];6:84-5. Available from: http://www.annalsafrmed.org/text.asp?2007/6/2/84/56364

Traditional medicine (TM) is a part of the tradition or culture of each country where it is practiced. Western or scientific medicine, actually developed from TM, for example, William Withering, a keen botanist in 1785 identified digitalis as the potent agent in foxglove.

In Nigeria, the practice of TM has been informal and the health care is controlled by Orthodox medicine. The authors through this study embarked on the scientific evaluation of TM in the 21st century, among Nigerians by assessing their awareness, beliefs and practice.

Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State was selected as study location. The study sample was randomly selected to cover males and females, young and old of ages 12 and above. Three hundred and twenty, well - structured, fixed-alternative, and self-administered questionnaire that investigated awareness, beliefs and practice of TM were randomly distributed among respondents. Comparisons between groups were made using chi-squared test. Values of p<0.01 were considered significant.

Out of the 320 copies of questionnaire distributed, only 300 could be retrieved. This rendered a compliance rate of 93.8%. The mean and modal ages were 38.6 (S.D ± 9.72) and 40.5 years respectively, while 163 (54.3%) were males. The result is summarized in [Table 1].

The study showed that several indigenes are not well informed about TM and the system is being employed by indigenes; mostly unaided or unguided by practitioners, therefore most users are ignorant of how to adequately employ TM for its optimal benefits, possibly because of the secrecy of practitioners. It was also observed that users are still very ignorant of the side-effects and contra-indication of the medicaments. This might have to do with the fact that it is more difficult to recognize adverse effects that develop over time e.g. hypokalaemia from anthraquinone laxatives[1] or those that are readily ascribed to an underlying disease e.g. hepatitis from the bile duct remedy celandine.[2] It must also be emphasized that herbs which are apparently safe under normal conditions may be more hazardous in specific patients under special circumstances e.g. during perioperative period[3] or when combined with conventional drugs e.g. hyperforin, a potent P450 inducer found in the herbal medicine St. John's wort.[4]

There is a need to allay the fears of TM practitioners who feel threatened and insecure. The government should launch an awareness programme that will promote effective uses of local medicaments.



 
   References Top

1.Blumenthal M. The complete German commission E Monographs-therapeutic guide to herbal medicines, 1999  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Benninger J, Schneider HT, Schuppan D, Kirchner T, Hahn EG. Acute hepatitis by greater celandine (Chelidonium majus). Gastroenterology 1999; 17: 1234-1237  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Ang-Lee MK., Moss J, Yuan CS. Herbal medicines and perioperative care. JAMA 2001; 286: 208-216  Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Schwartz UI, Buschel B, Kirch W. Unwanted pregnancy on self-medication with St. John's wort despite hormonal contraception. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2003; 55: 112-113  Back to cited text no. 4      



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1]



 

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