The Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) in Ibadan, Oyo State, has developed a poly-herbal mixture of plants for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.
The FRIN Director-General, Prof. Adeshola Adepoju, made this disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Ibadan.
Adepoju said that as the need arose for safety from the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, medicinal plants possessed chemical compounds have been discovered for the management of the disease.
He identified the institute’s medicinal plants, engaged in poly-herbal mixture, as: Anchormanes diformis (Ogirisako), Cymbopogum citrates (ewe tea), Newbouldia laevis (tree of life/Akoko), Morinda lucida, King of bitters/mejemeje.
Others also found in Nigeria, he added, are: African whitewood/Awopa and Sorghum/Oka baba.
According to him, the major chemical constituents common to the plants are alkaloids, flavonoids and ascorbic acid, which are natural anti-oxidants that could prevent cell damage and pathological consequences.
“In Nigeria, an infusion or the concoction of the leaves, roots and barks of these plants have proven ethnomedicinally or traditionally over the years to treat symptomatic distress such as cough, fever, malaria, flu and other respiratory ailments associated with COVID-19.
“The therapeutic effect of this newly discovered poly-herbal mixture will be an exception for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The poly-herbal is safe when taken orally, but possibly unsafe when taken without prescribed dosage.
“The herbal product is currently under the quality control assessment of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC),” he said.
Adepoju stated that on the need for preventive measures against COVID-19, the institute actively engaged in the production of herbal-based hand sanitiser to further tackle the spread of the disease.
According to him, the oil of Luffa cylindrica seed possesses anti-bacteria and antiviral effects.
Adepoju noted that other essential oils were employed to produce alcohol-based hand sanitisers in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.
The professor said the demand and acceptability of the products had instigated more than 5,000 pieces of production.
He said the results of medicinal plants research in the institute over the years had strengthened the belief that traditional medicines were readily accessible.
The director-general said the results of such medicinal plants research, played important roles in meeting the basic health care needs of people in Africa.
On strategies to fight coronavirus, Adepoju said that international solidarity and public private partnerships were needed to tackle the problem of shortage and lack of treatments.
“There is also the need for new drug, vaccines and diagnostic procedures to follow the guidelines put in place; to curtail the spread of the virus, and to explore the potentialities of herbal medicines.”
FRIN has the mandate to conduct research on the development of safe herbal medicines and medicinal products in Nigeria, among other responsibilities.
By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko