In most cases, herbs or botanical medicines used in diverse treatments today lack compositional, empirical formula that would have revealed in what amounts they must be taken. The makeup of this sort of medicines is such that each of the plants that contribute to the entire concoction brings its own chemicals to the mix and studies show that not all herbs can be used at all states. For example, some herbs have juices that are no better than the venoms of asps when they are still green or fresh.

Furthermore, neglecting that there is an exact composition suitable for processing by the kidneys, quack apothecaries exploit the little regulatory control existing over their concocted drinks and powder mixtures, assuming safety and efficacy of prescribed botanical medicine in injurious proportions to poor patients. Even more atrocious is how some aged herbalists claim they have found perfect mixes for some cures when they peddle their merchandise, without being penalised. Some ambitious herbalists go as far as priding themselves in their mixes, calling it a panacea- that is a ‘cure all’- or antidote for all sicknesses including death!

They often extol the seeming breakthrough that plants and roots have brought to humanity, refusing to evolve along with the advancements in pharmacology. They, however, are unsure of what side effects there are, and what number of people have fallen casualty to their medicinal speculations. These herb peddlers have no clue how the lungs, liver, brain and kidneys suffer to find the lifesaving balances and adjustments to keep victims of poisonous herbal compositions alive. These vital organs are actually worthy of the accolades that herbalists ascribe to themselves and their herbs, albeit those organs do not bear with strains for so long before they succumb.

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Nevertheless, we must not fail to acknowledge that herbs (botanical medicines) are the bedrock on which synthetic medicines were built. In retrospect, the modern pharmaceutical industry traces its roots to two sources. The first of these are local apothecaries that expanded from their traditional role distributing botanical drugs (herbs) such as morphine and quinine to wholesale manufacturers in the mid-1800s. Multinational corporations began their histories as local apothecary shops in the mid-1800s.

The development of synthetic chemical methods allowed scientists to systematically vary the structure of chemical substances and extracts from plants, and growth in the emerging science of pharmacology expanded their ability to evaluate the biological effects of these structural changes. By the 1890s the profound effect of adrenal extracts on many different tissue types had been discovered, setting off a search both for the mechanism of chemical signalling and efforts to exploit these observations for the development of new drugs.

Thanks to research in medical and pharmaceutical science, there have been such breakthroughs not only efficient enough to predict the actual quantities of medicines and medications – which evolved from herbs – and therapies needed, but also to discover what a problem actually is with any part of the body so that the wrong treatment is not guessed for a particular ailment. Advancements in medical sciences have also afforded the prediction of life span. These are matters local herbal concoctions cannot remedy except they are further developed, hence the challenge for our local Nigerian herbs research.

Moreover, relevant regulatory agencies in the country should ensure that poverty or economic reasons are not an excuse for people to opt for unsearched and unrefined chemicals and toxins in the name of herbs which are capable of causing severe and permanent health complications, if not death. Life is worth much more than money.

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