The Chairman, Bio-Resources Development Group, BDG, Maurice Iwu, has urged Nigerians to explore the huge potential inherent in herbal medicine to grow the economy.
Mr. Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, made the appeal in an interview on HerbFEST 2014, an Herb, Health Food and Natural Products Expo which ended in Lagos on Thursday.
He said herbal medicine was a 100 billion dollar (N16.8 trillion) industry that could change the fortune of the Nigerian economy.
“Herbal medicine is a 100 billion dollar industry and our hope is to stimulate interest both of industrialists and the general public to the enormous potential this sector holds.
“It is something worth exploring that could add positively to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and that could be some sort of income for the whole country,” he said.
Mr. Iwu, a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said Nigeria has to create an enabling environment that would promote the growth of the herbal medicine industry.
“Nigeria needs the development of its scientific infrastructure and economy in order to encourage growth and stimulation in the herbal medicine industry.
“This requirement is necessary for the investor to see that the industry is viable to invest in,’’ he said.
The BDG chairman said that indigenous herbal medicine could be boosted as long as Nigerians had confidence that their home-grown products could be used as medicine.
He insisted that Bitter Kola remained an immune booster in spite of the reactions that greeted its discovery.
“We got an immunity enhancing compound from it. The work on Garcina Kola, as we (Scientists) call it, was done and published 15 years ago even before the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.
“If anyone has inferiority complex, that is his problem not mine. That is because they do not believe that something good can come from their own country.
“This claim should be put to test by capable individuals and not subjected to a lazy intellectual mindset,” Mr. Iwu said.