Modern African Remedies: Herbal Medicine and Community Development in Nigeria

African Update – 20/11/15

Despite its middle-income status, Nigeria’s health system cannot provide even a rudimentary level of care for most citizens – particularly in rural areas.  As the prevalence of chronic and infectious diseases increases, indigenous medical knowledge must be utilised. In Nigeria, but also globally, there is growing recognition of the need to integrate traditional medicine into mainstream health systems to bolster their ability to cope with an ever-increasing burden.

In the early 1990s Father Anselm Adodo, a Benedictine monk, became increasingly aware of the tragic inter-generational loss of indigenous medical knowledge in his locality.  In 1996, he founded Paxherbals at the monastery in Ewu, Edo State, to preserve this valuable resource and apply scientific rigour to the manufacture of natural remedies.

Two decades later, “Pax” is the largest private sector rural manufacturing enterprise in Edo State and an industry leader in Nigeria.  It is regarded as an undoubted success story, one of which the monastic and local communities are justifiably proud. Success is based on joint endeavour. While Pax has created many jobs in its factory and laboratories, and economic opportunities through its local supply chain, its neighbours are suppliers of knowledge, skills and raw materials. They are also consumers. Pax is firmly rooted in, and has transformed, its surroundings.

This Policy Voice documents how Pax professionalised the production of traditional natural remedies and set about demonstrating that herbal medicines can be a force for innovation and progress in health care. An estimated two-thirds of Nigerians use these products, often in tandem with orthodox drugs. But Anselm is adamant that open dialogue, scrutiny and regulation are crucial if negative perceptions of non-orthodox treatments are to be dispelled and the economic potential of the sector realised. More than 30 Pax products are government-certified.

For Anselm, and Pax, “traditional” medicine must be modern, professional and based on science if it is to contribute to improving health systems and outcomes. With appropriate federal and state involvement, thriving traditional medicine and pharmaceutical industries could be fostered in Nigeria; and the transformation that Pax and the local community have brought about in Ewu could be typical, rather than exceptional. Indigenous knowledge, resources and enterprise remain under-exploited.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This article was published on the Website of theAfrica Research Institute


Upcoming AIC events
There are no upcoming events at the moment.
Book of the month

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya Kwasekhaya

Xoliswa Ndoyiya: Ukutya KwasekhayaTastes from Nelson Mandela’s kitchen

A collection of recipes by Nelson Mandela's personal chef, this book contains the food served to visiting heads of state, celebrities, politicians for more than 20 years. Featuring some of the favourite former South African president's favourite meals including samp and beans, farm chicken, tripe, this book also features paella, peri-peri chicken, prawn curry, and myriad of other delights. With simple, delicious and nourishing recipes, it will interest those who wish to prepare meals that are both elegant and healthy.More

New arrivals

New titles in our library 12/2016

Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

  • Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith
  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
  • Shakespeare in Swahililand: Adventures With the Ever-Living Poet by Edward Wilson-Lee
  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton

African information centre

Ječná 2, 120 00 Prague 2

Opening hours

Tuesday, Thursday: 2 – 6 pm

Humanitas Afrika, občanské sdružení

We're supported by:

Pokladní systémy

Hl. m. Praha Česká rozvojová agentura

Fair Trade Logo

AIC je prodejním místem
produktů fairtrade

Our partners: