HerbFest 2020: Nigerian Researchers explore herbal medicine, supplements as COVID-19 therapy

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Prof. Maurice Iwu; a Professor of Pharmacognosy at University of Lagos

As scientists all over the world continue the  search for a cure for COVID-19, researchers are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the dreaded virus is therapeutically tamed once and for all.

Nigerian scientists and researchers are not left out in this noble yet arduous task in bringing the health emergency to a heroic end through the discovery of a cure.

In commemoration of the 11th anniversary of HerbFest (herb and natural medicine expo), which took place via Zoom on Tuesday, 10 November, 2020, Nigerian researchers have explored the efficacy of herbal medicine and food supplements as treatment for COVID-19.

They also declared COVID-19 as a challenge to modern medicine; noting that IHP Detox, a Nigerian herbal medicine under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19, has immunotherapy potential in the management of viral infections and artemisinin as possible therapy in COVID-19.

The Nigerian researchers that made presentations during the online event include: Founder, Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), Prof. Maurice Iwu; a Professor of Pharmacognosy at University of Lagos (UNILAG), Olukemi Odukoya; former Director General of the Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) Lagos, Dr Tamuno Ibuomi Okujagu; a Professor of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, Isa Marte Hussaini; and a researcher at the Biomedicine Research Group and Effective Care Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Dr George Uchenna Eleje; and Prof. Martins Emeje of the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).

The scientists confirmed the efficacy of local plants and dietary supplements such as guava (Psidium guajava), bitter kola, garlic, ginger, onions, black seed (Nigella sativa), honey, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 among others in the treatment of COVID-19.

Professor Odukoya of the University of Lagos particularly harped on the need to leverage nutrition as an effective source of immune support therapy. She observed that nutrition should be at the forefront of all preventive approaches in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.