Use Herbal Products to Treat Malaria – Prof Ocloo
Professor Augustine Ocloo, Executive Director of the Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR) has said that after extensive research carried out on the potential of a herbal plant known as Nibima to treat malaria, the results have proven positive and very effective.
He said Nibima or (Crptolepis sanguinonenta) was able to clear malaria parasites within three days, adding that some people drank the product to prevent the disease and called on Ghanaians to use the product.
Prof Ocloo was speaking to Journalist who visited the Centre at Mampong in the Eastern Region to familiarize themselves with its operation and activities.
The visit was organized by African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN).
Prof Ocloo explained that though Nibima was scares and its cultivation also difficult, it was available and could be found in a number of malaria herbal products.
“We have always been saying that there is hope, we can reduce the cost of medicine in Ghana; reduce foreign exchange if we pay a little attention to herbal products,’’ he said.
He noted that “we cannot achieve universal health coverage if we do not pay attention to herbal medicines. You will only be dreaming it is not possible. We must do something that must be taken seriously”.
Prof Ocloo however indicated that there were challenges as far as the herbal medicine industry was concerned as people sold herbal medicine in moving cars, which questioned the credibility of the product and reduced the confidence of consumers in the product.
He said a number of herbal products have economic value than cocoa and if people saw their economic potential they will go into the production and cited croton as an example which was drawing a number of customers who were asking for seeds to cultivate after an advert was placed on its economic potency.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Mrs Ellen Sam of the Police Hospital and Board Chairperson of AMMREN, said Ghana as a country had done so much and made strides in malaria treatment, but still had a long way to go because children and pregnant women still died as a result of malaria.
She said if resistance developed with the current WHO recommended drug, Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT), the country will have no alternative as a nation and a malaria endemic country, adding that if China was able to develop artemininsinin we can also develop the neem tree and all other plants that we have supposedly known to be working against malaria.
Dr Alfred Ampomah Appiah, Director of CPMR, led the team around the Centre and explained the various medicinal uses of the various herbal plants being cultivated at the Centre.
He explained that the root of Criptolepis. Sanguinolenta (Lindl.) Schlt (Periplocaceae) was used by Ghanaian traditional medicine practitioners to treat malaria, urinary and upper respiratory tract infections, diabetes, haemorrhoids, etc.
The plant has been used in other African states for the treatment of hepatitis, malaria, wounds, diarrhoea, inflammatory conditions, hypertension, microbial infections and stomach aches.
The Production Department of CPMR has developed over 30 herbal products for various disease conditions like Malaria, Hypertension, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Peptic ulcer, Oligospermia, Haemorrhoids, Cough, and Sickle Cell Disease.
Other diseases are enteric fever, anaemia, dysmenorrhoea, diabetes mellitus, female infertility, arthritis, neuropathies, and diarrhoea.
Other departments in the Centre are Pharmacology and Toxicology, Phytochemistry, Pharmaceutics, Microbiology, Plant Development and a clinic which records about 60 to 70 out patients daily and about 18,000 visits annually.
Mrs Charity Binka, Executive Secretary of AMMREN, said Ghana, Kenya and Malawi were to test the world’s first malaria vaccines this year and African Journalist were the best to tell the stories because they were affected by malaria and experience it, therefore the visit was to find out how the media can support the centre.
She also indicated that “artemininsin started on a small scale and today the world is using it so if we are also going to have our own we would support that”.