10 Medicinal Plants in Nigeria and Their Uses

Bitter Leaf plant health benefits in Nigeria

Nigeria is without doubt home to a wide variety of medicinal plants that have been traditionally used in the treatment of various health conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the important role that medicinal plants play in the primary healthcare of many communities around the world.

According to WHO, medicinal plants are “plants or plant parts which are used for their scent, flavor, or therapeutic properties” and have been used for centuries in traditional and folk medicine to treat a wide range of health conditions.

Nigeria is home to a vast array of Medicinal Plants that have been traditionally used to treat various health conditions. These herbs are not only used for their culinary purposes, but also have proven effectiveness in treating specific diseases.

In this article, you will learn about some of the most commonly used Nigerian Medicinal Plants and the health benefits they offer.

10 Medicinal Plants in Nigeria

Bitter Leaf plant health benefits in Nigeria

1. Bitter Leaf

Bitter leaf, also known (Vernonia amygdalina) is a medicinal plant that is widely used in Nigeria for its various health benefits. Vernonia amygdalina belongs to the plant family Compositae.

In Nigeria, the Edo calls it oriwo; Hausa, chusar doki (a horse tonic food containing the leaves), fatefate/mayemaye (a food prepared from the leaves); Ibibio atidot; Igbo, onugbu; Tiv, ityuna; and Yoruba, ewuro. Some of the potential health benefits of bitter leaf include:

  1. Bitter leaf is rich in antioxidants, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  2. Bitter leaf may have potential anti-cancer effects. Some studies have suggested that bitter leaf may be able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and induce cell death in certain types of cancer.
  3. Bitter leaf may have potential anti-diabetic effects. In addition to its ability to lower blood sugar levels, bitter leaf may also help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of complications related to diabetes.
  4. Bitter leaf has been traditionally used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including malaria, fever, digestive disorders, and skin conditions. It is believed to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties that may be useful in the treatment of these conditions.

Bitter leaf might be good for your health, but more research is needed to find out for sure and figure out how to use it most effectively. Before using bitter leaf or any other herbal medicine, it’s important to talk to a doctor or other health professional.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a multi-purpose medicinal plant that is known for its versatility and many uses. In addition to being used in cosmetics and cooking, aloe vera has a wide range of medicinal properties and can be used to treat a variety of health conditions. Some health benefits of aloe vera include:

  1. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that may be useful in the treatment of joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  2. Aloe vera has been traditionally used to treat a wide range of skin conditions, including burns, cuts, wounds, and dermatitis. Its anti-inflammatory and healing properties may be helpful in promoting skin repair and reducing scarring.
  3. Aloe vera has been used in Nigeria for its laxative properties, which may be helpful in relieving constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
  4. Aloe vera is believed to have antioxidant and immune-boosting properties, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and improve overall health.
  5. Aloe vera is often used in Nigeria as a natural remedy for digestive disorders, such as ulcers, heartburn, and acid reflux. Its soothing and healing properties may help reduce irritation and inflammation in the digestive tract.

3. Scent Leaf

Scent leaf, also known as Ocimum gratissimum, is a medicinal plant that is widely used in Nigeria for its various health benefits. The scent leaf is known as Efirin in Yoruba, Nchuawun in Igbo, and Daidoya in Hausa. Some health benefits of scent leaf in Nigeria include:

  1. Scent leaf has strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, which may be useful in the treatment of respiratory infections, such as colds and flu.
  2. Scent leaf is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  3. Scent leaf has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Its carminative properties may help reduce gas and improve digestion.
  4. Scent leaf is believed to have immune-boosting and antioxidant properties, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and improve overall health.
  5. Scent leaf has been used in Nigeria to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may help reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.

4. Hibiscus sabdariffa

Hibiscus sabdariffa, also called roselle or zobo, is a plant in the Malvaceae family. Hibiscus sabdariffa is medicinal plant that is widely used in Nigeria for its various health benefits.

Some health benefits of Hibiscus sabdariffa in Nigeria include:

  1. Hibiscus sabdariffa is a rich source of antioxidants, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  2. Hibiscus sabdariffa has diuretic properties, which may be helpful in increasing urine production and reducing fluid retention. It is often used to treat hypertension and other conditions that cause fluid accumulation in the body.
  3. Hibiscus sabdariffa is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  4. Hibiscus sabdariffa has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Its carminative properties may help reduce gas and improve digestion.
  5. Hibiscus sabdariffa is believed to have immune-boosting and antiviral properties, which may help protect the body against infections and improve overall health.

5. Irvingia gabonensis

Irvingia gabonensis, also known as “ugiri or ogbono in Igbo; oro (the tree) or aapon (the kernel) in Yoruba; ogwi (the tree or fruit) in Benin; goron or biri in Hausa; uyo in Efik.” is a medicinal plant that is widely used in Nigeria for its various health benefits.

Some health benefits of Irvingia gabonensis in Nigeria include:

  • Irvingia gabonensis is believed to have weight loss and appetite-suppressing effects, which may be helpful in the management of obesity and related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Irvingia gabonensis has been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect and may be useful in the management of high cholesterol and the prevention of heart disease.
  • Irvingia gabonensis has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  • Irvingia gabonensis is believed to have immune-boosting and antiviral properties, which may help protect the body against infections and improve overall health.
  • Irvingia gabonensis has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Its carminative properties may help reduce gas and improve digestion.

6. Ringworm Bush

Ringworm bush, also known as Asunrun Oyinbo by Yoruba people, Igbo: Ogalu, Hausa: N/A,” is a medicinal plant that is widely used in Nigeria for its various health benefits. Some health benefits of ringworm bush in Nigeria include:

  • Ringworm bush has strong antimicrobial properties, which may be useful in the treatment of infections, including ringworm and other fungal infections.
  • Ringworm bush has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may help reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.
  • Ringworm bush is believed to have immune-boosting and antioxidant properties, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and improve overall health.
  • Ringworm bush has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  • Ringworm bush has been used in Nigeria to treat a variety of respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

7. Moringa Plant

Moringa is a well-known flowering tree that has many health benefits. In fact, some people call it “the miracle tree,” which shows how useful it is in the worlds of food, beauty, and medicine.

Moringa Plant is called Ewe Ile or Igbale Igi Iyanu in yourba land, Igbo: Odudu Oyibo or Okwe Oyibo, Hausa: Zogale

Some health benefits of moringa plant in Nigeria include:

  • Moringa plant is rich in antioxidants, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Moringa plant is a good source of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, and may be helpful in improving overall health and preventing malnutrition.
  • Moringa plant has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  • Moringa plant has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Its carminative properties may help reduce gas and improve digestion.
  • Moringa plant is believed to have immune-boosting and antiviral properties, which may help protect the body against infections and improve overall health.

8. Bitter kola

Bitter kola, also called Garcinia kola, is a plant in the family Guttifereae. In Nigeria, it is called oje in the Bokyi language, edun or efiari in the Efik language, efrie in the Ejagham-Ekin language, cida goro in the Hausa language, efiat in the Ibibio language, emiale in the Icheve language, igoligo in the Idoma language, aku-ilu or ugolo in the igbo language,

Some health benefits of bitter kola in Nigeria include:

  1. Bitter kola is believed to have antiviral and immune-boosting properties, which may be helpful in protecting the body against infections and improving overall health.
  2. Bitter kola has anti-inflammatory properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  3. Bitter kola has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and improve breathing.
  4. Bitter kola is believed to have anti-toxic properties, which may be helpful in protecting the body against toxins and improving liver function.
  5. Bitter kola has been used in Nigeria to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may help reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.

9. Prunus Africana

Prunus Africana

Prunus Africana is a medicinal plant that is widely used in Nigeria for its various health benefits. It is a member of the family Rosaceae and is also known as the red stinkwood tree.

Some health benefits of Prunus Africana in Nigeria include:

  1. Prunus Africana has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of urinary tract conditions, such as urinary incontinence and bladder infections. Its diuretic properties may help increase urine production and reduce fluid retention.
  2. Prunus Africana has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  3. Prunus Africana is believed to have immune-boosting and antioxidant properties, which may help protect the body against oxidative stress and improve overall health.
  4. Prunus Africana has been used in Nigeria to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Its carminative properties may help reduce gas and improve digestion.
  5. Prunus Africana has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may help reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.

10. Water Leaf

Waterleaf is one of the plants in Nigeria that is most underrated and undervalued. Most people think of it as a plant that grows in the wild all year long.

But this vegetable is known to be a West African annual herbaceous plant that grows in most of Nigeria’s states (mainly in the South). In Yoruba, it is called Gbure, in Igbo, Mgbolodi, and in Edo, it is called Ebe dondon.

Some health benefits of water leaf in Nigeria include:

  1. Water leaf is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which may be helpful in relieving pain and swelling. It is often used to treat joint pain and inflammation, such as in cases of arthritis.
  2. Water leaf has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of digestive disorders, including diarrhea, indigestion, and bloating. Its carminative properties may help reduce gas and improve digestion.
  3. Water leaf is believed to have immune-boosting and antiviral properties, which may help protect the body against infections and improve overall health.
  4. Water leaf has been used in Nigeria to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties may help reduce inflammation and prevent the growth of bacteria on the skin.
  5. Water leaf has been traditionally used in Nigeria to treat a variety of respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

Conclusion

It’s important to learn about the common Nigerian medicinal plants and what they can do for your health because they can help with a lot of different problems.

Medicinal plants that are common in Nigeria, like moringa, bitter leaf, and scent leaf, can do amazing things for your health.

About the author

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.

Leave a Comment