The Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency has said that 70 percent of Nigerians still patronize herbal medicines, saying it is as old as humanity.

NNMDA Director General Samuel Etatuvie, in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency in Abuja, said it was not undermining the practice of orthodox medicines.

Etatuvie said that part of their mandate was to research, collect and document herbal products that were indigenous and that they had already researched 14 such products.

The DG added that five of the products had been listed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, while the rest were waiting.

“The practice of natural medicine is as old as humanity, orthodox medicine came several decades after the natural medicine that is practiced mainly in rural communities.

“Today in Nigeria and around the world, both natural and orthodox medicine are practiced at the same time.

“In Nigeria specifically, I can say that we have more than 70 percent of Nigerians patronizing natural medicine practitioners because our rural areas do not have modern healthcare facilities.

“Regarding herbal medicine, we have herbal medicine practitioners or herbal products in every community,” he said.

Natural medicines, in addition to attending to health, Etatuvie said, were also associated with different purposes that include protection, the act of disappearance, massage, color management, traditional midwives, among others.

However, he said the agency is committed to researching indigenous natural medicines that have the ability to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product when used well.