Indigenous Knowledge of Herbal Medicines among Adolescents in Amassoma, Bayelsa State, Nigeria

  •  Gideon Alade    
  •  Ese Okpako    
  •  Kola Ajibesin    
  •  Olanrewaju Omobuwajo    


BACKGROUND: The use of herbal medicines in Nigeria is on the increase. Documented Population based data on the use of herbal medicinal products and indigenous knowledge among the younger generations are lacking in Nigeria and Africa at large.

AIM: The aim of this study is to investigate the extent of use and general knowledge of herbal medicines among adolescents in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.

METHODS: The study covered a total of Two hundred and twenty-eight adolescents randomly selected in Senior Secondary Schools (SSS 1-3) in Amassoma using a semi structured questionnaire/Interview and informal conversation on the respondents.

FINDINGS: Nearly all (97%) the respondents have had contact with herbs. Less than 1% had contact with herbs through formal education (teachers/literatures). Stimulation of interest was majorly through parents (53%). Grandparents were the highest (46%) of custodian of indigenous knowledge. Parents were the next (39.7%). Only 39% of the respondents would prefer the use of herbal medicine to modern medicine. Fever was the main ailment mentioned followed by eye ailment and stomach ache. Vernonia amygdalina was the main plant for the treatment of fever.

CONCLUSION: The study revealed that parents are the major custodians of knowledge being transferred to the younger generation and little or none is learnt from Schools. There is therefore the need to include the study of herbal medicines in School’s curricula especially at SS 2 and SS 3 since they are matured enough to appreciate the importance of Herbal medicine so as to prepare them for the promotion of herbal medicine in future and to preserve our indigenous knowledge.

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