The use of herbs to cure illness is as old as man. This is because the existence of man is not without one form of ill health or the other. The evolution of man through pre historic, Neolithic, medieval and colonial and postcolonial times has been attached to one form of medical facility or the other.
In Africa, plants and herbs play major roles in addressing health challenges before the advent of the Arabs, Europeans, Christian missionaries and the eventual colonialization of the continent. The case of malaria, which saw to the death of many European visitors to Africa, did little harm to the people of Africa. The coming of quinine as drug for malaria was in actual sense not the first break through in addressing malaria. For example, dogoyaro, paw-paw leaf, lemon grass are used in preparing drugs for malaria before the discovery of quinine.
Unfortunately, the coming of colonialism altered people’s health practices. The colonialist in their racial superiority created the impression that presented orthodox medicine as superior to African medicinal sciences. During the colonial period, missionaries and colonial authorities worked hand-in-hands in the introduction of medical treatment e.g the construction of lyienu Hospital Ogidi, Mile 4 Hospital Abakaliki and RCM Hospital in Afikpo. This development provided a platform for people to seek medical attention in western built hospitals.
Inspite of the efforts to establish western medical care, no genuine effort was put in place to develop traditional medicine alongside the modern hospital. For example, Elizabeth Isichei captured the feelings of an Igbo native doctor turned Christian as follow:
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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: A HISTORICAL SURVEY OF TRADITIONAL BONE SETTING IN ENUGU STATE (1975-2015)