By Emeka Okeke, Abuja
The Ministry of Health has directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to carry out necessary procedures for the assessment of a plant-based cough mixture to treat COVID-19 patients.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mashi Abdullahi, issued the directive in a memo with REF no. TCAM/077/I/65, addressed to the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye.
The document, dated April 28, 2020, was titled ‘Formulation of a Phyto-Medicine-Based Cough Mixture/Syrup for the Management of COVID-19 Patients by Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Department of the Ministry’.
It read, “As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is currently ravaging the world with no definite treatment or vaccine.
“This has necessitated countries to look for solutions from within and Nigeria is no exception. It is worthy to note that Nigeria is blessed with medicinal plants which could be exploited.
“It is heartwarming to note that the Department of TCAM has taken the pains to research into scientific materials to come up with a formulation intended for the management of cough in COVID-19 and other cough-related infections.”
According to Abdullahi, the formulation is a Cov-herbal cough mixture.
He said, “Interestingly, all the ingredients that make up the formulations are medicinal plants that are widely used as food materials and medicines.
“They include Allium sativa (garlic); Allium cepa (onions); Zingiber officinale (ginger): Piper guineense (West African Black Pepper); and Adansonia digitata (baobab fruit). The innovation here is the composition of the formulation.
“These medicinal plants have documented scientific evidence of long use for the management of cough and other respiratory infections, with medicinal properties of mucoIytic, antitussive, expectorant, soothing, demulcent, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.”
The permanent secretary stated that the ministry was determined to “walk the talk” in the promotion and integration of herbal medicine into the health care delivery system
“In view of the foregoing and the desire of the ministry to showcase to the public a product that is 100 per cent sourced locally, you are requested to carry out the necessary procedures for listing.
“The ministry will contract the packaging of the product to some identified pharmaceutical companies. Find attached scientific pieces of evidence of the products end labelling for your information end necessary action,” he added.