Akanmu Advocates Adequate Funding for Indigenous Herbal Products



Prof. Moses Atanda Akanmu.

A university don and Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Osun State Chapter, Prof. Moses Atanda Akanmu, has called for adequate funding by government and wealthy individuals for the industrial manufacturing of the country’s indigenous herbal products, prepared and packaged to meet international standards.

He made the call while delivering the 373rd Inaugural Lecture of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, held recently, at the prestigious Oduduwa Hall of the University.

The lecture, titled “Pharmacology unravels nature: Paradoxical effects of endogenous natural substances”, had the presence of the 12th Substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Institution Prof.  Adebayo Simeon Bamire; Registrar, Mr Adetunji Kamardeen Bakare; President, PSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh; Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU, Prof. Margaret Olubunmi Afolabi; Akire of Ikire, Oba Olatunde Falabi, among many others.

The scholar noted that this will create outlets for research efforts, generate revenue for medicinal plant researchers, and create job opportunities for Nigerians, adding that the government will need to find a way of providing opportunity for researchers to source for foreign exchange directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to purchase the needed items, consumables and equipment.

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“We need to maintain a very strong connection with the traditional knowledge regarding collection and processing of herbal medicines, so that the greatest majority of herbal medicines that are produced are consistent with those used historically. This will ensure optimum harvest times, drying times, and processing conditions for producing high-quality herbal medicines”, he said.

Akanmu, who was the immediate past dean of the Faculty, said there is need to also waive taxes on the items being imported directly, adding that there is need to work hand in hand with federal agencies such as NAFDAC, NDLEA, and federal ministry of health for the smooth importation of controlled drugs needed for research. “For example, at the peak of one of my research works, we ordered for a drug to be imported from the UK and the company was unable to deliver because it was not allowed to leave UK at the airport”, he said

Speaking on importance of collaboration in research, he explained that all the research works are multidisciplinary in nature and emanating from collaboration with colleagues within and outside the university including international collaborators, acknowledging the contributions of his collaborators and past undergraduate, Master and Ph.D students who, under his supervision, worked diligently to produce some of the results presented in the lecture.

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In the 107 lecture notes, Akanmu, explained that natural products have played significant role throughout the world in treating and preventing human diseases for thousands of years, adding that natural product medicines have come from various sourced materials including, terrestrial plants, microorganisms, marine organisms, vertebrates and invertebrates.

On his research findings on honey, Akanmu, disclosed that after the investigation on the effects of honey administration on rats after electrodes implantation for electroencephalogram (EEG) and electromyogram (EMG) recordings with simultaneous locomotor activity evaluation, it was discovered that honey can improve sleep and therefore may be useful in the alleviation or treatment of insomnia and possibly other related central nervous system disorders, depending on the source and constituents.

He continued, “These findings suggest that honey can improve sleep by promoting NREM sleep and REM sleep. Honey may be useful in the alleviation or treatment of insomnia and possibly other related CNS disorders”.

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He however noted that there is need to exercise caution in taking natural products as medicinal agent until the scientific evidences in relation to their pharmacological and toxicological effects have been established.

In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Bamire, congratulated the inaugural lecturer on fulfilling the academic rite while noting the inaugural lecture as ‘an academic tradition that is often considered a rite of passage for professors, adding that it is an opportunity for the inaugural lecturer to showcase his expertise, research interests, and academic achievements.

Fielding questions from journalists pressmen after the Lecture, the duo of Prof Usifoh, president, PSN, and Prof. Afolabi, dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, OAU, described Akanmu as an erudite and hardworking scholar and goal-getter, who has weathered the storm to become what he is today, adding that looking through his inaugural lecture, he blazed the trail in so many aspects, particularly in pursuing his interest in pharmacology, not minding the not so favourable environment of research in academia.


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