Is there a role for trado-medicine in the Nigerian health sector? (21) Systematic reviews of traditional medicine

9 January, 2019

Dear Wendie,

Thank you for your recent message [

You noted: "As an aside, the Global Health database ( has over 38000 records on ethnopharmacology, the earliest being 1913 in Archiv fur Schiffs- und Tropenhygiene"

This is impressive and would provide a valuable resource for anyone reviewing this subject.

For the purposes of our discussion on HIFA it would be helpful to identify what has been done in terms of evidence synthesis / systematic review of traditional medicine.

For example, a quick Google search reveals a Cochrane systematic review (2014) on Herbal medicine for low-back pain. (Note the studies were using herbal medicines in measured doses in clinical settings rather than in traditional settings.) The conclusion: 'Low to moderate quality evidence shows that four herbal medicines may reduce pain in acute and chronic LBP in the short-term and have few side effects. There is no evidence yet that any of these substances are safe or efficacious for long-term use. Large, well-designed trials are needed to further test the efficacy of these interventions.'

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: