Main Article Content
Background: The use of herbal medicines and medicinal plants available in a locality in the treatment and control of human diseases, promotion of health and management of health conditions will continue to play a significant role in the healthcare system of the people, especially in developing countries. This cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the perception and knowledge of usage of herbal medicines among the residents of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Methodology: Multi-stage sampling technique was used for this study.
Results: The results indicated that out of the 273 questionnaires returned, 118 (44.9%) of the respondents were male while 144 (55.1%) were female. The average age of the respondents was 36±10 years. The prevalence of usage of herbal medicine from this study was 80.9%. The major source of information about herbal medicines was home (family and friends).The results also indicate that 180 (68.6%) of the respondents did not experience unpleasant effects such as headaches, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea, with the use of herbal medicines. Similarly, on the reasons for using herbal medicine, 134 (51.1%) of the respondents indicated that they used herbal medicines because they are effective, 66 (25.3%) said herbal medicines are always available mostly as locally sourced herbs, while 46 (17.7%) said herbal medicines are not costly. On the perception of herbal medicines, 206 (78.6%) indicated that herbal medicines are efficacious, 197 (75.3%) supported the integration of herbal medicines into the conventional health system, 243 (92.6%) supported the establishment of a Board to regulate the practice of herbal medicine in order to prevent indiscriminate use of herbal medicines while 234 (89.9%) of the respondents supported the establishment of a formal training institution for herbal medicine practitioners.
Conclusion: It is concluded that herbal medicines have wide acceptability and perception among the study population. It is recommended that herbal medical practice be properly regulated and integrated into the conventional health system.
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