The use of herbal medicines among Nigerians and the tendency by patients to combine this class of medicines with allopathic drugs while on hospital admission is on the increase .
The combination of modern drugs and traditional herbal remedies is a fast growing practice among many Nigerians as many people believe in their efficacies. These herbal remedies, popularly known as “agbo” among the south-west locals of Nigeria, are employed in the treatment of many common diseases. They include typhoid fever, malaria, and less common diseases, of which are the sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea and staphylococcus. The reasons for this include affordability of these remedies as well superstitious beliefs commonly spread by the traditional herbal medicine practitioners, and their patrons alike, contribute immensely to the increase in consumption of these herbal remedies [2-4].
This is despite the availability of modern drug formulations . Traditional medicine is still the predominant means in the third world for the preservation of health of the rural majority who constitute over 70% of the total population . However, adequate knowledge of the methods of preparation, the possible toxicological effects of some chemical species present in the ingredients and the side effects of the various mixtures are usually unknown to many who patronize herbal medicines (since herbs contain hundreds of plant chemicals in varied concentrations) which if not properly utilised can pose a threat to the health of the consumer and could lead to the damage of vital organs such as liver and kidney that are involved in the metabolism and evacuation of toxic chemicals in the body.
Unfortunately the belief in the efficacy of herbal remedies by an average Nigerian outweighs individual knowledge of the pharmacological effects of these medicines and this could prove fatal in many cases.
The study was therefore carried out to determine phytochemicals present in some locally produced herbal remedies in Lagos, Nigeria and to evaluate antioxidant properties of common herbal remedies locally prepared in Lagos, Nigeria and the probable toxic effects of these herbal remedies.