NIGERIANS have stepped up the purchase of traditional herbs like neem popularly known as dogonyaro and laganaria breviflorus known locally as tagairi in the belief that these traditional remedies will act as a cure for the dreaded coronavirus.
In the main, Nigeria has been spared the worst effects of the global pandemic as the country has only recorded 65 affected people with just one death. However, the government has taken several measures to prevent its spread, including the shutting of all Nigeria’s five international airports, closing the country’s borders and receiving medical equipment from Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.
With the government trying to raise awareness and urging the population to take preventative measures, there has been a surge in what are regarded as local remedies. According to the Herbs Sellers Association of Nigeria (HSAN) there has recently been a rush for laganaria breviflorus, known as tagairi and neem or azadirachta indica, locally known as dogonyaro leaves.
Alhaja Modinat Fasuyi-Onike, the HSAN chairman at Alade Market in the Shomolu area of Lagos State, said: “We gathered from the people that someone posted on the social media the effectiveness of tagairi, as it is believed that when thrown on the floor, it prevents the spread of any virus like measles and chicken pox. Also, that the dogonyaro plant is used in the cure for malaria, so, the demand is higher now as we have seen in our markets.
“I think the demand for dogonyaro is on the increase because to us, it is an alternative to the chloroquine tablets and since it is said that the symptoms of Covid-19 include high fever similar to those of malaria, people are rushing for dogoyaro.” Alhaji Fasuyi-Onike is also the financial secretary of the Elewe Omo Herbs Sellers Association of Nigeria.