Pharmacognosy – this term was derived from the Greek, “pharmakon”, a drug, and“gignosco” to acquire a knowledge of, was not introduced until 1815 and had its origin in a small work by Seydler entitled “Analecta Pharmacognostica”. Pharmacognosy is a multidisciplinary subject which comprises parts of botany, organic chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, zoology, anthropology, geography, ethnomedicine, nutraceuticals, etc.
Pharmacognosy is the oldest medical science, the counterpart of the study of medicine since early pharmacognosists were physicians.
Staff Strength: Academic – 7 (4 Professors, 3 Senior Lecturers), Senior Technical – 6, Secretarial – 3, Laboratory staff – 3.
Postgraduate Student Enrolment: 9 postgraduate students presently, made up of – 7 M.Sc., 1 M.Phil and 1 Ph.D. To date the Department has produced 9 Ph.D, 49 M. Phil and 39 M.Sc. graduates. With the governmental recognition of the practice of traditional medicine in Nigeria and the recent authorization given to NAFDAC to register herbal medicines, the Department has continued to offer services in the scientific evaluation and quality control of such herbal medicines, prior to registration.
- Standardisation of medicinal plants and herbs.
- Developing Zanthoxylum xanthoxyloides for sickle cell anaemia. Cassia podocarpaand C. alata as marketable medicarments, in place of imported senna.
- Validation of ethnomedical reports on our locally available plants.
- Search for remedies for the management of endemic diseases e.g. AIDS, malaria, diabetes, etc.
- Provision of critical, relevant data for the compilation of the next volume of the African and Nigerian Pharmacopoeia.
- The Department maintains a large medicinal plants garden.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Department of Pharmacognosy has been the Secretariat of the Nigerian Society of Pharmacognosy and the production of the Nigerian Journal of Natural Products and Medicine, the only such journal in the African Continent.
- The Department has published 264 research articles, 9 textbooks, 8 chapter contribution to textbooks and granted 1 patent.
- The Department continues to produce staff for other Departments of Pharmacognosy in Nigerian Universities.