Validation of Ewé’fá as Herbal Recipes for Reproductive Health Problems (RHPs) among the Yorùbá of South-western Nigeria


Validation of Ewé’fá as Herbal Recipes for Reproductive Health Problems (RHPs) among the Yorùbá of South-western Nigeria


Aderemi S. Ajala1*, Mubo A. Sonibare2, Idayat T. Gbadamosi3, S. K. Olaleye4, Oluwatoyin Odeku5, Aremu O. Adegoke6, A. G. Adejumo7,

1Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; 2Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; 3Department of Botany, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; 4Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; 5Department of Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; 6Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; 7Department of African Languages and Linguistics, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Ifá scriptural verses contain a number of herbs for healing different ailments among the Yorùbá of Nigeria. Thus, Ifá is one of the epistemologies of Yorùbá herbal healing system. Considering religious sentiments and secrecy arising from patenting, hermeneutic analysis and validation of Ifá-based herbs (Ewé’fá) is yet to be scientifically engaged. This paper analyses some Ifá verses and identifies Ewe’ fa mentioned in them for validation, focussing reproductive health problems (RHPs). Thirty medicinal plants mentioned in six selected Ifá verses (Èjìogbè, Ògúndábède, Òyèkú-Méjì, Ogbè- Túrúpòn, Ìwòrì- Òfún, and Òtúrá-Méjì) for the treatment and management of RHPs were identified. Ethnographic and ethno-botanical surveys of those herbs were conducted in Bode herbs market in Ibadan, Nigeria. Key informants’ interviews, observation, and semi-structured ethno-botanical questionnaire were used. Interviews focused on sources of Ewé’fá and mode of treatment in RHPs, botanical information on Ewé’fá, knowledge value of identified Ewé’fá, and uses and validation of Ewé’fá in the treatment of RHPs. Nineteen respondents, mainly herb sellers (78.9%) and some traditional medical practitioners (21.1%) were involved in the survey. All the respondents were females, aged 41-60 years (52.6%) and 78.9% of them were Muslims. Herbal preparations are infusion, decoction, tincture, charring, squeezing, concoction, herbal soap and powder. Herb administrations are oral, topical and as baths. Oral therapies are administered mostly three times daily. Most of the herbs are sourced from the tropical rainforest region of south-western Nigeria. Ewe’fa are valuable as blood tonic, anti-infection, fertility herbs, aphrodisiac, womb cleanser, worm expeller and in the treatment of frigidity. Traditional use of most of the Ewé’fá for RHPs is validated. Hermeneutically, curative meaning given to a plant and beliefs associated with their healing potentials as contained in Ifá verses play a significant role in the use and potency of Ewe’fa. The findings provide a good starting point in pursuit of the search for safe and effective drug candidates for many reproductive health problems.


Keywords: Ethno-botanical survey, Reproductive health, Traditional knowledge, Ewé’fá́, Herbal remedies, South-western Nigeria


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How to cite this article:
Aderemi S. Ajala, Mubo A. Sonibare, Idayat T. Gbadamosi, S. K. Olaleye, Oluwatoyin Odeku, Aremu O. Adegoke, A. G. Adejumo,. Validation of Ewé’fá as Herbal Recipes for Reproductive Health Problems (RHPs) among the Yorùbá of South-western Nigeria. Journal of Herbal Medicine Research, 2019,4:38.


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