From the beginning of creation God gave man all that is necessary for him to live a healthy life – food for energy and healthy living as well as medicinal plants to treat his ailments. Psalm 104 vs. 14 says, “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation (plants) for the service of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart.” Herbal medicine involves the use of herbs and herbal preparations to prevent, alleviate or cure diseases. Herbs are plants with natural healing properties used in treating ailments. Such herbal plants relieve common ailments such as headaches, indigestion, colds, malaria, typhoid, coughs, burns etc.
According to Dr. Mercola, before modern-day medicine and its pharmacopeia of synthetic drugs, there were plants the ancient ciivilizations knew how to use strategically to treat common ailments and even life-threatening diseases. Even today, many people are increasingly turning to herbal medicine which is the oldest form of treatment of diseases because it has proved to be more efficacious in the treatment of certain diseases than the genetically modified drugs. It is also cheaper comparatively and toxin-free and with no side effects. The World Health Organisation estimates that 80 percent of world’s population now uses traditional medicinal plants as health care tools. In our own clime, everywhere you turn to you see some people hawking herbal medicine known as agbo, in Yoruba Language for the treatment of malaria, typhoid, pile, libido enhancer, etc.
Commercial herbal medicine farming therefore involves the business of growing medicinal herbs in large scale and selling them to those practitioners or to end users to make profit. The useful part of the plant for sale could be the leaf, the bark, the seed, or the root.
Plants such as aloe vera, guava, moringa, lemon grass, limes, thymes, garlic, avocado peer, ugu, scent leaf, plantain, cashew, bitter kola, mango, paw-paw and many others are common features of the farm. Many of them have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammation, anti-parasitic properties as well as immune boosters.
R e s e a r c h The first step in starting a herbal medicine farm is to study the plants available in your locality to get abreast with their medical properties. Certainly, every plant has medicinal value but the challenge is how to discover their potential. Knowledge of the medicinal plants was handed down from generation to generation. The knowledge could be got by working closely with traditional medicine practitioners to know the type of plants they use to treat people. Training with the practitioners will give you added advantage of not only knowing the plants and their medicinal properties but with experience you too could graduate to be practitioner. And once people see that you too can treat some ailments, they would be patronizing you. Again, through research in the Internet, you could discover many plants with their medicinal properties.
Land is of essence in this business. You can acquire a piece of land for planting purposes. However, if you do not have such opportunity, you can start planting in the compound where you live or rent a piece of land. Perhaps when the business prospers and you are making enough money you can then buy a piece of land for expansion.
In planting you should employ organic farming methods, that is, devoid of use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides as these alter the genetic compositions of plants and render them inefficacious. Look for a fertile land for your planting or you use natural manure or animal droppings to grow the plants.
There are many ways you can market your business. One is by word of mouth, telling people that you run a herbal medicine farm and the type of plants that you have in stock. Two, you could have a shop where you sell some herbs or herbal preparations for common ailments such as malaria, typhoid, stomach ache, body pains or sophisticated ones such as fibroid, stroke, high blood pressure, insomnia, craw-craw, etc. The shop should be located at a strategic location especially where there is a lot of traffic of people. You can as well print flyers detailing your services and distributing it starting from you church, mosque or locality as the case may be.
The venture is profitable because the medicinal plants are in great demand. All you need is a determination to succeed. Many are already tapping into the business and making a living out of it. The venture which requires low capital promises high return on investment and continuous income generation year after year. You can give a try. Best of luck!
Source: Independent News Nigeria