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Yoruba Herbs and their English Meanings


The Yoruba people of Nigeria is known to have so much trust in medical herbs. Since their forefathers survived with those God-given medications, they could still survive with it even as scientific and artificially made drugs are all over the places.

In this post, however, we shall review the different Yoruba herbs and their English names.

Different Yoruba Herbs and English Meanings

It may beat your imagination that those Yoruba herbs sometimes prescribed to you have English names by which they are recognised. Here are some of those herbs:

  1. Ewe Minti (Mint Leaf)
  2. Oloorun (Cinnamon)
  3. Ata Gun Gun (Cayenne Pepper)
  4. Effirin (Parsely)
  5. Celery (Seleri)
  6. Bay Bunkum (Bay Leaf)
  7. Efo Ewuro (Majoram)
  8. Efo Tete (Spinach)
  9. Atale Pupa (Turmeric)
  10. Basil (Basil)
  11. Shombo (Chili)
  12. Zobo (Hibiscus Flower)
  13. Tete Eleegun (Thorny pig weed or Prickly Amaranth)
  14. Ewedu (Fenugreek)
  15. Atale (Ginger)
  16. Ifon (Olax Subscorpioidea)
  17. Ogege (Jatropha Multiflora or Guatemala Rhubarb)
  18. Oganwo (Khaya grandifoliola)
  19. Irawo Ile (Girdlepod)
  20. Eti Erin (Aloe Vera)
  21. Ewe Asunwun (Senna)
  22. Ewe Ile (Moringa)
  23. Peregun (Dracaena)
  24. Gbure (Water leaf)
  25. Ewuro (Bitter Leaf)
  26. Emo-Agbo (Forest Burr or Creeping Cock’s Comb)
  27. Igba (Eggplant)
  28. Ofio Omu (Tigernut)
  29. Efo Yarin (Wild Lettuce)
  30. Shokoyokoto (Lagos Spinach)
  31. Awopa (Enantia Chloranta)
  32. Ayu (Garlic)
  33. Yanrin (Lettuce)
  34. Dagunro (Alternanthera Nodiflora)
  35. Ata-wewe (Tobasco Pepper)
  36. Esuru (Sweet Yan)
  37. Effirin Gogoro or Effirin Oko (Lippia Multiflora)

A Brief History of Yoruba Medicine

The Yoruba people of western Nigeria is mostly known to practice herbalism is West Africa. However, the African herbalism has come to be called Yorubic or Orisha medicine.

Herbal medicine all started from a religious text called Ifa Corpus. The tradition has it that the Ifa Corpus was revealed by the mystic prophet Orunmilla about 4000 years ago in the ancient city of Ile Ife, located in the present-day Osun State.

In Yorubic medicine, “Onisegun” refers to a herbalist while “Oloogun” is one of the many names medical practitioners are called. A priest or priestess is called “Babalawo.”

In the practice of Yoruba medicine, an Oloogun looks out for both the emotional and spiritual causes of the illness. Only after this inquiry will the Oloogun the proper treatment for the sickness, which may include herbs, dances, spiritual baths and so on.

The Importance of Using Herbs for Medication

Some people shy away from receiving treatments from herbal doctors because they assume they are educated enough. As that may be their choice, one cannot dispute the fact that herbs work wonders in treating many ailments. So here are the benefits of herbal medicine in you have been deriding it:

  • They give natural healing
  • Herbal medicine has fewer side effects
  • They stabilize hormones and enhances metabolism
  • Herbs are easier to get than some prescription medicine
  • The herbal medicines are cost-effective unlike most of the conventional medicine
  • Most of those herbs and natural spices help to fight cancer
  • The antioxidants in natural herbs help to reduce the toxicity of certain things in our bodies.


The Yoruba people of West Africa does so many things with regard to herbs. Although we have listed above the names of Yoruba herbs and their names in English, it is not comprehensive.

Nonetheless, if you know other Yoruba herbs that are not listed above, please go ahead and leave it in the comment section.

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