I Have never been successful enough to finish a tot of "agbo" even though i had to fight my curiosity to taste it. I have been told that there are the types that treat Malaria, and some other illnesses, in my humble opinion, i think belief plays a major role in the effects of "agbo". I read this story in Punch and thought you should read through this interesting interview.
Pls share your take on "agbo" the Juice of life... lol
At the Oshodi-Bolade shindig herbal clinic where Iya Abiye operates her business, it is usually a beehive of activities. All manner of clients visit the place to seek one medical advice or another. Many also come to buy herbal drugs from the shop. It is not surprising therefore to see men, women and even youths clutching different sizes and shapes of bottles containing local herbs as they move in and out of the store.
Interestingly, many of her clients believe her local drugs cater for all sicknesses, ranging from common cold to the most complex of diseases. Little wonder, many of them see her not just as a “physician and dispenser” but also as a “miracle worker.”
When our correspondent visited her shop recently, business was in full swing, as customers seen going back and forth with herbal preparations in small bottles, white and black cellophane wrappers labelled Na mo le,Opa Gboooro, Nageree, Ise bitters.
The story of Iya Abiye is just one out of the many local herbal manufacturers, who unsuspecting members of the public patronise while seeking medical assistance.
From Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, Anambra, Kano to Kaduna just to mention but a few states, there has been a proliferation of local herbal business. And like many uncontrolled enterprises, the fear of abuse is now on the minds of many orthodox medics as well as Nigerians who delight in taking these local herbs.
Little wonder many medics have raised the alarm over the indiscriminate sale and use of herbal concoctions, especially aphrodisiacs in the country. In short, they have linked the consumption of these substances to increasing reported cases of kidney and liver failure among the citizens.
Apart from that, they have cautioned that the unregulated sale and production of herbal medicines may result in drug addiction and increase the population of Nigerians with kidney and liver problems.
Specifically, the Chief Medical Director, Royal Cross Medical Centre, Dr. Femi Faduyile, has advised that the use of unverified local drugs and the activities of their operators and marketers needed check.
Faduyile adds that health care professionals need to discourage individuals from taking herbal concoctions because they contain toxic and harmful chemicals that could corrode the liver.
He says, “Many of these herbal medicines are taken raw like concoctions and this is dangerous. Raw herbs may contain very toxic chemicals and that can only be removed pharmaceutically. These raw mixtures contain chemicals that have also not been analysed.
“When you take something that has not been analysed to know whether it is useful or not, then you are exposed to danger. Some herbal preparations are not even useful when you analyse them. They are as good as drinking water while some are as potent poison. When you keep drinking herbs that are not good, the liver and kidney keep working to eradicate them. The day they get tired of doing the dirty job too often, they will pack up. You may be 30 years old then.”
For the state Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists, Mr. Yinka Abdulsalami, the blame for herbal abuse and proliferation is due to poor implementation of government policies.
According to him, herbal medicine in the country will continue to flourish insofar as its practitioners violate guidelines on safe medical practices.
These unorthodox operators, he adds, lay claims to having cure for diseases without any scientific proof.
He notes, “In the medical world, it is ethically wrong for any doctor or pharmacists to say they can cure diabetes or hypertension or ulcer or any disease. We know that cure is subject to interpretation and making such claims makes patients gullible and prone to deceit. But in herbal practice, anybody who is looking for clients can claim to cure hypertension, HIV/AIDs or any disease in vogue .Nobody will hold them liable or responsible.
“Those days, herbs were prepared to save lives not for money or commercial purposes. Herbal practitioners were much more sincere, but now, Nigerians see the herbal medicine as moneymaking venture. We are not saying they are all bad, but with regulation, following scientific procedures, we can separate the chaff from the wood.”
Abdulsalami adds that abuse of herbal medicines is more rampant in rural areas compared to urban areas due to lack of health care facilities and professionals.
Calling for proper government regulation, he says, “There are many villages in the country where they have no pharmacy or pharmacist, chemist, nurse or doctor. But, you are sure that there will be a herbal practitioner in every village. People in these places fall sick and they must go somewhere.
“If the government is serious about the health of Nigerians, it must provide health care facilities for her citizens, no matter where they live. It must also regulate herbal practice from the primitive level to the modern level because whether a person dies in a village in Borno or Lagos from using toxic herbs, it is still a Nigerian that died.”
But for Iya Abiye, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The efficacy of a drug is not about long academic debate. In her thinking, it is all about saving life in a practical way.
The local dispenser, who claims to cure more than 10 diseases, nonetheless adds that her specialty is in correcting erectile dysfunction as well as solving gonorrhea and infertility problems.
She adds, “I was born to cure sick people and I will not stop doing it. I have always believed in the power of roots, stems and seeds in curing any challenge. It has never failed me.”
Asked if she has evidence to back the cure she advertises, Iya Abiye boasts that she is not bothered with scientific evidence as testimonies from her ‘patients’ were enough to certify her as a healer.
She notes, “I do not have to be a doctor to cure people, I also do not need to prove anything because my customers come back to tell me that they are seeing results.
“If an impotent man takes my herbs and then impregnates his wife, what other proof do I need? That is why they call me Iya Abiye. Solving sexual challenge is one of my specialties. I have also trained over 30 women selling herbal concoctions in this area. Apprentices come to learn from as far as Osun, Oyo and Ilorin.”