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Category: Natural Health
Hurrah! slumbering Nigeria awakens to export herbs

WHEN the American literally hits gold, that is when he has the world coiled round his finger and is sure of having it soon firmly under his foot, he has a way of blowing his tops. "You ain’t seen nothing yet", he boasts.

"You ain’t seen nothing yet",

I wish to boast today. But that’s not because I have the world coiled, like a snake, perhaps, round my finger or because I’ve got what it takes to trample the world. I am all mouth and all, only because, in the world plant medicine market where the big nations rake in about 60 billion US dollars every year, my dear country, Nigeria, is about to wake from deep slumber to pick up at least $1 billion every year in the first ten years.

Thanks to President Olusegun Obasanjo, who finally took the bull by the horn, I can now enjoy a sweet, last laugh as I said I would in this column (then published in The Comet newspaper). At that time, an army of foreign multilevel marketing companies in the natural health sector had invaded the prostate Nigerian plant medicine market, pushing into obscurity the market visibility of Nigerian plant medicine products. Many stakeholders didn’t know what hit them or what to do. Fight them off through campaigns of calumny or simply join the bandwagon of their independent marketers, a case of joining them if you cannot beat them? My position then was that we obey the Laws of Nature. One of them is the Law of Gradualism. In this business, the world had moved on. We were far, far behind. Being behind meant we stood the risk of becoming flung off and lost in the scheme of things. Sometimes, we are lucky when stimuli from the environment awaken us from slumber. Couldn’t the influx of foreign herbs be meant to serve this purpose?

In the Law of Gradualism, the day doesn’t suddenly melt down to nightfall. And no child becomes a father the day after he was born. The world has moved over to a new mode of medicine but it didn’t just do that in a vacuum. Before Europe and America could create their $60 billion yearly world market for plant medicines, several things had happened in their societies which had not taken root here. First, many consumers of drug medicine had recognized them as poisons with many dangerous side effects and many doctors agreed with them. As a matter of fact, many medical doctors such as the late Dr. Robert Atkins, and researchers such as David Hoffman whose books I was exposed to in the 1980s, were at the forefront of a revolution to replace drug medicine with plant medicine. Medical schools, too, began to add instruction in complimentary medicine to their curricular. Some even made these courses compulsory for their students. Lately, we have heard of Dr. F Batmanhelidj, who has been healing such conditions as ulcers, arthritis, diabetes and hypertension with water, to force a new paradigm shift in medicine. So are people like Dr. Robert Young who are telling the world that there is only one disease i.e imbalance in the blood pH. By eating more of alkaline forming foods and drinking alkalinizing water, as oppose to acid forming water, you can get the blood pH away from acidosis to 7.364, that is slight alkalinity, and all disease potentials disappear, they say. The public awareness they generated, supported by media involvement, paved the way for new health attitudes and demands by society.

This was a far cry from what obtained in the Nigerian society at that time. Our doctors were behind the times, so to say. So were our pharmacists. At the 70th Annual Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, held at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, a paper was presented that pharmacists would find exciting. Viagra had just been released to the market with all fanfare.We thought we had better and safer alternatives. One of our reporters, DECLAN OKPALAEKE, a microbiology graduate of Lagos State University (LASU), was taken into a "kitchen" experiment with our native ogbolo (d.m.m) root. Our forefathers in south-western Nigeria depended on it for rejuvenation and male virility. Declan got about 20 men who took water extracts of this root and had their sperm counts checked every month. At every check, the minimum sperm count increase was about five million cells per five mls of semen. Only in two cases did the counts fail to rise. On laboratory investigation, it turned out that the men had some infections.

The pharmacists were lukewarm. Only the chairman of the session of that conference and one Mr. Adenle, both pharmacists, showed interest. Not even the people in Lagos who had thriving pharmaceutical factories gave it a second thought. The kitchen experiment was published in The Guardian and I encouraged Declan to present it for the CNN African Journalist of The Year Award. It won first prize with a purse of N1.5million. In those days, that would build a block of four bedroomed-flats! Nigeria has moved forward since then, no doubt. Health shops are springing up everywhere. Multilevel marketing companies from America, China and even South Africa are doing good business here. Their activities have created about 250,000 independent marketers in the plant medicine market who ballooned public awareness better than any newspaper or television station can achieve. Almost every newspaper and magazine now reports natural medicine and our orthodox doctors are no longer hostile to this area of medicine. In fact, many of them are knee deep in multilevel marketing. But these are not all that pave the way for the kind of transformation that has taken place in America and Europe, which President Obasanjo wishes to duplicate in Nigeria. In Austria, there are several kilometres of a single herb grown by only one farmer. At one plant medicine exhibition, one farm won an order for seven million pounds sterling worth of mistletoe supplies over one year. Thus, large-scale or plantation herbs growing is crucial for a successful modern herbs industry such as Europe and American are flaunting before us.

I do not know how long it will take Nigeria to develop this potential. For it is a follow-up to, or advancement over traditional farming for food crops under what is now called New Uses for Agriculture. We all know the sorry state in which our food crop agriculture is wallowing. The conferences of ASNAP (Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products) in Ghana (2002) and Senegal (2004) opened my eyes to this. An American industry in search of bromelain, a digestive, anti-pain and anti-inflammatory substance extracted from pineapple, organized Ghanian pineapple farmers into large associations, bought their crops off them, paid the farmers in US dollars and regularly offered them technical support to continue in business! On this basis, this column once lamented there was no commercial farm to grow MARIGOLD, the source of many foreign proprietary eye products now selling well in Nigeria. Ophtalmologists and optometrists now sell VISION exclusively. This is made up of Ginkgo biloba, Lutein and other substances. On the market, too, there is MAXI VISION, which adds, I think, cayenne, which is abundant locally. LUTEIN and ZEZANTHIN, two antioxidants found in the lens of the eyes and among chief ingredients of LUTEIN EYES, which is said to protect against cataract and other eye problems, are extracted from MARIGOLD flower. How wonderful wound it be, this column once day dreamed, if marigold farms sprang up in Nigeria and I could add the powdered herb to my rice or tea or sauce or simply take it in capsule form? Wouldn’t this help the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people going blind, attending eye clinics and spending enormous sums on eye surgery?

Even if these herbs farms emerge today, what about modern manufacturing plants? Before then, wouldn’t it be necessary to research the herbs? Mr. Olajuwon Okubena, the retired chartered accountant who is behind the JOBELYN success story, spent millions of Naira, even sold property on Allen Avenue in Lagos, while researching his proprietary blood formula, first for anti-anaemia and now for anti-oxidant and anti-inflammation uses. We may not push this point too far, though, for a take-off phase, with people like Prof. Abayomi Shofowora helping the President to achieve his dream of a herbal revolution and making Nigeria an exporter of herbs. A long time ago, I read on the Internet about Momordica Charantia being good for malaria, diabetes and uterine fibroids. When I got to the section of references, I was amazed to find a lot of work had been done on this herb by many Nigerians, including Prof. Shofowora. And what is the Nigerian name for this plant? The Yorubas call it EJIRIN! And right there on the Chinese Website this tropical plant was called its Yoruba name! This plant remedy is the latest addition in Nigeria to the growing list of Chinese herbs sold here by TASLY-KASLY under the proprietary name BITTER MELON POWDER. The only values this product has added to EJIRIN are additions of Chromium, plant insulin and zinc using, technology. Bitter melon powder is sold for use by diabetics. Chromium, especially chromium picolinate, helps glucose and insulin break through cell wall resistance and enter the cell to produce energy. Zinc supplement helps as diabetics are zinc deficient.

The product literature says: "This product (is) totally extracted from fresh Bitter Melon with ingredients capable of decreasing Blood Glucose levels … (it) improves metabolism and immunity. Used in treating subsequent complications of diabetes Type 1 and II, and very effective in treating eye ground bleeding. P – insulin acts as an insulin substitute and helps restore function of insulin. Charantin enhances insulin secretion and improves the sensitivity of insulin receptor and transportation. Chromium, important ingredient of our product, improves insulin transportation".

What I am dragging at is that, for example, the Internet is awash with research literature on such plants as bitter leaf, neem (dogon yaro), pumpkin seed, and bitter melon that we do not have to waste one extra day on new research before embarking on large scale cultivation, production and "aggressive" marketing.

When the first Nigerian multilevel marketing company emerged to market Nigerian products: "I am enjoying a sweet, last laugh… for the day of the high feast, finally, is nigh!" Who can fail to see this in the President’s move in this sector? He wants the committee he has appointed to inform Nigerians that herbs are safe, have good health benefits, and that growing them commercially can offer high returns on investment. Basically, the committee is to

(1) Create public awareness about herbs,

(2) Generate a database of Nigerian herbal medicinal plants and products,

(3) Commercially produce and aggressively market herbal medicinal products within Nigeria and export them as well,

(4) Get the private and public sectors to work to gether in this venture,

(5) Through this project, generate jobs in the culti vation, production, packaging and marketing processes and

(6) Train healthcare givers, maintain high ethical standards and promote integration of traditional medicine into the natural healthcare system.

Already, the committee has held meetings and produced its first-quarter report for the health minister. The report recommends that the government set up a NIGERIA INSTITUTE OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINE along with model hospitals and clinics nationwide, in addition to a website and a private company to produce Nigerian herbs for home consumption and export. The Presidential committee plans to acquire vast tracts of land for model plantation farming, travel extensively nation-wide, provide technical support for herbs growers and find markets for emerging products.

So far, it would appear the committee has settled for anti-malarials as the first line of herbal products it would like to develop and market. There is talk of artemisia (worm wood, to replace chloroquine) to which the malaria parasite has sort of become immune, in deference to government policy and partly because the price of artemisia-derived medicines from Asia has gone up by about 300 per cent, exactly the same reason which forced Ghana to abandon chloroquine for PHYTOCARIA, a herbal anti-malarial formula developed by a Ghanian while he was studying in Nigeria. If all goes well, the committee may also target the neem tree (dogon yaro) which, traditionally, has served as an anti-malarial. It would benefit, I believe, from the work of Kenyans who, at the 2002 ASNAP Conference in Accra, brought neem powder which chased away rats and cockroaches, and candles infused with neem oil which, as they burn, chase away mosquitoes. In Lagos, some attempts have been made to incorporate neem powder into black native soap for medicinal effects. In Senegal, the first lady taught the womenfolk how to make anti-malarial syrup for children out of the ripened seeds of the neem tree.

I am still wondering why the good, old lemon grass is not on the cards. At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), it was shown that water infusion of lemon grass eliminated the malaria parasite in the blood. As a matter of fact, LIPTON Nig Ltd, before its fusion with Lever Brothers, commissioned the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) to investigate the anti-malarial potential of lemon grass. The report, I understand, was exciting, and the company planned to make the powder into tea bags. Lemon grass powder in tea bag as a prophylectic and therapy will be welcomed in many houses and in the boarding houses, where many children come down with malaria.

Well, this is serving notice to the beverage companies which may wish to survive Nigeria’s herbal medicine revolution in the works to immediately consider partnering with the Presidential committee with a view to adding to their product lines the mass selling products of the future. And do remember: no sugar, no milk, please! These are forbidden in natural medicine.

As the committee grapples with its task and takes on the marketing aspect, it will inevitably contend with the mode of selling products on its hands, if it is to meet the President’s target of $1billion of business (or is it profit?) every year. My suggestion is that it go multi-level marketing. That is the machine for mass marketing today at the cheapest cost and fastest speed ever. Nothing, in my humble view, can beat 250,000 persons selling four packets of lemon grass tea every day. That is one million packets a day or 365 million packets a year! And at only N10 net margin per packet, we are talking of about N3.6 billion profit, not turn over, in one year! And this will be far, far beyond the President’s wildest dreams from only one product!

I can see the day of the high feast popping out its head in the corner. I can see myself having the last laugh and I can see my country creating more farm and factory jobs, not to mention jobs and my fellow countrymen and women rebuilding their health naturally and enjoying radiant health. I can see objectors to the incursion of foreign herbs and the mass marketing machines they built on their tracks agreeing that their coming was with a purpose, to awaken sleeping spirits and a sleepy nation, which can now use lessons and tools learned and borrowed from them to reshape their own world for the better. I can see President Olusegun Obasanjo going down in history, as this column once urged him to do, following President Bill Clintin’s example in America, as the man who brought us back to our roots, fought off the invasions from Europe, America and Asia and made us, indeed, a proud, real giant in the world.

I can see my country, now confident that it is not a JAGA-JAGA nation, boast to the world, as the American is won’t to do when he hits gold, that "YOU AIN’T SEE NOTHING YET".

This archive is courtesy of http://www.thenationonlineng.net/archiv…/tblnews_Detail.php

KATRA INTEGRATED SERVICES views to these article: It is right time for all African Nations to wake up and embrace the gift of using GOD given herbs for the use of all mankind's and reduce the use of synthetic orthodox drugs that promotes side effects. GOD IS NOT human, the knowledge of using herbs had been passed by him to our forefathers who had researched so well to identify the potency of medicinal herbs. MANY PREMATURE DEATH TODAY IS AS A RESULT OF ABANDONING GOD DIRECTIVE OF USING HERBS. our forefathers lives up to or even over 100yrs..... What is today's life SPAN...... 50, 60 OR 30.

Ezekiel 47:12. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.

Call Dr. Kingsley on 080-2312-0010 or email kingsleyakinfe@yahoo.com or visit our Facebook Health Forum to seek professional advise at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1557814171166403/
We are PHYTOTHERAPIST, committed to providing the highest quality herbal extract products possible, educating people on the safe and effective use of medicinal herbs and inspiring a love for plants and a respect for Mother Nature.

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3. ORTHODOX/HERBAL MEDICINE (facts you must know)



















Romans 14: 2 (For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs).

Genesis 1: 29 (And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not).

Psalm 104: 14 (He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth);

Ezekiel 47: 12 (And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine).