Should I use herbal medicine?
Many sick people have asked this question at one time or the other. Once the illness is taking a bit of time, friends and family may ask, won’t you take agbo? (agbo is the colloquial term for herbal medicine). One time, I was very ill in the boarding house in Lagos. So, I had to call my parents back home in Ibadan. My parents, in turn, called my uncle who rushed down to whisk me away. On my first night at his place, the following conversation ensued.
Uncle: Sam, oya come take this agbo?
Me (confused): Sir?
Uncle: I said come and take this agbo?
Me: Eer…Sir, what’s the nafdac number?
My uncle was like
His wife was just stunned.
I was just lost for words when I saw their confused looks. Sure, they didn’t force me to take the agbo. The truth, however, is that I didn’t ask that question to upset them. I was just asking to be sure of the authenticity of whatever I will be taking.
That brings me to the issue of taking herbal medicine. There are different kinds of agbo for different purposes. For example, for malaria fever, an herbal medicine enthusiast will give this mixture:
- Get a potful of lemon grass and lime.
- Boil in sufficient water and drink a cup twice a day. For children, take ¼ of a glass cup twice a day.
- Prepare Lipton tea, lime, lemon grass, pea leaf (Otiili), henna leaf (Laali).
- Boil in sufficient water.
- Add Alabukun Powder.
- Take 3 times a day.
Or this recipe for typhoid.
- Get coconut husk, starchy water (Omidun) and lime orange.
- Boil together.
- Take 3 times daily
These herbal remedies are just examples of what people take everyday. So this brings us to the question of taking herbal medicine or not. Most people will argue for or against taking them based on their background, exposure and knowledge. Some people have been taking agbo from their mom’s womb while others like me would rather remain sick than take it.
The hard fact is that most ‘agbo‘ contain herbs that are medicinal. These phyto-medicines have pharmaceutical and therapeutic properties. However, they are not refined. Most of the active compounds in the herbal drugs are still in the raw form and may affect the body negatively. Furthermore, the quantity to be used is always extemporaneous. Whatever dosage given is just an assumption. This is because these herbs have not gone through the correct drug development process for there to be an accurate measure of what the dosage should be.
Finally, while taking herbal remedy is a thing of choice, it’s imperative for you to be informed about what you are doing. Even though the ‘agbo‘ contains ingredients that are medicinal, they are still in raw from. So next time you feel under the weather, please consult a doctor!
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