Agbo: To drink or not to drink?

The essence of this article is not to discredit the role local herbs have in the healing world today. It is to create an awareness of the many hidden dangers they may pose to unsuspecting users. Especially if they are taken without seeking advice from a medical practitioner.

One day, walking home from work, I saw a few men hailing a woman to approach them. She had a large bucket on her head. The bucket contained smaller plastic bottles, all with different colours of liquids. One of the men complained of a ‘stomach ache.’ She smiled and poured him a cup from one of her bottles. Another said he had ‘malaria’, she opened a different bottle and poured him a drink from there.

The truth is these concoctions may have some use in the treatment of some ailments. It does make sense as most pharmaceutics are made from plants and plant extracts. There is however, an emphasis on extracts. The plants are tested and only the efficacious components are used in producing medications.
This is not the case for a lot these local mixtures. There are no random controlled trials carried out. There are no regulatory bodies to checkmate any excesses. There is no way to determine appropriate dosage or possible side effects. All these automatically render whatever good these mixtures have to offer void. Why? Simply because it ends up becoming a case of solving one problem and creating a few more in the process. There is enough evidence from research to suggest that these herbal mixtures may contribute to kidney and liver diseases, especially since many of them are alcohol based.

In summary, before taking any herbal concoction, seek the advice of a doctor.

** Contributed by Michael Imeh, a DHI volunteer

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