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DUMPING AFRICAN HERBS FOR ASIAN PRODUCTS

By NBF News
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It is common practice these days to see Nigerians subscribing to purchase products made from the Asian and middle-eastern countries. Even when these may not necessarily be superior to Nigerian products they are sold at prices far higher than what their equivalents produced in Nigeria or other African countries may sell for. CHIKA OTUCHIKERE relates this phenomenon to herbal products and Nigerians' crave for remedies made abroad.

It would amount to mere rhetoric if one asks again why Africans have developed a penchant for foreign herbal products, persistently refusing their own while, at the same time; accepting others' even if what they are accepting is, to the discerning minds, substandard to their own.  Though this unfortunate trait has become an African phenomenon, it seems more pronounced in Nigeria than anywhere else.

A typical case is the sudden emergence or proliferation of Asian and Middle Eastern Herbal Remedies in our Country and the unprecedented governmental approval these 'remedies' are attracting even when the potency they confer on themselves has hardly been verified.

According to stakeholders, ugly trend is happening in spite of the country's landscape being awash with Roots and Herbs and an army of Nigerians endowed with the gift of deciphering these herbs and the use they could be put into. What makes the situation even more perplexing is that some Nigerians who have taken it upon themselves to research into the use which some of the Roots and Herbs that are taken for granted could be put into are getting foreign recognition while the relevant Nigerian regulators are shying away from recognizing them.

An Abuja based Herbal Home, Halamin Herbal run by Mr. Ben Amodu, becomes a case study. Amodu's herbal centre was adjudged to be a foremost centre in the search for cure against several ailments and diseases including some which orthodox medicine considers as incurable. After undergoing all manner of rigorous and mandatory tests Amodu's products received the blessing of NAFDAC and the highly respected NIPRD. In spite of this however, the ministry of Health does not have any support for them. Meanwhile, the same products are given fair recommendations by international bodies like the United Nations UN and the World Health Organisation WHO.

LEADERSHIP learnt that Amodu, a Zaria trained Pharmacist and Lawyer, was once sponsored on a trip abroad by the United Nations to defend some of the claims he made about his drugs, in a paper he published in an International Academic Journal.

The herbalist feels that for the World body to as much as look his way means his claims make sense and the fact that he came out of the international outing without any form of condemnation or contradiction was an indication that his remedies could be of immense value to Nigerians and the world at large. 'There is more to the products than he is getting recognition for' said a Ministry official in Abuja.

Amodu disclosed that what makes his products unique is the absence of side effects and its powerful effect or complications arising from drugs for ailments like diabetics. He boast that with his products Nigeria is poised to shock with highly efficacious herbs.