Coronavirus: NAFDAC, CUGZIN, 20 other plant medicines waiting for official recognition


Unlike many other people, I am not shocked that only one (CUGZIN) of the 21 Nigeria herbal medicines presented and screened for COVID-19 cure has been accepted so far, not even as a killer of the new Coronavirus, but a possible cure of its symptoms through immune boosting.

In the matter before their Lordships at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), we should have expected that in the light of politics and power play, time and money constraints, and other Nigerian factors. First, Nigeria is a country governed by a quota system under which one region is not expected to rise beyond any of the other five. That means if one of the six regions produces 18 of 21 herbal immune boosters, many of the healing medicines would have to be swept under the carpet. This ensures that one of the regions is prevented from dominating the others. We are told that this “dragging down” levels the political and economic topography, and builds national unity!

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In a matter like this, there could be a positive or negative verdict depending on who the arbiter is. We should have known that under The Law of Unattainable Trinity, time, money and skills produce maximum effect and that it is not always possible to warehouse all three in one project or endeavour. Accordingly, if you have all the money and all the skills in the world, you cannot build a 25-storey building in one day. Time would be a gross enemy of excellence in this equation. Also, you cannot build a 25-storey building in a thousand years if you have the money and time but not the skills. Only in the spirit world where thought, deed and effect occur simultaneously is it possible to not separate thought and deed by time and space. The cave man and Nethendal man didn’t build stone houses, let alone storey buildings or motor cars! NAFDAC is not financially supported for the work it is called upon to do in a short period of time. Even if all its staff are specialists in Alternative medicine and Traditional medicine, time and money barriers would still have led it to disqualify as many as 20 plant medicines which the producers say can kill the new coronavirus.

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We probably underrated the influence of Establishment medicine in this matter. No doubt, there is probably no where on earth its easily cohabiting with Alternative medicine as it has done in Nigeria. For this, we must salute our doctors and consultants. For even where hospital protocols do not permit them to prescribe plant medicines, the personaly use them and give them to their private patients. In fact, some of them are leading figures and distributors of some marketing companies which sell plant medicines through network marketing. What we probably ignored was the fact that their lordships were pharmacists and that we were dealing with BIG PHARMA, that international system which moved mankind away from nature-based medicines to chemical drugs about 100 years ago. Its representatives are within the cycles of food and medicine-regulating bodies world-wide, and they design what medical students are taught in school and which ones doctors would give their patients in the wards.

The Pharmacist’s private practice must toe the line as well. It is against this background that Nigeria’s alternative medicine system presented 21 plant medicines to NAFDAC for validation as cures for COVID-19 infections. By dismissing 20 of them, I humbly believe NAFDAC made a glaring mistake. It had listed and registered some of them for sale to the public as “Immune Boosters”. NAFDAC may have been right when there was no public clamour for herbal medicines to be registered for any disease. It took its strides gently and did its work diligently. COVID-19 upset all that peace or tranquility. It was killing humans like flies in many countries, and Establishment medicine said it had no cure for it. The virus came to Nigeria, and death from it began to occur. The public wondered if Nigeria’s traditional medicine system had no cure. It said it had. NAFDAC was irresponsive. Then, Madagascar came out of the blue, thundering through Africa with COVID ORGANICS. President Muhammadu Buhari even directed that NAFDAC examine it.

But how would NAFDAC do this without sidelining Nigerian medicines and provoking public agitation against the government? The invitation to Nigerian plant medicine producers could, therefore, have arisen from this scenario, observed some industry watchers. In that screening, even COVID ORGANICS suffered a knock-out as a mere cough elixir. But if we may wonder, hasn’t the medical establishment admitted that it had no cure and was merely treating the symptoms of COVID-19? Is cough not a symptom? If COVID ORGANICS is a mere cough remedy, isn’t it worth the while of the cough sufferer in or outside COVID-19? What is a remedy for a disease or an infection if not a booster of immunity against that disease or infection?

As the World Health Organisation (WHO), not told us that without an anti-COVID-19 vaccine, our immunity is our best defence? And since Nigerians and other Africans have not died as woefully as Europeans and Americans have done, could not our environment, diet, lifestyle and immunity have made the difference? Aren’t all of these worth promoting in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19? I recall that the NAFDAC of the 1990s was well persuaded with laboratory evidence from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) that Jobelyn was a rapid blood builder within 24hours. If COVID-19 causes blood coagulation and anaemia and a herbal medicine is the fastest blood builder world-wide, as shown in LUTH and other experiment centres, is it not worth trying for replacement of blood lost to COVID-19? If a diabetic former President of Nigeria managed his blood sugar with this product while in office, is it not worth trying for diabetics as an underlining ailment support in COVID-19 therapy? If the Nigerian military hospital at Ikoyi in Lagos found Jobelyn good for the well-being of it HIV patient and told a conference of world military hospitals so in America,if a Tunisian study claimed that 1,650 HIV patient on Jobelyn for six months turn negative, if other studies are claiming that Jobelyn rapidly elevates CD4 Blood Count more than any substance now in use, if,world-wide, anti-HIV drugs are now being used in COVID-19 therapes,is this Nigerian herbal product not worth investing and trying?

By Femi Kusa

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