The Evolution Of Medicine and The Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends some questions about herbs, medicine and the kitchen. Hopefully this post will be a little insightful as to why we practice traditional medicine. Anyway, I was ill and I spoke to my friend about taking anything I can to give me some relief until I could get some medicine. She came with the garlic, ginger and green tea gist. I went for it, but I still felt ill. All that happened was me going peepee like every 2ominutes. See me see green tea and garlic o. I decided to go for a more “regular” medical treatment and lo and behold I felt better. Now that experience got me curious about traditional medicine.

Now some people cook what we call “Agbo” in their houses for times when they are ill and as a detox. This practice is known to be carried out in the whole of Africa by certain Africans who believe in it’s potency. Listen, I do believe in some practices. Like the use of bitter leaf extract to curb some stages of impotency in men. I know, I know, I’m not a man sha, but I have seen cases where it worked. I have also heard of a bitter leaf mixture used in making bath soap; and this is locally used to cure different stages of acne and sun burn.

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bitter leaf plant

Before I continue, here are some responses I got in answer to my question about Agbo mixtures

“I remember someone telling my momma to give me rice water to drink because I had diarrhea ….when I was much more younger and boiled lemon grass(dogonyaro) for severe malaria”… Racheal Ezechi

“Well, my father is a medical Doctor Who dabbled into traditional medicine, as well. When we were younger, I remember he used to boil pawpaw leaves, mango tree barks, lemon grass, dogonyaro (I don’t know it’s scientific name) leaves – I can’t remember if I missed anything – all in one pot, he’d build a small hut out of plantain leaves and crouch in it as the pot boiled, inhaling the vapor for just a few minutes. The water from the boiling would be sieved and stored in the refrigerator. He said a glass of it twice a day was enough to treat malaria, thus, he prepared ogwu iba.”(Malaria medicine) Alexander Ilouno
“Lemon grass, dongoyaro (neem) leaf, pawpaw leaf, mango leaf, orange leaf. Boil together for fever or malaria. This I personally do and It’s  been working for me. Maryam Meemee Musa
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Dogonyaro(Neem) leaves
“Sour sop leaves is used to knock down sugar levels. Wash like you would wash bitter leaves and sieve…only the juice is consumed 3-4times a day. It’s good to freshly prepare the juice each time. It easy and its not time consuming.” Obiageli Abor Elfrida
“Sour sop leaves are sophisticated leaves and shrinks cancerous cells. The leaves, the fruit too. Heard the seed and bark do one kind correct job. It also rids your body of free radicals. That I know. We planted a tree in my house by force” Ibitola Olatunji
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Leaves from a Soup sop tree
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Sour sop fruit in the basket

Although a lot of people swore by these local and herbal remedies Chal Ya says other wise. She did say she has seen people suffer from liver sclerosis due to the use of herbal medicine. As for me, I’m too much of a scaredy cat to drink any concoctions 🙂

The kitchen is not just a place for food. We mix all sorts in our kitchen. From local medicine to local body lotions made from palm kernel and shea butter. Before the arrival of the “White man’ s” medicine, these methods worked for our ancestors. Alot of people still use these methods; some don’t…I remember seeing some dry herbs hanging from my grand mother’s kitchen. I don’t know what she used it for when she boiled them, but it was this “liquidy” thing that she poured into a cup and sipped slowly. I was quite little, I didn’t even know to ask what it was 🙂

In some rural areas the kitchens are built outside the main house and in the wee hours of the morning, or sometime through the night, you would see gigantic pots sitting in the kitchens and covered with plantain leaves. In those pots, some herbs are left to simmer and steep through the night for a potent herbal concoction to heal different types of ailments.

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google image of a strong iron pot

I have only tried the ginger and garlic thing for cold. And there is the honey and green tea mixture for cough. But that’s as far as I have gone with these mixtures. please comment and let us know how herbal medicine has been of any benefit or not to you.

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