Generally, many Africans have always loved the traditional way of medications even though not many people acknowledge this fact. I think this is as a result of the way they were brought up, going to seek herbalist care in times of need in the olden days and a lot of people still retain these to this day. With the advent of Christianity came orthodox medicine. As a medical Doctor, we were thought the orthodox ways of drug prescription, I guess mainly because these drugs have being properly researched as per preparations, dosing, uses and side effects. We were thought to discourage the use of traditional medicines in our patients. As many of them ended up coming to the hospital with very poorly managed disease conditions and sometimes too late to be saved.
A few of years ago, there was a burst of herbal products into the Nigerian cosmetic market courtesy of companies like the Forever living products, GNLD to mention a few. These companies manufactured these herbs and put them into beautiful bottles, gave them brand names and then it didn't look so bad anymore. They also came with a money-making marketing strategy which was register with the company, get products equivalent to the amount paid for registration, these products can either be used by you or sold to make profits and if the individual can get more people to register with the company then the individual makes even more money. Nice isn't it?
The first of these products was the ALOE VERA. It entered the Nigerian market with a huge bang. In body creams, soaps, in drinks and even as tablets. It was the talk of the town. My mum even planted a few in the backyard. As expected, medical research became interested too. They came up with the conclusion that it shouldn't be ingested as it may cause renal failure or some other type of disease.
Two months ago, I went for a medical update (Family Medicine) on integrative medicine basically talking about complementary, alternative medicines (CAM) and it seemed to me that doctors are now beginning to realize that no matter how much they discourage their patients from taking non-orthodox medications, they weren't making much headway and they patients just took the drugs without telling the doctors what else they took besides their already prescribed medications from the hospital. The trend seems to have shifted to researching the drugs to get as much information as you can and using it to help the patient. You could either totally ban the patient from using it if it is not safe, prescribe once you think are safe e.t.c. It was in this conference I first heard of MORINGA another all-purpose medication said to work wonders. I am still gathering information on its effects.
The object of my discussion today is however, SHEA BUTTER, locally known as ORI in Nigeria and many parts of West Africa. It is a slightly yellowish or ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African Shea tree. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer or lotion. It is edible and some companies have used it in preparations of chocolate and margarine. As a child growing up, Shea butter was applied to my cuts and bruises and I hated it because it smelt so bad. One day now all grown up I went to make my hair in the salon and my hair stylist advised me to apply Shea butter to my hair, that it would help its growth and condition it. I listened and after the first year there was a remarkable difference. My hair was fuller and longer. The surprising thing happened at the beginning of this week. I had lots of acne (pimples) on my face and a friend of mine walked up to me and said "what facial treatment do you use?" I replied "my facial scrub at night". She said okay, but try applying Shea butter at night after using your scrub. I accepted but I have my reservations so I didn't start until two nights ago. Today, as I post this blog, the acne is all gone and the blackhead marks are only slightly visible. The best thought that came to my mind was to share this my new discovery that has been there for so many years and people know so little of. So I say "the next big thing, is Shea butter". Try it.