As the world continues its battle against the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, a foremost trado-medical specialist, Sulaimon Lawal, speaks with SUNDAY ADEPOJU on finding alternative cure for the viral infection.
You are into traditional herbal medicine. How did this start?
I inherited this herbal medicine business from my father. My greatest forefathers were also into it and they were great hunters. My father inherited it and I also inherited it even at my tender age. My father usually treated epilepsy and other vital spiritual attacks/ailments. I hail from Ikolaba Agbongbookoso compound, Isale Laka, Ogbomoso.
On traditional herbal medicine, what countries have you travelled to and what manner of ailments have treated?
I have been to Ghana, Cotonou, Senegal, Morocco, England, among others. The first research I carried out was with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Development (NIPRID) in Abuja. Then, the institute called herbal medicine practitioners. Some of our people did not respond to the call. They feared that the government wanted to rob us of our contents. Some of us willingly went there. We gave them some solutions and we produced our local drugs. Then, later, they called us to confirm that our drugs worked. In particular, an Igbo woman and I were specially acknowledged. They took the research to America and they got same results. Then, they gave us royalty and certificates.
Like how much were you offered after the research and what happened after?
It was a big sum of money in that it was the money that changed my story. Then, there was nothing like National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The NIPRID gave me a huge sum of money. The project leader of the team set up by NIPRID funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Professor J.I Okogun, called and advised me to start producing my herbal drugs in large quantities in capsulated forms. So, when I got the royalty, I bought capsulating machine (a big industrial grinding machine). I bought it at the rate of N17m. When NAFDAC came on board I had already produced a herbal drug called Tubercare Capsule.
You have been talking about research. How have you been coping with research owing to your level of education?
I was also part of the research team with the Natural Medicine Development Agency (NMDA) in Lagos. The problem now is that some of our people who have ideas or solutions to some of the common diseases and infections are confused by the big scary names these diseases are called in modern medicine. I have some doctors as friends and they come for cures when they have health challenges that are beyond their powers.
The World Health Organsiation (WHO) and other bodies believe that Africa cannot have the cure for COVID-19. In fact, they have been asking people to receive the vaccine. What is your message to the government at all levels?
Somebody told me that the vaccine cannot cure the virus infection (COVID-19) and cannot prevent the spread and all that. The herbal drug I produced for it has anti-oxidant, boosts immune system, and so on. This drug prevents and cures COVID-19. We also believe in the saying ‘we treat, God cures.’ What they now call COVId-19 has been in existence for long. It is only now that it is killing people here and there which they now gave it the name.
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