Alhaji Dr Sugar is the chairman of Traditional Medical Practitioners Association, Nasarawa local government area of Nasarawa state. In this interview with UJI ABDULLAHI ILIYASU, he says herbal medicine can be taught in schools just like its orthodox counterpart. He also talks about the potency and efficacy of his herbs and his ability to cure HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hepatitis, cancer and other diseases which the modern hospital has no power to heal.
How did the knowledge of traditional herbal medicine you administer to your patients come about? Did learn you learn it or you inherit it?
I inherited it. I started as an apprentice under the tutelage of my grandfather. When he died, my father took over and I was apprenticed under him.
The federal government wants to include herbal medicine in school curriculum. Do you think herbal medical practice can be taught in schools?
Why not? I told you earlier that I learned under my grandfather but after his death, my father took over and taught me from where he (my grandfather) stopped. Anybody who is keen in learning herbal medicine can do it in school or at home under a genuine teacher, but not quack.
Between traditional and orthodox medication which one do you think is better for a patient to patronise?
You know as the two names suggest, they have different ways of administering drugs to patients. Each works better in its own area of specialty. There are some patients who were taken to us but needed drip or blood transfusion, these ones are not within the traditional herbal medication. In such circumstances, we refer them to modern hospital. After that we can administer our own herbs.
Some ailments have defied orthodox medication, for instance HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hepatitis or cancer. Does traditional medicine have a cure for them?
There is no disease that has no medicine. If the medicine is not found within the orthodox practice it is can be found with traditional medicine. I have the cure for all the diseases you have mentioned and a host of others the modern hospital refers to deems terminal.
Are there patients who had been tested HIV positive but you later treated them and they later tested negative?
Yes. They are plenty. Many people who were diagnosed HIV positive came to me for help. I administered to them my herbs and when they went back for test the result showed negative. Because of the embarrassment it may pose to my clients, I would have called names but as a professional, I protect their identities.
As the chairman of traditional medical practitioners, do you know the numerous new traditional healers who are everywhere in Nasarawa markets selling herbs?
Any genuine traditional medical practitioner in Nasarawa must be introduced to me. I must know an individual who practices herbal medicine within Nasarawa local government area. We sometimes test the potency of their medicines. If we found them unsatisfactory, we send them away. Traditional doctors are everywhere nowadays spoiling our name and trade, especially the hawkers. A good traditional medicine needs not advertising itself. If your medicines have the potency you claim, patients will come to you by themselves. And through a chain of introduction by beneficiaries of you drugs, your clinic will swarm with people. You are journalist; you can see that you had to queue in order to get to me.
Is it advisable to patronise itinerant herbal doctors?
The truck pushers and other hawkers usually run away when they found that people had discovered that their medicines didn’t work. They don’t have certificates. Sometimes when we wanted to see their certificates they would run away. Most of them are just looking for what to eat. It is dangerous to patronise medicine man that has no station where he can be reached anytime but only hawking medicines in trucks or vehicles. When something happens to the sick person whom do you run to?
There are so many old containers in your clinic, how do you know which of these tins you keep a particular medicine?
My practice is like what is done in the modern hospital. All of them have labels inside them. The cure for headache, diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, ulcer, stroke, spiritual attacks, all have been labelled for easy identification and administration.
What is your advice to persons who look at traditional medicine as idol worshipping but if they go to hospital the orthodox medicine cannot help them?
I pity any patient goes to the modern hospital and the doctors could not help but refuses to go to herbal clinic on religious grounds. If he is cured in modern hospital from the chain of references fine, thank god. If he is not cured he is the one who brings the problem to himself. Some people spent years taking modern medicine and their condition gets worse, but when they were reluctantly taken to us they begin to respond to treatment. I cannot see any difference between drinking herbs obtained at the traditional medicine clinics and drugs in modern pharmacies. If you can’t drink herbs then stop buying drugs from chemists. They are the same. In the hospital you drink drugs, at our place you drink herbs. The modern drugs are made from what? Aren’t they from herbs? Ask pharmacists? The edge we have over modern hospital is that if the full medications we give patients are taken, the ailment will be cured, wholly. And when it is cured no return.
What do you say about goats or chickens herbal doctors charge as part of their bills? Isn’t that like idol worshipping?
A traditional or native doctor who charges his clients chickens or goats and the like just want to eat meat. It is not part of our practice. If the medicine is potent it does not need the blood of any animal or bird to be efficacious and cure the sick. Sacrificing animals has no connection with traditional medicine. This is what is scaring some patients away.
What is your advice to Nigerians on herbal patronage?
If you go to modern hospital and find that they don’t help, go to traditional clinics or herbalists. We have administered drugs which have cured hepatitis, diabetes, HIV AIDS, cancer and what have you. This has been proved over a number of times. Some are lazy to follow our process and prescription that is why they prefer modern drugs.
What of those fallen by spiritual attack?
If you talk of stroke resulting from spiritual attack where some parts of a person’s body are dead and cannot move, we have drugs for them.