Funmi Lawrence Ogidan is a mother with two children from Ile-Ife. The Chairperson of Global New Herbal Life is passionate about her trade which she says it’s the new trend in medicine at the moment. How and when did she get into herbal practice. In this interview with WOLE ADEPOJU, Ogidan revealed all. Read on:
Q: So, when and how did you begin this herbal journey.
A: I started about twenty years ago. It was because of a personal experience that I had to get into it and I realised there are so many things we have in our communities in terms of herbal cure but are neglected. I decided to look into it, did my due diligence and I realised it was something that was very good , very effective and its efficacy very high and I decided to get into it and make a living out of it .
Q: You don’t look like one who could be interested in herbs, tell us more about how you came about it herbal medicine
A: Like I said, it was a personal experience that took me into it. I had fertility challenges and I did every single thing every woman would do. I did IVF, went into hospitals but realized at the end of the day,i wasn’t able to get anything out it. Coupled with the injections and drugs they gave, I had hormonal “lacosters’. So at a time, I was like, let me just go home and see what can be done since the orthordox medicine are not giving me the expected result. You know, I started thinking about getting my body back to the way it was, and I started doing a whole lot of readings and research, and at that point, I just wanted to get my body back to normal and not even about a child anymore. In the process, I started drinking different herbs which i prepared myself. I found out that i was pregnant and I had the baby. Even after then, I found out everything was going the way they supposed to go. So I had to do so much digging and like our forefathers, our parents in those days, these were the things they used and the thought of refining it to make it attractive to the people of today came to mind. I thought about how to make it better and to the standard of the age we living right now. So that was what gave birth to Global New Herbal Life.
Q: And what are the things you did to become efficient in it
A: l I did a couple of trainings in herbal science and drug technology in “Serialic Herbal School”. I also did Advance Diploma in Herbal Medicine in University of Lagos . I also did “Nichoroparty” with the African/American University, among other trainings and workshops. I also had trainings with the local father’s, the Baba’s, being the custodians of the herbal heritage, you know what I mean. The Babas are so knowledgeable in herbs. I trained with about four of them, even with Iyaloja. I was able to sit with them to learn identification of herbs and things like that. We might say there are things we know that they don’t know, but I tell you, there are so many things they know. I tried to gain as much as I could from them in term of experience and returned to my own books. I basically didn’t limit myself to the classroom, I went to the field for the practicals.
Q: Notwithstanding the awareness going about herbal medicine, many are still skeptical. How best do you think herbal medicine can compete with the orthodox
A: While i was in UNILAG, I am still there anyways, the pharmacognosist, they made mention that the World Health Organisation was trying to make herbal medicine come at par with orthordox medicine, which is one of the bills being sponsored at the National Assembly. And you won’t really blame the people for thier reservations about herbal organic medicine because one, probably because of the level of education of the people about it. Especially the imperfect dosage among other inadequacies. The toxicology report is not well done. May be they just mix one or two things, not considering what the liver can carry and all that. So it’s just for people like myself and other people to come out and try to see how we can give our people the kind of confidence required that herbal medicine can actually be done in prim and proper way, and that it can help them put their body back in the right form.
Q: Tell us about your products and your specialization at Global New Herbal Life
A: We have various products of drugs but I also want you to know that, both the orthodox and herbal medicine do not heal, they do not cure. What the orthodox medicine does is to suppresse the ailment and tricks the body as if the body is actually getting better, but what the herbal medicine does is to return the body to how it is suppose to be so that the body can heal itself. So what we have done is that we have produced different kinds of products that can return the body back to the way its suppose to be in the category that it’s needed. Be it in the area of blood sugar, blood pressure, be it sleep. It returns the body to “factory setting”, you know the way it was in the natural state.
We have products that cut across different ranges of ailment and diseases, because we aim at returning the body to the healthy way it was. We also do skin care. We want it the natural way. For instance, what i use are the products we make. I also try to be an advocate; i don’t encourage people to tone their skin. So it’s not as if I go out to buy cream or body oil. So as you are looking after the outside, it is also very important to look after the inside. The cars are actually modified after our body, because like every three months, you know you have to service your car, change the oil and all that. How many times do you check your kidneys? How many times do you check your liver, the flow of your blood and the rest? So, at Global New Herbal Life, we intend to just make you whole, both inside and outside.
Q: What are the things that stand your company out
A: We are NAFDAC approved. We have our farm and our factory. Also, we are the first company around here to get the ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme, that means our products can be anywhere in West Africa and we do not have to pay a duty. The ministry of Foreign Affairs, Customs , NDLEA to verify and ensure that what we claim to be doing is exactly the way it is. Our production is of international standard and we ensure our quality control meets the standard set by SON, Standard Organisation of Nigeria. So these are part of the things that stand us out from the others.
Q: Most popular herbal practioners out there claim to be capable of boosting the breast, butt and the male organ. Are these claims real.
A: I will talk on this, based on my personal point of view. I think everybody should leave their body the way it is. Of course they will tell you they can do it, they use Pandoro, but do they tell you the aftermath, the side effect? If I do the boobs right now for example, by the time I am 60, 70…because the metabolism, the cells, the way they are actually wired, the way it functions, it will then mean I am giving them a foreign body to feed or something like thaat. That means the workings of my body is going to change a little bit. I think everyone should just remain as original as they can be, because they all have side effects.
Q: Another one that is prevailant is bleaching and toning of the skin. Is there a safer way to do this.
A: Those who do it are actually digging their grave. Your skin is one of the largest organs and there is hardly anything you put on it that does not penetrate. People just want to be white . they forget there is after effect. You find out that people are using these creams in UK, Korea and so on, because of the humidity of their weather, the effect is kind of different even though it will still affect them because everything go down to your kidney and all that, because your have mecury and whole lot of things in the material. Ours is even worse because of the sun, the ozone layer, the enivoromental pollution is way high. So if you are dark, be dark and beautiful, if you are fair, keep your skin, there is nothing like i am just toning up and all that. There are essential herbals oils we can use and we will be fine. Of course when they use these creams, at a point you will see them so beautiful but over time, it all become a mess. That is why you see the rate at which cancer is rising here is alarming. Normally, our body is wired in a way that the cells are expected to die in every one hundred and fiften days, and after that new cells rejuvinate. Now, during that cause of one hundred and fiften days, if one cell fails to perform the function it is expected to perform based on your cream or whateever you have been using , then the problem starts from there. Then you see people diagnosed with cancer. It didn’t start that day, it must have started about ten years earlier.
Q: Herbal medicine has proven to be an alternative, what do you think can be done to deepen its footing.
A: It’s really a good thing for the givernment to have actually created the traditional medicine board and all that, but there is need for more. I think a school should be created where we will be taught what the herbal medicine shoul be so we can follow the due process. As it is, it is not really regulated even though they claim some kind of regulations are put together. You cant be an accountant without going to school for it but you can be a herbalist by simply developping the passion. Even to be a mechanic, you need to train for it , so I think a school should actually be put up for the development of herbal medicine.