Investigation Reveals Popular ‘Baba Aisha’ Concoction Could Damage Kidney, Cause Cancer

An Investigation by Premium Times has revealed that Sacra Herbs, popularly known as Baba Aisha herbal medicine could damage the kidney and as well cause cancer among other respiratory diseases.

Though the herb promises cures for many diseases, it has in store other harmful diseases for its consumers. The product, after being subjected to laboratory tests proved to be dangerous.

Subjected to test at Mols & Sims, an independent biological and chemical laboratory at the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), the herb’s producers in an “unregulated” advertisement admonishes potential consumers to avoid seeking medications in hospitals. The herb itself is unregulated as the investigation revealed that it breached many regulatory procedures.

HOW THE HERB ESCAPED SCRUTINY BY NAFDAC

Sold in a 120ml unsealed bottle, the liquid mixture contains a yellowish, minty liquid with a noticeable powdery residue. However, it escaped significant regulatory tests by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The herb also failed to obtain evidence of registration of its brand name with the Trademark Registry.

Further checks revealed that the herb carries two NAFDAC registration numbers — A7-2590L and A7-2551L. The agency in response to an enquiry confirmed that ‘A7-2590L’ was registered as the herb’s registration number in 2018.

Sacra Multi-Links Limited, a company that produces the herb was found to have breached section 863 of the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) law for not registering the business name with CAC.

“A person or association of persons shall not carry on business in Nigeria as a company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership or under a business name without being registered under this Act,” the law states.

LABORATORY TEST RESULTS

Although consumers shared diverse experiences after taking the herb, the laboratory results showed it is harmful to human consumption.

The investigating team, Olaposi Omotuyi, a professor of pharmacology and therapeutics, and his cohorts began to test the potency of the herb with malaria. The team also sought to establish if Sacra Herbs are safe for human consumption.

“To do this (investigate anti-malaria actions of the medicine), what we would do is an in-vivo experiment in which animal models of malaria would be established and the drugs will be used as an intervention versus a control, like chloroquine in this case, to check out the anti-malaria activity,” Prof. Omotuyi, who recently led a team of scientists to discover Virucidine Liquid, a cure for COVID-19, said at the beginning of the test.

Parameters adopted by the scientists include the increase in temperature, loss of weight, loss of appetite, death associated with the malaria parasite and an investigation of vital organs of the animals.

The scientist divided the animals into five groups of eight mice each to include: a basal group not ingested or infected with anything; a group infected with malaria parasite without treatment; a group infected with the malaria parasite and administered chloroquine treatment; a group infected with the malaria parasite and administered low dosage of Sacra Herbs (30mg per kg); a group infected with the malaria parasite and administered high dosage of Sacra Herbs (100mg per kg).

The team’s finding is summarised below:

● Animals in the two groups administered low and high dosages of Sacra Herbs did not show any positive response to the medicine as a cure. Neither of the doses (100mg per kg nor 30mg per kg) has a curative effect on malaria infection. Therefore, the medicine cannot cure malaria as claimed.

● Animals in the group administered chloroquine at 5mg per kg did not show adverse behavioural changes and were cured of the infection. Therefore, chloroquine is potent in the treatment of malaria.

● The plasmodium infection-associated loss of Packed Cell Volume (PCV) was not reversed under both doses of Sacra Herbs tested. That is when the blood levels of the animals began to go down as a result of the actions of the malaria parasite, the herbal medicine did not reverse the trend as expected of a cure.

● Animals administered Sacra Herbs at 100mg per kg suffered severe kidney and liver damage. Even those in the group infected with malaria and not administered a cure had better liver and kidney function. “This is a pointer to the possible damaging components present in the herbal mixture,” the laboratory report says.

● Animals in the 100mg per kg suffered low glutathione levels, weakening their immune system and making them susceptible to lung infections. Continuous intake for humans could lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), scientists say.

● All animals in the two groups administered Sacra herbs died within three to six days, meaning that the treatment was not successful. This also affirms that the medicine is a high safety risk to users.

“It makes the kidney function almost impossible, it makes the liver function almost impossible; that means that anyone who takes this (Baba Aisha herbal medicine) is at a high risk of acute kidney injury, if not chronic,” Omotuyi said while analysing the result. “When it becomes chronic, one has to be thinking of a kidney transplant, and that does not come cheap, that is if you ever find a donor at all; ditto liver, ditto lungs. These are layman’s way of saying it is not safe to take this medicine as it is presently constituted.”

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