By Femi Kusa
GIRD your loins … tuberculosis is sweeping through the land, killing as many as 400 Nigerians every day, and roaming, inactive, in the bodies of more than 300,000 people it is yet to hack down. The government requires billions of Naira in this tight economy to contain the upsurge and spread of tuberculosis. As the money is not easily forthcoming, traditional medicine and alternative medicine will be the last resort of many sufferers and those who will be seeking protection against infection. There is, indeed, hope for such health seekers.
I am on standby inside me these days whenever anyone around me is coughing. The possibility of infection is enormous in buses. Many people do not cover their mouths. Many others are not brought up at home or trained at school in the culture of handkerchief. So, shaking hands with an infected person, who covered his/her mouth with his/her hand while coughing can easily cause peril to other people, who come in contact with this hand. Not only that, dropplets of saliva which bear the mycobacterium tuberculosis, the germ which causes tuberculosis, may fall on another person’s clothes or skin. Back home, these germs may find their ways into the bodies of many people through food or contact.
There have been cases where tuberculosis is spread or contracted by humans from cats, some fish and even red meat. I suspect that cow meat may be a major vector in Nigeria. Cows are headed through forests day and night under very stressful conditions, which deplete their immunity by the time they arrive at the abattoir for slaughter. In Lagos alone, about 10,000 cows are slaughtered every day. This is a lucrative business, which balloons every year. So, it may not be out of place to assume that, today, the Lagos abattoir may be dealing with about 15,000 cows every day. At about N150, 000 for a cow, the arithmetic should add up to N2, 250,000,000(two billion, two hundred and fifty million naira only) every day. This may be worth more than the value of petroleum products consumed in the city of Lagos every day, and suggests why cow herding through farms have become such a huge political question, which the herders protect with AK 47 guns. That is an aside, really. Where we are heading is that cows are required by law to be certified fit for human consumption before they are slaughtered at the abattoir and sold there or anywhere. The certification is to be done by veterinary doctors. To carry out this job efficiently, there must be enough veterinary doctors on stand-by.
I imagine this would involve elaborate checks, including blood tests e.t.c. For 15,000 cows to be tested every day, the Lagos abattoir would require 150 veterinary doctors and their assistants, each working on about 100 cows. But is it possible for one vet doctor or one vet assistant to attend efficiently to 150 cows in one day? Your guess is as good as mine. Some infected cows would pass through the eye of the needle! And this may be one reason tuberculosis has again become a big deal in Nigeria, especially in the urban areas where cow meat is not properly cooked in food canteens. When I was a boy, women always boiled meat and then fried it before they cooked it in stew or sauce. In today’s canteens, the cook avoids this long process to prevent the beef from shrinking and losing economic value. Do not get me wrong. I am not, by this, advocating frying, because when proteins are overheated, they transform into nitrosomes, which can cause cancer. It is possible that the diet of those days gave rise to the wide range of cancer occurrences exhibited in the elderly of this generation.
Symptoms Of Tuberculosis
The symptoms of tuberculosis are not too difficult to know. Persistent coughing is, most likely, the primus inter pares. The cough type has the capacity to defy many fist-line pharmaceutical cough remedies. A second symptom is a streak or specs of blood in the sputum. Again, persistent night sweats may be observed. Then, there is a gradual weight loss, which the infected person or persons around him/her may mistaken for stress or poor diet. On top of these, serious damage to tissue may be going on inside the body. There is a mistaken notion that tuberculosis is, strictly, a lung disease. True, it predominantly features in the lungs. But it affects other organs as well. In earlier commentaries in this column, I explained how two of my male cousins from the same mother died of tuberculosis of the spinal bones, which eventually ate up parts of their livers, before it was discovered that the fever presented in those cases was not due to back pain alone. Tuberculosis may unleash some serious havoc, also in the adrenal glands, chest cavity, bones, throat, kidneys, eyes and even the sex organs.
When the bacterium is “shelled” out of the mouth through amplest of saliva into the air or by coughing and spitting out the sputum, it mixes with dust. If this occurs in dry, hot weather, which threatens its existence, the germ would form a protective chiteneous material around itself to prevent dehydration and death. The snail, too, does this. The germ awaits the good day or time when wind would rouse the dust and some unfortunate person would inhale it. How many of us do not inhale dust? If the dust is infected, the germs get into us. We would be lucky if our immune systems, defenders of our bodies, would knock them out. This job falls largely on the macrophages, the large white blood corpuscles, which engulf and eat up germs, and are then killed themselves. If the macrophages are healthy and many and the immune system can produce as many of them as are needed during such an emergency as this, the battle is won without the infected person knowing that anything is going on inside his/her body. But if the macrophages die, and the bacteria they engulf survive them for no reason or another, these germs travels through the blood circulation to safe havens, which they then colonise and damage inadvertently in the poisonous waste products of their metabolism and other activities. Sometimes, the body may have successfully boxed them up in cages, so to say, in which they are inactive, but the day stress overtakes the body and the immune system cannot keep an eagle watch, as during an HIV infection, the “cages” are thrown open in a sort of jail break, and the tuberculosis germ, once again, becomes ambulatory, that is free moving and infective.
Doctors and pharmacists have struggled for hundreds of years to find a cure for tuberculosis and to even eliminate the germ. But many factors make this dream illusory. The victims are largely poor people, who live in overcrowded conditions in which the air content of oxygen is depleted. They do not eat well enough to give their body the protein it requires to form a formidable immune system. They over work to earn meager incomes, thereby stressing themselves. I encounter a big picture of the air pollution at Oshodi bus terminal everyday on my way home to Abule-egba by LAG BUS. The mini buses charge between 400 and 500 in place of 100 or 150 because heavy traffic has held down the big buses. Hundreds, if not thousands of commuters stand on their feet, all stressed up, for more than one hour, waiting for the traffic to move and for the big buses to come. Everyone, whether at the terminus platforms or in the stuck buses, is inhaling carbon monoxide instead of oxygen, ignorant that this would de-oxygenate their blood and that de-oxygenated blood does not support healthy immune system. They finish off their immune systems all the more when they arrive home and eat junk food and spray their bedrooms with dangerous anti-mosquito insecticides. what could be more disheartening in this regard than a story I heard on radio this morning (8 June 2018). A man and his wife who had just built a home in Shagamu, Ogun State, died in his house on their first night there. There were seven of them in one room. When their neighbour’s smelled stench coming from the house, they called the police, the police broke through the room and found seven decomposed bodies. It was speculated that they would have tried to clear rodents from the property with a powerful insecticide. Among poor Nigerians, SNIPER is widely used for the purpose despite many warnings to the contrary. Even in their single-bed apartments in face-me, I slap you, or face to face (apartment) single-bed houses, some cook in their rooms, or inhale petrol fumes when their neighbours refill the tanks of their “I better pass my neighbour” electricity generating sets. All these factors and more pre-dispose many people to tuberculosis infections and attacks and to the failure, sometimes, of pharmaceutical drugs. Accordingly, and especially because some strains of tuberculosis are becoming resistant to these drugs, some doctors now prefer to add chemotherapy to their treatment regimen. Even this has many side effects, which are now well known. To the doctors’ prescriptions, traditional medicines and alternative medicine protocol may be used as adjunct to conventional treatment or for prophylactic (prevention) purposes. The recipes, which I will mention hereafter have been used by some orthodox doctors either alone or as adjunct medication, with successful result. They have been found useful, also, in other pulmonary (lung) or breathing problem such as asthma, congestive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema, to mention a few of them. The therapeutic goals in employing them revolve around, as usual, detoxification, alkalisation, mineralisation, oxygenation, parasite killing and immune boosting, among other objectives. An acidic system weakens the immune system and disorient it, whereas an alkaline system does the opposite, there are herbs, which stimulates the excretory organs (the lungs, liver, kidneys, skin and the bowels) to empty their toxic wastes for evacuation, and there are anti-oxidant, and there are anti-oxidant herbs, which destroy free radicals in the toxins, to prevent their overload in the blood during detoxification from mauling the system.
I would like to begin with Astragalus, which has demonstrated the capacity to help the body produce more macrophages. Zinc is useful in more than 250 ways for equilibrium the body biochemical processes. Women know it is good for hair, skin and nails, robust breasts, fertility and all that. Many men, too, have found it helpful to combat prostate gland challenges and improve sperm count and sperm health. Without zinc, there is little vitamin A can do for healthy vision. In its immune system function, zinc helps the Thymus Gland to maintain its size and efficiency. It is inside this gland that T-Cells or fighter cells mature. It is like their finishing defense academy.
I doff my heart for Golden Seal Root, one of nature’s most dependable antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal herbs. Maria Treben, that great Austrian herbalist of blessed memory, eulogised Calamus root for practically all health needs, including tuberculosis in her HEALTH THROUGH GOD’S PHARMACY Mark Treben says: “A year ago, a man 1.8 meters tall in his late fifties had become a skeleton without knowing the reason for his illness. Weighing only 45 kilos, he in company of a nurse stepped into the surgery of his doctor, who was telephoning another doctor and heard: I am sending you my most hopeless-patient … cancer of the lungs: so unwittingly the man learnt the diagnosis of his illness”. Afterwards, someone advised him to chew Calamus root to break his smoking habit and to drink yarrow tea mornings and evenings. Slowly, his weight increased, and since he felt better, he did not return to the doctor. About half a year later, he again went to the surgery of the doctor, who was most taken aback since he had thought this man dead. What did you do?, was all he could say. “Chewed Calamus root and drank yarrow tea”, replied the man. ‘ Calamus root? . Where did you find them? They are sold in herbal shops for a few shillings’. The man at this time reached his normal weight of 86 kilos and it was half a year later that he undertook a mountain hike, carrying a full laden back pack when I met him.’
The book, which I recommend for your health library, tells, also, the story of a man aged 36 years, who literally lost his balance after surgery to free the liver of a tumor. He was thin and went to develop tuberculosis in the intestine. Calamus root helped these conditions as well, reported Maria Treben. There are other startling cures achieved in the stomach and intestinal disturbances, including cancers. To Calamus and Yarrow we may add her suggestion of Horse Tail. I guess this is because of the high Silica content of this herb. Silica, called the homeopathic surgeon because it breaks up growths, is now available in 100 per cent biochemist tissue or cell salt No 12 and 96 per cent in Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or Diatom. Stinging Nettle has small amount of it.
We cannot address all useful remedies. Before I move on to Dr. Robert Atkens, one of those conventional doctors, who made the United States adopt nutritional food supplements. I would quickly like to add to the list Grape Seed Extract (GSE), which is highly antioxidant and one of those few supplements substances, which easily cross through Brain Blood Barrier. Dr. Raymond Strand reports that a man, who declined chemotherapy and opted instead for dietary supplements, especially GSE, normalise his Anti-Nuclear-Antibody (ANA) results within one year. His ANA had risen well over 1,000 per cent of normal. Dr. Strand mentioned this case in his “What Your Doctor Does Not Know About Nutrition May Be Killing You.”
Let’s hurry to Dr. Robert Atkins. Among his suggestions for all lung diseases is vitamin A. But, like all doctors, this mega-dosage physicians will not touch regular (i.e. oil soluble) Vitamin A with a long pole. Not more than 5000 I.U of it every day is often suggested, to prevent liver discomfort or damage, and birth defects. Dr. Atkins, like many physicians, prefer the water soluble variant of Vitamin A. which is often mentioned in this column as solubilised or water soluble Vitamin A. Dr. Atkins calls it by its other name.
Mycellized Vitamin A, saying: “If your body’s Vitamin A stores must be replenished in a hurry, as would be necessary at the outset of an acute respiratory infection, use the mycellized version, which by-passes the liver and is absorbed easily, thus reducing the likelihood of a toxic accumulation. Even in amounts of 100,000 I.U a day, for months at a time, mycellized Vitamin A has never caused any documented side effect. This safety record does not mean, however, that therapeutic dosages need not be mentioned by a doctor. Mycellized A performs impressively against sinus and other acute infections, especially when combined with mycellized Vitamin E.’’ Dr. Atkins suggests carotenoids, not just Beta Carotene, a mere member of the 600-member plus family, which is offered today for even cancer prevention and cure, except lung cancer caused by smoking, which at least, one study has shown is worsened by it. It warns against synthetic Beta Carotene in particular, saying it has been found to lower the blood presence of other caroteneoids. One of such affected caroteneoids is Lutein, which is needed for healthy eyes and crucial in “glaucoma” management. He salutes “natural” beta carotene, a deficiency of which he says has been linked to many cancers, including that of the lungs, and says it works best when it is combined with, say, mycellized Vitamin A and other natural carotenoids.
Maria Treben has an interesting handle on emphysema as well as cardiac asthma and disorders of the thyroid gland with their shortness of breath and is caused largely through liver trouble. The upward pressure of the liver contributes to the swelling and enlargement of the bronchial tubes, lungs and the heart. The constant pressure on the sensitive thyroid gland causes abnormal changes. In such a case, one cup of common club moss tea is drank in the morning and swedish bitters is applied as a compress for four hours during the day. I will round off with Dr. Atkins. The lungs and bronchial airways of the body are amazing, but delicate tissues. They are assaulted daily with both outdoor and indoor pollution, not to mention cigarette smoke and the toxic chemical found throughout our environment. Compound this inflammatory insult with lack of anti-inflammatory nutrients such as fish oil and anti-oxidants in our diets and you will understand why asthma and other pulmonary problems are continually on the rise. Food allergies can also be involved.
The bottom line approach for inflammation of the bronchial passage is to relax them with magnesium, protect them with anti-oxidants and reduce their exposure to environmental insults. He suggests Vitamin C, Vitamin A, essential oils formula, N-Acetyl cysteine, magnesium, Beta carotene, quercitine, selenium, taurine, Vitamin E and Co Q10.
For More Natural Health Tips, Visit NaturalHerbsCure.com.