SHOCK to learn in this column last week that orange peel has medicinal powers to burn blood sugar, check asthma, lower high blood cholesterol and cure inflammation, among several benefits, some readers of this column asked: what other local food wastes have potent healing powers? I am all apologizing that I cannot answer that question this week. For this series is meant to highlight herbal remedies in vogue in this country or elsewhere which have made some inroads into Nigeria and may gather sufficient steam in a new year to become a mega trend in the herbal medicine chart. I can take a safe bet that, already, orange peel in one form or another adorns the medicine chart of such people as Mrs. Veronica Momoh and Dr. Isaac Idehen, both of Benin, engineer Osiki of Auchi, biochemist A.A. Iriferi of Warri, Mr. Tope Adebayo of Lagos, Mrs. Ronke Fashokun, Mrs. Folake Sanusi, Mrs. Caroneo, Mrs. Bukola Azeez, of all Lagos, and many more converts. In part answer the question earlier mentioned, I would for now reply: let’s look forward to the medicinal benefits of banana peel. I hesitate today to mention plantain peel for many people confuse the herb plantain with the fruit plantain, an elder in the family to which banana also belongs. Even Mrs. Florence Akibom Fusi, in whose native babanki village, in Bermanga Region of the Cameron where banana peel is a delicacy would make this mistake. Today, I’d rather talk about CHLORELLA, a blue-green algae which couldn’t have popped up in Nigeria at a better time than now, if we relate the upsurge of terrible diseases such as brain tumour to poisons in food, air, water and medicines, and we are looking for ways other than poisonous chemical drugs to get these poisons out of our bodies.

Chlorus and Ella

Thanks to the Greeks who gave almost everything known a name we can now trace it to, Chlorella comes from the two Greek words Chlorus and Ella. Chlorus means green, and Ella, small. Actually Chlorella is single-celled blue – green alga which is believed to be the first plant form on earth with a well-defined nuclease. So small is chlorella that it wasn’t until the late 19th Century that scientists discovered it. Now, Chlorella is the most researched blue-green algae with immense benefits for animal and human health. And, some animal studies suggest, it may help to prevent or reverse about 40 major human health discomfiture’s. Originally, it was found native to Taiwan and Japan where it is consumed as food by about 100 million people apart from it several uses as medicine.


One of the advantages of Chlorella over many herbs is its powers to remove toxins from the body. Toxins are like plagues in the modern world. In the water we drink, Chlorine are poisonous to the germs in water we intend to kill, and are also poisons to our bodies eventually. As the well-known halogens, for example, they block iodine absorption by the thyroid gland, infiltrate these glands and cause all sorts of thyroid gland problems which, in turn, are related to many degenerative diseases. Like the food we eat, drinking water also supplies our bodies with heavy metals which may include lead, mercury.

According to Nord: “Heavy metal poisoning is the accumulation of the heavy metals in toxic amounts in soft tissues of the body. Symptoms and physical finding associated with heavy metal poisoning vary according to the metal accumulated.

Many of the heavy metals such as Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Iron and Manganese, are essential to body function in very small amounts. But, if these metals accumulate in the body in concentrations sufficient to cause poisoning, then serious damage may occur. The heavy metals often associated with poisoning of humans are lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Heavy metal poisoning may occur as a result of industrial exposure, foods, medicines, improperly coated food containers or the ingestion of lead based paints… the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning vary according to which type of metal over-exposure is involved. Some specific examples are:

  • “Arsenic Poisoning: Arsenic is used in the manufacture of pesticides. The over-exposure may cause headaches, drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and life threating complications. Neurological symptoms include brain damages, (encephalopathy), nerve disease of the extremities (peripheral neuropathy) pericapillary hemorrhages within the white matter and loss or deficiency of the fatty coverage (myelin) around these nerve fibers (demyelination). Skin problems include transverse white bands on the singer nails (mees lines) and excessive accumulation of fluid in the soft layers of tissue below the skin (edema). Gastrointestinal symptoms include a flu-like illness (gastroenteritis) that is characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea, which, in some cases, may be bloody. Other symptoms include breakdown of the hemoglobin of red blood cells (hemolysis), a low level of iron in the red blood cells (anaemia) and low blood pressure (hypotension). Some individual may experience a garlic like odour that may be detectable on the breadth. “In cases of chronic poisoning, weakness, muscle aches, chills, and fever may develop.”

If I may quickly say something, I would add that many Nigerians consume arsenic with food every day without realizing they do. Now, we have all recognize the need to eat fruits and vegetables. But how many people realize their crops are sprayed with insecticides on the farms? I stopped eating cucumbers when I realized from a young woman named Lofty that she lost her cucumber farm in Imeko, Ogun State, because she stubbornly refused to have them sprayed with insecticide. She was trying her hands on organic farming which abhors insecticides and chemical fertilizers. Her farmer neighbours protected their farms with insecticides. The pest found a haven in Loftie’s farm. Poor girl!

What of mosquito sprays? The mosquitoes seemed to sprout heavily in the searing Nigerian heat of two weeks ago. Many people went for the mosquito spray. They believed that if they stepped out of the sprayed room for about two hours and the mosquitoes died, that was the end of the matter and they could return and enjoy a mosquito’s free night. That is true. But, do they realize that the molecules of the chemical sprays are non-degradable, that is are not destroyable. They settle on bed linen where they may be inhaled or absorbed through the skin during contact!

The website Nord warns us against: “Inorganic arsenic accumulates in the liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. It then passes through these sites but leaves a residue in tissues such as skin, hair and nails. Symptoms of acute inorganic arsenic poisoning include severe burning of the mouth and throat, abnormal pain nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure (hypotension), and muscle spasms. Individual with severe inorganic arsenic poisoning may experience heart problems (cardiomyopathy), accumulation of acid in the tubes of the kidneys (renal tubular acidosis), breakdown of the hemoglobin of red blood cells (hemolysis), irregular heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias), coma, seizures, bleeding within the intestines (intestinal hemorrhage) and yellowing of the skin mucus membranes and whites of the eyes (jaundice).”

WHENEVER I read of mercury build-up I pay serious attention because a dentist trick me about 20 years ago to fill three of my otherwise healthy teeth with mercury amangal fillings. He said six of them would develop holes within three months. But here we are today, 20 years after, and those “worst” three I didn’t let him refill have not won off or developed holes. I have since then relied on chelated zinc to remove from my system any mercury from mercury vapours in my month. We are informed by the Nord: “Symptoms of mercury poisoning includes fatigues depression, sluggishness (lethargy), irritability and headaches… coughing, breathlessness (dyspnea), tightness or burning pain in the chest and/or respiratory distress some affected individuals may experience abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), pneumonia, and/or abnormal formation of fibrous tissue (fibrosis). There may be behavioral and neurological changes associated with over exposure to mercury poisoning, such as excitability and quick-tempered behavior, lack of concentration and loss of memory. Shock and permanent brain damage may also result from mercury poisoning.” There is no end to mercury exposure. People who have given up meat (beef) in the diet and turned to fish may end up consuming mercury every day. For the deep sea is poisoned by mercury waste dumping from industrial plants. Cadmium, another heavy metals, is present in underground water sources such as boreholes which many people drink without testing, believing the water is clear and clean. The symptoms of accumulation are similar to the ones already explained. Additions may be excess salivation and yellowing of the teeth, excessive excretion of protein in the urine and some minor changes in liver function and, perhaps, softening of some bones (osteomalacia).


There are far too many benefits that chlorella offers human health than this column can document. While sight will not be lost on some of them, this column will pay more attention to its prospects of ridding the body of toxins and heavy metals in particular.

In Natural news we learn: “A study on mice induced with the heavy metal Cadmium (found in chemical residues) should Chlorella vulgaris CV protected the mice from Cadmiums toxicity significantly and helped restore liver structure and function. Another study on mice using the CV. Powder, parachilorella beyerinck, demonstrated that mice treated with CV had significantly less lead absorbtion in the kidneys and liver while showing more lead excreted in their faces than mice not fed the CV powder. This study produced stunning evidence of Chlorella’s unpulelicised anti-cancer property. This study involved hepatocarcin ogenesis (liver becoming cancerous). Induced rats. Chlorella Vulgaris (CV) promoted apoptosis in the cancerous tumour cells. Apoptosis is programmed cell death which normal cells do naturally as they are being replaced by new cells. Cancer cells are not prone to this sacrificial programming. Cancer cells suicides have to be encouraged by metabolic interventions or they continue forming tumours.”

In a three year Russian metal-detoxifying double blind placebo study, more than 350 people were give 20 natural compounds to remove four main metals from over-exposed people. These metals were Antimony, Arsenic, Lead and Cadmium. The study with Chlorella combined Cillatro. All heavy metals were eliminated without side effects. Detoxifying powers of Chlorella were first discovered in a milling industry where Chlorella was pumped into collect residual metals after the completion of bulk milling. Earlier studies on Chlorella were more interested in its nutrition Potentials. It was a super food with all essential amino acids, about 20 minerals and vitamins, carotenoids, and the densest amount of ChlorophyII in the plant kingdom. But its cell wall had to be broken or cracked to release the nutrients, in particular the proteins. While meat protein has to be broken down by pancreatic enzymes, Chlorella proteins do not require pancreatic enzymes to be digested. So pancreatic enzymes thus saved can be used to fight cancer cell, and this is one reason why in addition to giving cancer sufferers pancreatic enzymes supplements, they should be given Chlorella as a food supplement.

In Mercola, some other uses of Chlorella outside detoxification are explained. Says the website: “chlorella seems to fit the description of a wonder nutrient that serves far more than just one function. Here is a sampling of some of the health benefits associated with this green algae… repairing nerve tissues, increasing your energy levels, enhancing your immune system, normalizing your blood sugar , improving digestion, normalizing your blood pressure, promoting healthy pH levels in your gut which in turns helps good bacteria to thrive, removing potentially toxic metals from your body, enhancing your ability to focus and concentrate, eliminating lead breadth “ Chlorella can also be of benefit to vegetarians and vegans looking for proteins and B vitamins from a non-animal source” about 60 percent of it is protein, and because it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, it is considered to be a complete protein. Chlorella is also rich in GABA, Follate, Vitamin B12 and iron. As mentioned earlier, chlorella has and still is being researched for a number of health condition. Here is a list of six common health problems and diseases where Chlorella may be of particular benefit:

“Insulin resistance, detoxification, diabetes, hypertension, anaemia, protein uria and edema in pregnant women, fibromyalgia, liver cancer” we are also advised by Mercola: “Heavy metal toxicity, just like chemical toxicity, has become one of the most pressing health hazards of our day, and this is where Chlorella may be profoundly useful. Its ability to bind to heavy metal toxins, allowing them to be safely excreted from your body, has been well established. It is particularly crucial for systemic mercury elimination, because the majority of mercury is rid through your stool. Once the mercury burden is lowered from your intestines, mercury from other body tissue will more readily migrate into your intestines where Chlorella will work to remove it. You can also add Cillantro which works as a synergetic detoxification aid along with the Chlorella. This combination is particularly useful to take when you are consuming sea food, as most are invariably contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals. Ideally, you will take it with the meal so that Chlorella can bind directly to the toxins while they are in your gut before they are absorbed into your body in other to optimize heavy metal detox, you will want to take at least four grams of Chlorella every day, year round. Be aware that side effects may occur. As your body starts to detox, you may initially experience some slight nausea/or mild diarrhea. If these symptoms are too bothersome, you may want to lower your dose initially and slowly increase the doses. As your body is cleansed of toxins, these side effects shown disappear.”

One hundred million Japanese users of Chlorella cannot be wrong. Where are Nigeria’s microbiologists to give us organic Nigerian cultivated Chlorella form exclusively Chlorella farms?


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