About three-quartres of her mass had been eaten up by disease and malnutrition. She was suffering from cancer of the throat, the same condition a gentleman in the Administration of former Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola suffered from but survived. He was a chain smoker, and learned, again as we say, by ‘’force and fire’’ to quit the habit. This woman was a caterer. Her problem began with what many people believe is a simple health challenge. .. heart burn. When I touched her throat, it was wood hard. She couldn’t eat anything. Even a spoonful of water would ‘’hang’’ in the upper part of the throat and, then, trickle down in drops as though the throat had become an hospital drip set or line. But, surprisingly, she could almost freely drink a glass of water at 3 a.m or 3 p.m. so, I promised to keep the vigil with her. In such a glass of water, she could dissolve her medicines or whatever food she had liquefied. But such feeding didn’t help much, and she lost weight dramatically. I had given her a product called THROAT EZ, which her doctors agreed she could use, and another named MARIA TREBEN SWEEDISH BITTERS, a great recipe given to Maria Treben,  that great Austrian herbalist, by a gentleman who die at the age of 104 after falling off a horse he was riding. From the clinical reports of Maria Treben, on cancer cases she successfully treated, there should be need, also, for herbs she could impact externally on the throat as poultices.

In her epic book, HELP THROUGH GOD’S PHARMACY, Maria Treben offers suggestions which may be found useful for mouth and throat disorders. She says, for example: “Sage tea is used for ulcerated throat and mouth inflammation of the tooth pulp, tonsilities, and throat disorders. Many children and grown-ups could have saved themselves a tonsillectomy had  they taken sage tea in time. When the tonsils, which are the policemen of the body for toxic substances are missing, the toxic substances go directly to the kidneys. A decoction of sage is useful gargle for loose and bleeding teeth or ulcerated or receeding gums. A small piece of cotton saturated with sage tea can be applied.

In a section of the book which addresses DISEASES OF THE LARYNX, Maria Treben says: “Mallow loses one third of its medicinal properties during the drying process, therefore it is essential to  use only fresh plants. One heaped teaspoon per cup is used and two and half litres of tea are needed daily. The herbs are steeped in cold water overnight, warmed slightly the next morning and strained. The tea is kept warm in a thermos flask which has been rinsed with hot water, or the required amount is re-warmed in a water bath. Four cups of this tea are taken in sips and six cups are used in rinsing and gaggling. These 10 cups bring about the abatement of the malignant disease of the larynx very soon, even when the disease is advanced. The residue from the daily tea preparation is left in the pot, in the evening re-warmed with little water, mixed with barley flour (available from health food stores) and warmed again. This poultice is spread on a piece of linen and applied to the larynx. A warm cloth is wrapped around. After the first application, the person will feel a mark relief and often, four to five days later, he regains his voice. This same treatment is used for disorders of the oesophagus(also esophagus). Besides the warm barley meal poultices, warm hot Horsetail poultices are applied overnight…. Results of the latest research, according to the Austrian biologist Richard Wilfort justifies the assumption that tumours are inhibited in their growth and finally eliminated through the use of horsetail tea for long periods. This is also useful for polyps in the abdomen or anus. For greater benefit in both cases, horsetail steam poultices and sitz baths are used. These poultices are also useful for stomach pains, liver and gall bladder attacks, bursitis and for painful congestions which press upon the heart.

“On December 19, 1977, I received a call from a 49-year old farmer, who had a very painful hard growth in the sole of his foot and was, therefore, unable to step on it. He spent a few days in hospital but was sent home again. I recommended horsetail poultices which can even eliminate malignant tumours. I was quite surprised when on December 22, he called again telling me the growth had disappeared. The skin still felt soft and flabby but the hard growth was gone. A new miracle from God’s pharmacy!”

I hope the woman in reference has the money for this therapy. She has been dependent on the generosity of a few friends since she lives alone with her children. When she telephoned me last week, to ask when a carton of LASENA alkaline water, I promised her would be delivered by the supplier Mr Shoboyede, she told me she had gained about two kilogrammes in weight. The miracle was achieved through a hole which doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) bore into her stomach. They passed a feeding tube into this hole. Through the tube, she feeds on liquid food. Such food includes fruit juices and juiced banana. Her stomach and intestine still work. Someday, if the throat cancer does not disappear, the doctors plan to remove the cancerous throat and replace it with another throat formed from a part of her intestine. This scares her as it makes me shiver about the kind of life that may follow this. She is ready to do anything possible to make her escape from this ordeal. Meanwhile, the feeding tube she uses is not the right kind and, besides, the improvisation is not the right size. A proper feeding tube costs about N70,000, as she is told, but even then it is not readily available in Nigeria. So, a catheter was improvised. The catheter is the tube passed through the penis to bring urine from the bladder of men who cannot urinate on their own, into a urine bag they wear on their persons. Women, too, use it in special circumstances. Being undersized, the improvised catheter pull out of the stomach on its own from time to time, and she has to clean and fit, raising the risk of infection, bleeding and pain. This is a case worthy of the attention of Nigeria philanthropists.

Heartburn

As this case arose from heartburn, I wish to briefly, address it. Many people complain of heartburn as they do gastritis without paying serious attention to it. In heartburn, there is too much acid in the stomach which the intestine will not accept. The throat connects the mouth to the stomach. At the connection with the stomach, a spincker muscles stands as a gatekeeper. At the point where the stomach is connected to the beginning of the small intestine, the duodenum, another spincter muscle stands as gatekeeper. That is why if you stand on your head after a meal, the food you have just eaten is unlikely to come out through your mouth, if the gatekeeper is strong and healthy and does its work well. That is, also, why, as the stomach is mixing (churning) and digesting food, the food does not readily escape undigested into the intestine. The stomach is made to stand some acid, but not very harsh acid. The intestine cannot stand acid. It prefers alkalinity. Doctors used to think the vagus nerve made the stomach produce excess acid in some situations and, so, surgically tempered with it in conditions of gastritis or peptic ulcer. But new light has emerged from the works of researchers such as Dr. Robert Young who have shown the stomach has no acid pumps which produce acid. In their view, it is the food we eat which may cause the stomach to become overly acidic. A standard Nigerian breakfast of, say, bread, milk, sugar, tea, margarine, fried or boiled egg, is nothing but acidic food. Red meat, fried foods, organ meats and many brands of sachet and bottle water are acidic. So are carbohydrate foods. Hardly are vegetable eaten generously. Even then, they come to the kitchen, fertiliser grown and wilted, are overcooked and the addition of monosodium glutamate (MSG) to enhance taste worsens the diet.

hereas not more than half of the stomach should be filled during a meal, some people exert their stomachs to the elastic capacity by overeating. As the lower gatekeeper would not let acidic food pass into the intestine, the acidic meal is kept longer than necessary in the stomach. For many people, water is not taken about 30 minutes before a meal to guarantee extra supply to the pancreas for the manufacture of pancreatic juice, which is alkaline and neutralises acidic content of the stomach when it is set to leave the stomach. Irritated by the acid, the stomach tries to expel it through the throat to the mouth. But the throat gatekeeper, too, would not budge. The acidic food thus begins to burn the lower end of the throat in what we call heart burn or acid reflux. The acid actually cooks the lower throat tissue. And, so, over time, the spinter muscle may present as “boiled or cooked” meat rather than fresh meat. When the gatekeeper becomes run down, the gate flings open and acid engulps the throat, damaging its tissue. Other effects including cancer may develop.

Happily there are many natural products in the Nigerian market today for tackling heartburn. The cheapest among them is alkaline water. My first choice is LASENA water. There are other brands made from coral calcium. Once the pain is felt, one should drink two glasses of water, according to Dr. Batmanghelidj. We are about 70 percent water. When we speak, walk, run, jump, or urinate or defecate, we lose water.  When water is not adequately replaced, rationing among organs may arise. If the pancreas is thereby dehydrated, alkaline digestive substances cannot be adequately produced. These findings lead Dr. Batmanghelidj prescribe two glasses on rising from sleep in the morning, two glasses about 30 minutes before a meal, two glasses about two hours after a meal and two glasses before retiring to bed at night.

Horsetail, because of the high silica content, helps alkalise acidic stomach. So does DIATOM, with a higher silica content. Coral calcium, magnesium, potassium (potato juice) beet root juice etc, do the job also. I obtain good result from the proprietary product bells Acidic Stomach and alkaline balance. Among the 12 biochemic cell or tissue salts, No 10 does the job. The list is so long to mention here.

Spondylosis 

As the bells rang, memories of other people filled my heart. Some of such people are hooked on drugs and need help. To reach them with help, I longed to re-read Horse Wetzel’s and Daniel Swarovski’sTRIP INTO ILLUSION which I first read in the 1980s. It would appear the book is out of circulation because used copies cost about N 20,000 in Europe. Happily, I’ve got a clean copy from Mr Emmanuel Dike who treasures a well-kept library. I will speak more about this in future. In the interim, it would appear Nigeria isn’t doing enough about the hard drugs problem eating it up. Hard drugs joints exist in almost every town some are close to police stations or right on major roads. When petrol tanker vehicles run into crowds, dwellings or shops or fall from overhead bridges, killing, maiming and damaging property, is it all a question of plain accident (there is no accident in creation) or the effects of drug use? Hasn’t the time arrived to routinely check the blood of motorists for evidence of drug taking? Is the alcohol breath test enough in our circumstances?

s the bell rang and my mind wandered to the woman with a throat challenge, I remembered also some people with back or spinal column challenges. One of such people was a former manager of the defunct federal savings bank. An otherwise buoyant man, he suffers from a 30 degrees or so curvature sideways and walks with difficulty even with the aid of a walking stick for balance. His doctors say it is pointless operating on his back to remove the problem. The wife of one of my cousins thought her back problem came from a “spiritual attack”. She frequented many churches for “deliverance” and finally ended up at LUTH where a surgery was performed. Today, she stoops at an obvious angle and walks with a walking stick. There is the father of one of my younger acquaintances whose hip bone cracked while he was bathing. Doctors inserted a piece of iron into his pelvic bone to enable him make limited movements. There are many people in this condition. Their problems most probably began with back pain which may have been under rated and suppressed with pain killers, forgetting that something is going wrong which must be addressed. All too often, what is going on is a degeneration of the bones and discs of the spinal column. But that is not saying all back pain come from the scenario. For other causes may include constipation, bad posture which causes muscle, nerve ligament and tendon tension, obesity, high-heel shoes, nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis (loss of calcium in the bone structure), spinal misalignment etc. The case I wish to address is degeneration of the bones of the back, which may not present symptoms until the havoc is wrath, and about which many people have no clue.

From the neck to the hip bone, the bones of the spine (spinal vertebrae) are arranged one on top of the other with a load bearing disc or shock absorber placed between two vertebrae to protect them against shock. The middle or center of each vertebra has a hole through which the spinal cord travels downwards from the brain. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves in a casing through which the brain governs the whole body. At the basement of each vertebra, there are two small canals on each side through which branch nerves from the spinal cord exit to particular parts of the body, further branching on the way. For example, branch nerves serve the eyes as they serve the liver or the prostate gland. Like the joint of the arm or knee, these vertebrae are maintained by many nutritional supplements, including calcium, magnesium, glucosamine etc.  They are also subject to free radical damage like any other part of the body and protected by antioxidants.

Spondylosis is degenerative osteoarthritis of the joint in the vertebrae. In the dangerous situations especially in condition of magnesium deficiency or misbehavior of the parathyroid gland (it controls calcium metabolism), calcium is not well absorbed, is extracted or deposited in wrong places. I painted a picture for an 85- year old man who can no longer move his leg. His doctors read a scan image which shows that calcium has infiltrated the exterior of the vertebrae, causing bone spurs which have lain over the branch nerves. Since the malaise occurred in the nerves which control the muscles of his legs, he naturally lost mobility in those legs. The picture is that of a burning candle. The hot wax forms wax spurs on the sides. Similarly, wrong deposition of calcium may form bone spurs in the spinal column. Pressure on the nerve route causes inflammation, tenderness and pain. The muscle becomes weak.

Many people are familiar with cervical spondylosis, that is degeneration of vertebrae in the neck. It causes neck pain and neck immobility which may be helped by the neck collar. I wore a neck collar for months in the 1980s. Pressure in the neck may affect vision. There is a hazard in jobs which require long spells of reading and writing on flat desks which means the head has to be tilted forward for long hours, overworking a set of muscles and weakening them. Should a misalignment occur in the balancing act of these pressed muscles and the opposite counterbalancing pairs, the vertebrae may shift from their own aligned state, and the shift may make them pinch the nerve jotting out of the nerve root. This may cause excruciating pain and deterioration of organs served by these pinched nerves.