When I heard of the new international ranking of JOBELYN, the Nigerian herbal blood formula, as a possible anti-cancer agent I was tempted to see the landmark thrust in terms of a prophet despised at home but celebrated abroad. I quickly reversed the thought as I walked back memory lane to 1994, when under its old name, JUBI BLOOD FORMULA, I initiated the first newspaper report on this amazing proprietary blend and the chain of acknowledgement It has enjoyed even in Nigeria’s orthodox medical circles. There are two points I would like to quickly clarify in the foregoing statement. The first is ” The new international ranking” by the National Cancer Institute of the United States as a possible anti-cancer agent. The second is “This amazing proprietary blend”.
To climb a mountain from the bottom, which is the natural way to climb mountains, l should, quite naturally, start with “this amazing proprietary blend of herbs”. Jobelyn is amazing to many people because it has not stopped changing its complexion like the chameleon since that first day that it came out of the laboratory of the pharmacognosy department of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) which dressed it up as an anti-anaemia herbal medicine. The researchers reported that Jobelyn could raise the blood hematocrit within 24 hours, a feat no pharmaceutical agent could perform in those days and perhaps even now. That led to another report in THE GUARDIAN newspaper which described Jobelyn as “a possible alternative to blood transfusion”. Another study would suggest that Jobelyn could be an immune booster in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Yet another study would say Jobelyn could check inflammation and arthritis while another saw it as a blood sugar manager. Newer studies have shown it would support the well-being of cancer and psychiatric patients.
Alternative medicine appeals to some doctors such as Dr Victor Umoh, formerly of DURO SOLEYE HOSPITAL in Lagos who went up north to set up his AJAOKUTA CLINIC. I discussed Jobelyn with him when he was in Lagos because he showed interest in Alternative medicine and had participated in a REFLEX ZONE THERAPY training Co-sponsored in Lagos by The Guardian newspaper and SHERATON HOTEL, Lagos. In Ajaokuta, Dr Umoh had a stubborn patient, a woman, who with all members of her family, was a JEHOVAH WITNESS. If my memory serves me right, she was an ectopic pregnancy patient. She had lost a lot of blood and was dying. Yet she refused to be transfused with another person’s blood. Her family did not mind that she die if Dr Umoh had nothing but human blood to save her life with. Dr Umoh was not and still not a Witness. But he appreciates the fact that every person makes his or her own blood, and that, while on the surface, a blood transfusion may save a life in emergencies, it has drawbacks the patient and the doctor may not be able to cope with in the spiritual life of the patient. But he was not a doctor who would throw up his arms in despair. He remembered our discussion on Jobelyn, rushed to Lagos for a stock, rushed back and…saved the woman’s life with intravenous injection as she was hardly able to orally accept medications. Since then, many other Orthodox medical doctors have become witnesses to how Jobelyn rapidly rebuilds the blood in all ramifications. Dr Abia Okon would later take it upon himself to educate Nigerian doctors about Jobelyn in the language doctors understand and would make presentations on Jobelyn abroad.
I call Jobelyn “An amazing product” because newer studies would soon show that Jobelyn could cut elevated blood sugar, fight inflammation and arthritis better than CEREBREX and would challenge HIV/AIDS. The Nigerian military hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos, would announce the results of an HIV/AIDS study on Jobelyn to a conference of military hospital worldwide in Bethesda, United States. A Tunisian study would report cures. A Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) study would report imprisoned well-being of challenged persons. A University of Ibadan’s University college hospital (UCH) would study Jobelyn for psychiatric purposes while the pharmacy department of the University of Benin would investigate it for toxicity with excellent results. There is hardly a Nigerian herbal medicine that has been so rigorously tested in Nigeria’s, let alone in ivory tower laboratories.
In Nigeria, we are passionate about “THE NEXT LEVEL”. The new level Jobelyn has attained its inclusion in the DICTIONARY OF DRUGS of the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE (NCI)in the United States. According to Google:
“The NCI Drug Dictionary contains a technical definition and synonyms for drugs/agents used to treat patients with cancer or conditions related to cancer. Each drug entry checks the clinical trials listed in NCI’s list trials.”
The Jobelyn entry was not solicited. Editors of the NCI Drug Dictionary select entries after rigorous peer-reviewed publications in reputable journals. Jobelyn must have had a surfeit of that from its presentation as a proprietary blend anchored on Sorghum bicolour. Of the possible positive impact on sorghum bicolor, the NCI Drug Dictionary says:
“Phenolic compounds in some speciality sorghums have been associated with cancer prevention. However, direct evidence and the underlying mechanisms for this are mostly unknown. In this study, phenolics were extracted from 13 selected sorghum accessions with black pericarp while F10000 hybrid with white pericarp was used as a control, and cell growth inhibition was studied in hepatocarcinoma HepG2 and colorectal adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells. Total phenolic contents of the 13 high phenolic grains are determined by Folin–Ciocalteu were 30–64 mg GAE/g DW in the phenolic extracts of various accessions compared with the control F10000 at 2 mg GAE/g DW. Treatment of HepG2 with the extracted phenolics at 0–200 μM GAE up to 72 h resulted in a dose- and time-dependent reduction in cell numbers. The values of IC50 varied from 85 to 221 mg DW/mL while the control of F10000 was 1275 mg DW/mL. The underlying mechanisms were further examined using the highest phenolic content of PI329694 and the lowest IC50 of PI570481, resulting in a non-cytotoxic decrease in cell number that was significantly correlated with increased cell cycle arrest at G2/M and apoptotic cells in both HepG2 and Caco-2 cells. Taken together, these results indicated, for the first time, that inhibition of either HepG2 or Caco-2 cell growth by phenolic extracts from 13 selected sorghum accessions was due to cytostatic and apoptotic but not cytotoxic mechanisms, suggesting some speciality sorghums are a valuable, functional food, providing sustainable phenolics for potential cancer prevention”.
What we have just been told by the expert is that sorghum bicolor has a medicinal compound that can prevent the onset of cancer or inhibit its growth. That experiments studied the effect of sorghum bicolor on the liver and colorectal cancers. Since sorghum bicolor is one of the ingredients of Jobeyln, the producers of this anti-anaemia, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, energizer and immune booster proprietary blend infer that these attributes make it a front line agent in cancer therapy.
One of the benefits Jobelyn should enjoy from its inclusion in the NCI dictionary of possible anti-cancer herbal agents is its exposure to international cancer and related diseases drug markets, especially doctors who are ever seeking newer medicines for this scourge of humanity. It means Jobelyn has finally officially flown out of the shores of Nigeria, not on its own wings but buoyed on crests of the waves of a mighty global marketplace for cancer and related diseases. This is a dream come true for Mr OLAJUWON OKUBENA, Chief Executive Officer of Health Forever Limited(HFL), producers and marketers of Jobelyn. Since these products gained recognition in Nigeria in the middle of the 1990s, he has resisted pressures to sell it through a multi-level marketing platform, which was growing then, and even now, in popularity as the fastest way to grow a new product in a market dominated by older products and brands. Instead, he chose to make Jobelyn doctor recommended. This meant he had to persuade Nigerian doctors that Jobelyn could help their patients and that the production process satisfied GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE standards. He was rearing to storm the mountains. I vividly remember advising him to not confront the medical communities “half-naked” product as it were, without enough scientific and medical evidence. Medical doctors are conservative and may inadvertently kill a beautiful dream not prepared to do battle with their conservatism and inflexibility or rigidity. As a student’s of Nature, I advised gradualism in the interface with the medical community. The sun does not rapidly rise and set but gradually rise. A child born in the morning does not become an engineer or a doctor in the evening. So, with a series of scientific studies and clinical trials in Nigerian reputable universities where researchers and clinicians with several decades of international reputation undertook the studies, Jobelyn was ready to fly. The cost was unimaginable for a Nigerian herbal Proprietary blend of about five South Western Nigerian herbs strung together by SOGHUM BICOLOR which the Yoruba’s call POROPORO OKA BABA. Backed with scientific muscles for Jobelyn and Dr Aba okon, Mr Okubena introduced this product to the African market. I was privileged to witness one of such marketing drives in Accra, Ghana, in 2002 at an international herbal medicines conference and at another in Dakar, Senegal in 2006. Last Friday, Mr Okubena told me:
“Apparently, they have investigated and are still investigating most of the relevant herbs and known non-conventional cure claims in the Western world. They have meticulously documented and made them available on their website to guide cancer patients who opt for complementary and alternative medicine. The scientist has recently published an article about Sorghum bicolor and its unique ability for its chemopreventive capabilities as a result of its rich contents of polyphenols. Extracts were made from 13 samples and tested on some Cancer cells. They showed excellent results. Jobelyn has a double concentration of polyphenols and that makes it unique”.
One of the hospital cases which brought recognition to Jobelyn in Nigeria and in the United States was that of patients whose records appear below:
“An American, whose wife is an associate professor in the department of occupational therapy, Boston University, Massachusetts, USA had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, refractory type M-O. He received three courses of chemotherapy between October and January1996-1997. Two weeks after the last chemotherapy, his leukaemia relapsed. He went for another protocol in which he received lymphocyte infusion(helper-T cells) followed by three weeks of interleukin 2 injections. In spite of all these, his blast continued to increase and the haematocrit kept going down. He was transfused with two pints of whole blood every other day. He also received multiple platelet transfusions. His case was dismissed by his doctors at Dana Farber Cancer Centre(one of the best two cancer centres in the world)as irredeemable. He was given two days to live after discharge from Hospital. His wife, also, placed an order for Jobelyn capsules through the internet. Samples of Jobelyn were sent to her and were administered to her husband who was admitted for acute myeloid leukaemia at Dana Farber Cancer Institute Boston. He was already discharged and given two to three days at most to die because his body rejected all the blood transfused. Jobelyn helped to prolong his life for more than he was expected to live. Though the patient is now deceased, his condition while on this therapy could best be summarized in the spouse’s own words…. ‘The Jobelyn definitely stabilized his hematocrit for as long as he took it and it may have prolonged his life. A few weeks, having been able to keep him alive for a month after they thought he was going to die, was worth it “.
Besides many human studies, Health Forever Limited(HFL) also put Jobelyn through many animal studies, one of which is reported below:
“Pathophysiology 2018 Dec 9;25:317-325. Epub 2018 May 9.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria.
Neurodegeneration in the Hippo Campus is a consequence of alcohol abuse which compromises the survival of the CNS tissue and its self-renewal capacity. So far, conventional drugs have not been clinically satisfactory in ameliorating neurodegeneration, therefore there has been a surge towards exploring the potentials of nutraceuticals since they mediate their action in a multi-mechanism fashion and may have high therapeutic potentials in CNS diseases. This study, therefore, evaluated the effect of Jobelyn supplementation in ethanol-induced neurodegeneration of the Hippo Campus. Adult male rats received a regimen of ethanol or ethanol plus Jobelyn®, three times daily over four days. Histological results show that Jobelyn® supplementation significantly lowered neurodegeneration in the dentate gyrus, CA1 and CA3 areas. Furthermore, IHC studies show that Jobelyn® triggered an increased expression of p53 proteins in neurons of areas CA1 and CA3, with a reduction of p53 expression in the DG and also caused reduced expression of the ɤ-enolase protein in these regions. These findings suggest that Jobelyn® may be able to help to maintain neuronal survival via control of tumor antigen p53 and ɤ-enolase regulated apoptotic and necrotic processes”.
Of the NCI listing of Jobelyn, Mr Okubena adds:
“At the bottom of the write-up, Jobelyn is mentioned as the foreign brand name for the specific Sorghum bicolor Leaf Sheaths being introduced. This is not an article. It is a summary of key scientific investigation to notify cancer patients of the potential benefits of JOBELYN. For more than 70 years, conventional and orthodox medicine has failed woefully to find a satisfactory solution to the problem of cancer. While the FDA still continues to compel patients to adhere to the conventional system which is not of much use, the US Department of HEALTH along the line set the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE (NCI) to find an alternative solution by way herbal/traditional medicine by investing heavily in research. Useful findings are included in a library and patients have access to the library and have the option to try them.
“What makes JOBELYN unique is that it is a branded product which would have been regarded as a direct advertisement. There is a recognition that there are different types of Sorghum bicolor Leaf Sheaths but it is the JOBELYN brand that has scientific backing that suggests it is relevant for the treatment of cancer. I think that, with this publication, FDA would not treat us as criminals if we make mention of JOBELYN when we introduce it to potential cancer patients.
“Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. People with cancer may use CAM to:
“Help cope with the side effects of cancer treatments, such as nausea, pain, and fatigue comfort themselves and ease the worries of cancer treatment and related stress feel that they are doing something to help with their own care try to treat or cure their cancer. Normally, dietary supplements are not allowed to make health claims. The NCI has investigated and are still investigating all herbal/natural products in connection with cancer treatment and are publishing the information on their website. Sorghum bicolor leaf sheath supplement with the foreign brand name of Jobelyn has been investigated and researched and included in their dictionary of drugs and the description which was published on their website included all the claims that could be made for a therapeutic drug. These are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immuno-modulating, chemo-preventive. These are claims that dietary supplements are prohibited from making. This is an introduction of the product to cancer patients all over the world. We did not apply to NCI and of course, they would not entertain such. They did their own independent investigation and published it”.
On the NCI website are also the names of some well-known herbs and therapies from the remedies such as mango tree bark, Bitter Kola tree bark, Echinacea, Astragalus, Ginkgo biloba, Ginger, Citrus medical fruit juice, Gerson therapy, Essiac, Mistletoe, Pomegranate, calcium, Grape and Grapefruit, Grapeseed Extract, Lemongrass, Papaya(pawpaw) leaves, curcumin, Paud’Arco, Sour Sop,(Graviola), Bovine and Shark cartilage, Noni, fish oil, garlic, cat’s claw, Goldenseal root, oxygen…. and many more.
Mr Olajuwon Okubena deserves commendation for braving the high tide of Establishment medicine, coasting home and hoisting, the flag of Jobelyn, nay Nigeria’s flag, in global cancer and related diseases medicines market. The humblest and the most patient dog eats the fattest and freshest bone.