Mohamed Tahir Mohamed, a slim young man, coming from Berbay neighborhood of Kassala city, amazingly speaks like a scientist, in fluent English, about botany as if he is a lecturer in a renowned university, although left the school after completing the secondary level, to take over his father's legacy of treatment with herbs in his region where he has become famous as a herbalist who helped many people recover from different diseases.
He met in Khartoum with a number of pharmacists and talked to them as a scientist and, being admired, Professor Mamoun Humaidah, the Minister of Health of Khartoum State and proprietor of the University of Science and Technology, offered Mohamed a scholarship in the Faculty of Pharmacy in recognition of his intelligence and to benefit from his knowledge and experience in the herbs.
However, the herbalist found out that the study did not suit him and therefore he left the faculty preferring the free life of practicing his research in the herbs which he loved and with which he grew up, helping his father collect the wild plants and find ways for treating the patients who come to his home clinic.
"I conduct my research on a specific plant and after I make sure of its effectiveness, I take it to the National Center for Research where it is identified in its scientific name and further research is conducted to prove its viability," Mohamed, who is nicknamed "Adaroub" in the Center, told SUDANOW that met him at the Center's plant chemistry and classification section which is in charge of collection and documentation of the medical and aromatic herbs.
Professor Abdul Wahab Hassan Mohamed
Professor Abdul Wahab Hassan Mohamed of the Faculty of Pharmacy in the Ribat University commended the way in which Adaroub uses herbs for medical treatment and his knowledge of the herbs and their properties.
The Pharmacist Professor said: "We get his assistance with regard to students who are conducting research works for the Master and Doctorate degrees, making use of his knowledge about a certain plant, the manner of its collection and usage and the extent of its effectiveness. Most of his herbs have proved effective, like the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism which are cured by the river bank basil which has proved effective and which is similar to the sweet basil, except that its smell is lighter that the latter. Basil herb is dried in an open shade and it is ground and is served to the patients in a gram dose once a day for seven days. Adaroub has made a number of researches published in specialized scientific magazines."
Mohamed Tahir Mohamed began to recount, in a calm way, his experience with the research and uses of the herbs, saying:-
"When I arrived at the Research Center for the first time, I was carrying a herb the name of which I did not know and with which I cured patients suffering the malaria that is wide-spread in our region Kassala. I told the persons in the Center that I had dried the leaves of the plant, ground them and gave each patient a 5-gram dose three times a day for five days, sometimes for seven days according to the patient's response. All the patients have fully recovered as was shown by the blood test."
He went on to say that the plant was identified as the Rantooq and was compared with the chloroquin, the sole malaria remedy, but proved more effective than the latter and also proved of no poisonous effect even if the dose is redoubled.
"This was my first scientific discovery and it was published in a scientific journal: 'Recent Progress in Medicine'" Adaroub said.
He said for the treatment of rheumatism, he brought a non-poisonous plant which his father had used in his medications. And which is another kind of river bank basil. "I dried all the plant under a temperature of 30-50 degrees centigrade. I gave a patient who was suffering from rheumatism a single-gram dose each day for seven days. But the patient did not recover and increased the dose to three grams a day and the patient recovered, proving efficiency of the herb. Compared with the analgesic drug given for rheumatism in the Center, the herb was found to be more effective than the drug. This discovery was published in the Global Journal of Medical Research and compared with aspirin, the herb proved more effective and with no side effects."
The Sudanese herbalist said he also brought um lubainah, a creeping plant the leaves of which are small and when press they produce a milk-like liquid. He said he dried the leaves and with three grams of the power he treated rheumatism. This research was also published in the general international science of health.
Adaroub said he dried the broad leaves of a plant he called shashay, fixed a two-gram dose to be swallowed three times a day after meals for the treatment of diabetes and was found to be more effective than the donteal drug. The Mexican argamon herb gave the same result and both herbs may be used for cutting down the rate of cholesterol and other fats and the two drugs are classified depressing enzymes.
The herbalist went on to say that he had brought a plant for treatment of diabetes which was agreed to be called ADR3, after his nickname Adaroub, as no scientific name was found to it. This herb was found to be depressing glycogen enzyme which cures diabetes by depressing a certain enzyme which transforms the stored sugar into glucose.
He said he had also brought to the Institute a deoxizing herb which proved efficient in the laboratory.
The self-made scientist said he had discovered that the herbs have killer poisons, some can kill by taking a certain dose and others kill gradually, which is the most dangerous, and yet others will kill immediately upon swallowing, like the angil plant which kills forthwith but strangely enough, it does not kill camels "but as this does not fall in my field of specialization, I will leave it to the concerned people."
Some herbs, according to Mohamed, have a deadly poison that kills by a fixed dose, like the datora which is a summer plant with fruits covered with thorns. It is of two kinds and it contains a powerful anesthetic and for this it is mixed with liqueurs to make them highly narcotic. It immediately kills when the dose is increased. The hyousin narcotic is derived from this herb, yet it has medicinal benefits and is mixed with the cancer serums the source of which is also the poisonous watakah and thus we can say that most of the cancer drugs are extracted from poisonous herbs, he added.
"For the treatment from the snake and scorpion bites, I use the rat ear plant and the poisonous spider's bite; I use the saber plant and for extracting a thorn from the flesh I apply cataplasms which I make from the leaves of laloab, fenugreek and usher to make the extraction easier," Adaroub said.
He added that for curing the thyroid gland and hepatitis he uses the booshya herb which was effective in the treatment of his patients but, he conceded, its effectiveness has not yet been proven in the laboratory.
As for the deema plant, which is presently being grown by the Center for research purposes, Mohamed said he has used for the treatment of diseases accompanying AIDS and hepatitis by giving a dose of dried or ground leaves in the morning and another dose in the evening.
He said he treated leprosy with booshya as a syrup or by rubbing the infected place and it has shown efficiency.
The list of his herbs also includes one he calls sha'a shaoot which Adaroub said he uses for the treatment of the white spots of the skin by putting a layer of the ground leaves. Another plant called akulbata which he uses to make the hair black.
He said he uses the suitable herb in accordance with the result of the laboratory for the treatment of gynecology; for instance, to remove the cause of obstructing pregnancy, he uses Wadi Mecca herb the scientific name of which is leptadenia on which no laboratory research has yet been conducted and that he uses the ground leaves of other derivatives of Wadi Mecca herb for other gynecological diseases such as infertility.
"I am inclined to use the herb in its natural form without additions," Adaroub said, adding that he had learnt the knowledge of the herbs and their different uses from the herbalists in Kassala.
If the effectiveness of the treatment with herbs is not confirmed in the laboratory, it remains only a belief by the public, Adaroub said, adding that the American society identified the alternative medicine as the use of herbs in their natural forms without any pharmaceutical interference.
He said he had worked hard to teach himself by himself. "I learned English and have become influent in spoken English and I have read all the scientific journals and periodicals specialized in the usage of the medical herbs. I don't see any need for enrolling in a university faculty of pharmacy because I prefer self-learning, a favor which God has bestowed unto me. I think this was a result of prayers by my father who learns the Holy Koran in the Koran schools besides curing patients with herbs."
He said he was awarded by Professor Mamoun Humaidah a scholarship for studying pharmacy, saying he had passed an examination by pharmacy professors as "I am a voracious reader particularly in the field of herbs science and research."
The Sudanese herbalist said: "Our family is famous in Kassala for the treatment with herbs. It is a heritage of our family and I am planning to practice this activity on a scientific basis by opening a herbal treatment clinic but I cannot find the time to do so because I spend all my time in the Center to assist the students and the researchers about the herbs."