How I discovered bitter kola-based eye drop for glaucoma.

Adebukola Adefule-Ositelu is a professor of Ophthalmology and Chairman, Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board (LSTMB). Adefule-Ositelu, who also discovered a bitter kola-based eye drop for glaucoma, in this interview with CHUKWUMA MUANYA and CHARLES OZIOMA spoke on how far she has gone with her work.

The work is concluded and we have presented it at the World Ophthalmology Conference. The only thing with Nigerians is that we prefer orthodox medicine to the traditional ones. But what I am happy about is that if it is rubbish, you will not see it on the Internet because it is on Google already. If you Google glaucoma and natural product, it is my name that will come first. Many people have done researches after what I have done but it is my name that will come first. Also, we published all of our tested theories in scientific journals. We took swoop from the patient eye from the clinic to remove their discharges from their eye, took to the lab then we matched it comparatively with Garcinia kola (bitter kola) and it computed very effectively and it proved it as antibiotic.

Then fortunately enough, it was the Harmattan period when Apollo was circulating. We applied it on conjunctivitis and it worked. I accompanied one of my relations to visit the children at Meran. None of the teachers were around; it was the Open Day. We discovered that about eight of them had Apollo and even the boy we went to visit had Apollo. I was carrying the bitter kola eye drop about.

Since I saw that it was working for animals, I started using it on myself because I had trace of glaucoma.

So, I just brought it along and since there was no one to take permission from, I thought it would be risky for me to just leave the children after applying the eye drop because I will not feel comfortable. After inserting it, within two hours, they started feeling better, which prompted us to do a study on Apollo, which was the second paper, and the eye drop came out as truly antiviral. Then we also compared it with fungal infections. We took fungal discharges from patient and it compared comparatively with conventional antifungals.

The study came out very well, which proved the eye drop was antifungal. So, we got volunteers on human beings, people who were interested and we did this study in three universities- Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University and National Eye Centre at Kaduna. And I’m happy because all of us who did that study have become professors. The research contributed a lot to our upgrading.

And we were also able to discover that it was very effective on open angle glaucoma and also ocular hypertension. And since then, those who volunteered, up till today, have refused to stop using it. They still demand for the eye drop and they are spreading the good news. I also went to a laboratory in Texas, United States. I took the prepared one and took fresh Garcinia kola nut with me. I saw one of their leaders there, Dr Mac Donald. He took it but it took me about two years to get anything from them. I just kept pestering them and by the time they released it, we saw the beautiful properties. They analysed it and it was very helpful.

So, proving to us that what those of us were experiencing were actually true with what they have found. But the only thing they told me was that they had a lot on their hands and they would not be able to join me. But we continued here and we were able to produce so many papers. I also sent to Cameroon, the University of Buea, to be precise. They even found some other properties apart from what we knew, which was quite interesting.

From there, we started to refine the product, to do the packaging, make it international.

Then I went to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) before it was inaugurated, which was in 1987. It officially started in 1987. About nine papers have been published. Although the NAFDAC process was so rigorous, I finally got it registered.

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