Avoid Kidney Failure: 5 Reasons You Need to Stop Taking Herbal Concoction (Agbo)

by Boluwatife Adedokun

Before the introduction of unorthodox medicine, Nigerians have relied on herbal concoction (agbo) to cure any illness.

Traditional medicine has been used to treat numerous ailments for centuries and is commonly used in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

In Nigeria, however, the use of Herbal concoctions is very common. It’s a must-have in almost every Nigerian home, especially in the southwest region. People believe and rely on local herbs for medication. 


Many people rely on agbo to cure ailments

Largely accepted by other tribes, herbal concoctions, commonly called ‘Agbo’ by the Yorubas, are native preparations taken for different diseases. It is usually a mixture of various herbs. People claim to use agbo because they cannot the bills in a hospital, so they rather use cheap means.

What baffles this writer is that some parents claim that drinking agbo is essential in training a child.

Women in rural areas hawks these concoctions at motor parks and highways, they mix whatever they’ve learned and sell to people. In fact, some of them do not hawk anymore. They have stalls where customers can sit and drink to their satisfaction

The herbs used are soaked in water and or mixed with soft drinks, alcohol or even palm wine, cooked, or left to ferment for hours or days before one drinks it.

What are Herbal Concoctions?

Herbal concoction, popularly known as Agbo, are mixtures of different plant species to cure different ailments. They come in bottles and nylons. The name, agbo, originates from the Yoruba people. Any Nigerian that grew under the roof of Yoruba parents have drank herbal mixtures at on point of their lives. Yorubas believe plants are essential beings to the earth and have powers to treat any illness.

Agbo has it prescribed doses, which you can only get from experts, called herbalists. Agbo has proven to cure any sickness, but what is the side effect of this powerful medication?

Tip: Yorubas believe you should not cut leaves at night to prepare agbo because the plant(s) is asleep.

What is Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys can no longer adequately remove waste from the blood and control the body’s fluid level. Kidney failure can be acute or chronic.

Functions of the Kidneys

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located in the abdominal cavity of humans. They are vital organs essential for life.

Their major function is to excrete waste from the body. They also maintain water and salt balance, which are important in blood pressure regulation.

This means that the kidneys help to filter everything we take into the body in the form of water, mixtures, body cream, dye, and drugs, to mention a few.

Now, experts in agbo will tell you that there is a type of agbo that will cleanse your kidney. When you take such concoction frequently, it can affect your body system.

It is important to drink lots of water as it helps our kidneys.

5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Taking Agbo(Herbal Concoction)


Agbo comes in diffferent packages

  1. Toxic effects

Kidney failure results from injury or damage to the kidneys. This occurs when the kidneys no longer function properly and find it difficult to do their job, that is, to get rid of waste products in the blood.

Until now, diabetes, high blood pressure, poor diet, lifestyle and obesity, and other factors have been identified as the leading causes of kidney damage.

In 2019, however, long-term drinking of traditional herbal concoctions was identified as Nigeria’s new leading cause of kidney failure, followed by exposure to harmful chemicals in skin whitening creams.

Most kidney failures, also known as end-stage kidney diseases, could be linked to indiscriminate use of these concoctions. This is because kidney failure is the final stage of chronic kidney disease. 

End-stage kidney disease occurs when about 90% of kidney function has been lost. These herbs are mixed with all sorts, including local gin, and there are toxic substances in the unprocessed materials and fermentation. 

In an investigation by Punch newspaper, a test was carried out on herbal concoctions and it was discovered that there were chemicals like naphthalene, acenaphthylene, fluorene, anthracene, phenanthrene and triphenylene. The mixture of these chemicals increases the risk of lung, skin, or bladder cancer. 

  1. Incorrect dosage 

There is no doubt that herbal concoctions have been in existence for donkey years and have worked wonders in the human system. 

Presently, the use of traditional herbal medicine has become more pronounced. It appears some people don’t need any more prompting to embrace the idea of using herbal concoction for any ailment, as it is believed to be efficient, acts fast, cheap and readily available (all doing)

The downside to the intake of these concoctions Is that one cannot ascertain the dosage and expiration of the mixture, hence the tendency to either under-dose or overdose.

People who take Agbo do not know when it becomes underdose or overdose, and this can affect the functions of the kidney and liver, which are critical in the functioning of the body system.

You will agree with me that some people drink herbal concoction as though it is water; others take it as early as possible without breakfast and at different times of the day, and this habit has been consistent for years. They claim that such concoctions give them the energy they need to run their day-to-day activities. 

Many of these herbal concoction sellers mix two or more mixtures to give a particular so-called “strong effect, which their customers take with glee. 

  1. Contamination

The fact that herbal concoctions are natural does not necessarily guarantee their safety. These herbs are subjected to contamination by pathogenic microorganisms from the soil, air and water.

In addition, microbial contaminants may be introduced while collecting, handling, preparing, and storing herbal medicine. As a result, many herbal concoctions are not even safe to drink.

  1. Inadequate Preparation

Hawkers and shop owners who sell this herbal concoction do not understand what it means to prepare this Agbo carefully; they are only interested in meeting their daily needs.

If Agbo will be taken at all, its preparation has to follow a thoroughly supervised procedure under a hygienic atmosphere with appropriate dosage requirements spelt out and an expiration date written.

If these are not adhered to, people will continue to take Agbo indiscriminately; some may get lucky and be healed, but a majority will come down with more debilitating and chronic situations which may be beyond the doctors.

Although these preparations are potential sources of natural antioxidants, most of the mixtures hawked in various places may harm human health. This is because many of the hawkers are quacks.

Read Also: 10 Unhealthy Habits Nigerians Practice Unaware

5. Absence of Herb–drug Interactions

Since many of these herbal concoctions are sold by roadside hawkers, they sell their products using small cups and the so-called packaged ones have no labels on them

The side effects are neither included nor their drug interactions with the cells of the kidneys, therefore, increasing the rate of damage to the cells.

They are not certified by NAFDAC, this is why you see them using used bottles.

Early Symptoms Of Kidney Failure


The Human Kidney

Without the kidneys playing their vital role, substances that should be filtered build up in the body. This makes the person severely ill, and the body communicates the symptoms at this stage

Many people come down with acute kidney failure and present with symptoms such as;

  • Decreased urine output
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles
  • Muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting.

Once the symptoms have been observed, there is a need for dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.

Read Also: 7 Habitual Lifestyle Mistakes to Avoid as a Nigerian

Kidney failure Cure

Presently, there is no cure for kidney failure. However, there are ways in which it is treated.

  1. Kidney Transplant

This is a process in which a healthy kidney from a donor replaces a diseased kidney, it usually takes a long period of time, and such people will have to use immunosuppressive drugs, which are very expensive for the rest of their lives. Kidney transplantation improves the quality of life and increases the chances of survival.

  1. Dialysis

This involves using a machine (haemodialysis) on the body to remove waste and extra fluid from the blood. Dialysis does not cure kidney damage; it only does the work of the kidney. Patients on dialysis need to get dialysis up to three times a week for three to four hours a day. The majority of patients, however, end up doing it once or twice a week because it is expensive, as each dialysis session costs an average of N25,000 to N30,000.

Supportive or conservative care means providing all health care and support possible. In this case, the person with kidney failure will eventually die.


Prevention is often better, cheaper and less stressful than cure. Once you have kidney failure, there is no going back; even rich people can’t maintain, afford or keep up with dialysis, as it is a disease that turns rich people into poverty. 

The masses who are not generally or financially equipped to take care of the disease have to resort to treating the disease at home, which generally worsens the prognosis leading to the eventual death of many.

It is advisable to treat our bodies well by taking proper and adequate care of them. 

Remember, health is wealth.

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About Author

Avatar of Boluwatife Adedokun
Boluwatife Adedokun
Adedokun Boluwatife is a content, Ghostwriter, and Medical student.
She uses storytelling to write compelling articles and books. Writing is the greatest instrument to share what she knows with the world. Proficiency is a skill she always wields.

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