Sometime in 1990, I met a middle-aged friend who was wearing a necklace made of white, green and black beads.
As we chatted, he made all the gestures possible to attract my attention to it.
I, therefore, asked him about it and then he started describing the benefits of the necklace.
He claimed that the necklace was made in China and sold to him by a health worker and that once on the neck, this necklace could cure everything from high blood pressure to diabetes, lower cholesterol, improve blood circulation and boost energy.
He further claimed that since he started wearing it about two months ago, all his health problems had disappeared and that he had become energetic like a 21-year-old man.
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One could imagine my shock and sadness, therefore , when I heard my friend had passed on barely three months after our meeting. What was even more surprising was when I learnt that he had died from high blood pressure.
Apparently, he had put aside the medications his doctor had prescribed to control his blood pressure and had died wearing his magic necklace.
I also had a working colleague who bought a certain comb which he used thrice a day.
He had started going bald and was not amused at all and had, therefore, embraced this comb which was said to grow hair in three months once used religiously.
He never missed a combing but alas, his “ motorway” progressed instead of retrogressing until a full year went by when he now accepted his fate and went for a total hair shave because by then, he had a full-blown ‘motorway’ (bald).
Looking back at the trend, I have come to realise that some people seem to be making loads of money from the business of selling “remedies” to certain conditions that humans have always been desperate about and their desire to look like the celebrities they see on television and in magazines.
These remedies include preparations and concoctions to decrease belly fat, enlarge the penis, tighten VGs, vanish stretch marks, promote hair growth, change skin colour, cure infertility and cause weight loss in days.
In fact, in the USA, this is known to be a multi-billion dollar industry.
As a result, we find all kinds of slimming teas, hair creams and preparations on the market being advertised to attract patronage.
Often times, “before and after “ pictures of some smiling Caucasians are used to convince potential customers.
Those in the pictures are out of reach for verification. Ultimately, most of these remedies don’t work, or will seem to have worked only to return customers to an even worst state.
However, the market for such items and preparations is thriving because no one seems to be monitoring the activities of these quacks.
Moreover, most customers would most of the time be silent about it and not seek redress for fear of being branded “mumu” (a fool).
The guy who ended up in the doctor’s consulting room when his penis became swollen and sore like a big boil after applying one such remedy definitely wanted to keep the experience secret. Who wants to be a laughing stock?
It is difficult to fathom how there could be preparations in one gallon for infertility when there are many causes.
If the cause is not known, how can there be a one size remedy fitting all?
Apart from the fact that many people are being defrauded when they buy such phantom remedies, my worry is not only about the money being lost to such fakes but the possible side effects to health, never mind indications that “there are no side effects” because they are “natural products”.
But for the fact that he abandoned prescribed medication and clung to that fake necklace, my friend could have been alive today. Those who manufactured and sold that necklace got away with murder.
This is why I think there is the need for public education and awareness of this matter.
I also think that the relevant authorities should act in a manner that would prevent these fraudsters from the field day they are enjoying now.
To such loyal customers, please be reminded that the times in which we live in are not normal and be as wise as the serpent.