Goron Tula is a hibiscus tree plant grown in northern Nigeria. It is called Azanza garckeana by plant scientists, while the English call it Snot apple or African chewing gum. It is a popular plant renowned for its nutritional and medicinal value.
The plant could be chewed directly after the seeds have been removed, or soaked in water to make a jelly. It can as well be boiled to serve as porridge. Whichever way it is processed, Goron Tula is a plant that is used widely across Nigeria.
The plant contains several phytochemicals, which make it particularly effective in managing cases of cough, chest pain, sexually transmitted infections, and diabetes. Nevertheless, Goron Tula is more popular for its touted capacity to improve reproductive health by increasing libido, promoting vaginal health, and encouraging fertility.
With so many people using the plant across Nigeria, it is necessary to shed some light on the possible side effects and health risks associated with its use. This will give current and future users of the plant a balanced view of the plant, and guide them to make informed decisions.
Goron Tula Side effects
What can happen when the use of Goron Tula goes wrong? A lot. We have listed some possible side-effects of the use Goron tula here to educate on the potential damage the plant can do to your health, besides its well-known benefits.
Note, however, that your chances of experiencing these side effects are quite slim provided you take Goron Tula in moderate amounts, and you’re careful enough to avoid stale or rotten fruits.
Here are some side effects that various research studies have linked with Goron Tula consumption:
If you are allergic to Goron Tula or any of its components, taking it can cause you abdominal discomfort and give you a feeling of wanting to vomit. This side effect is often mild and would resolve without you having to take drugs. Nevertheless, you may need to avoid further use if you don’t want your nausea to develop into something more serious.
After taking a high dose of Goron Tula, it is advisable to not operate any machinery or try to do strenuous work. The alkaloids in it could make you could feel lightheaded, woozy, and unable to maintain balance. The dizziness may dissipate after some minutes to hours. If this prolongs, you may have to consult a physician.
Headache is also a drawback from the ingestion of high quantities of Goron Tula. The dizziness mentioned above could be accompanied by pain in your head or neck, and make it hard for you to concentrate on the day’s work.
If the headache is severe and the episodes are repeated, you will need to stop the drugs, and then consult your doctor for immediate attention.
You can develop symptoms of food poisoning if you take Goron Tula fruits that have been contaminated by harmful chemicals and microorganisms. These contaminants can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and serious abdominal discomfort.
Unlike the previous side effects, this is a serious complication to have. If you have any indication that you might have ingested contaminated Goron Tula, discontinue the product immediately and seek prompt medical attention.
An overdose of Goron Tula fills you with high levels of alkaloids, tannins, and polyphenols, which can cause organ damage or complicate existing organ diseases. Tannins could affect the kidney and also damage the liver, thereby limiting its capacity to remove toxic chemicals from your body.
Compared to other side effects, organ damage is a gradual process. The damage may be irreversible once it manifests as a full-blown clinical condition. That is why it’s better you avoid Goron Tula if you have kidney or liver problems.
Some of the phytochemicals in Goron Tula inhibit the activities of enzymes in the body. Such enzymes may include those involved in regulating cell division. Inhibition of this process results in uncontrolled replication of the cells — cancer.
Goron Tula: Health Risks and Other Considerations
Ordinarily, taking Goron Tula does no harm. If anything, you stand to reap the many benefits that have earlier been highlighted. However, some conditions could make you vulnerable to the harmful side effects of Goron tula. Such conditions include:
Drug use in pregnancy is highly regulated. This is to protect you and your baby from chemicals that can harm you, your baby, or both of you. Goron Tula contains many chemical compounds that are potentially harmful in pregnancy.
For instance, a study has demonstrated that alkaloids that can be found in Goron Tula can induce abortion during the early stages of pregnancy or suppress the production of hormones needed to maintain the pregnancy. The baby, too, can come out with birth defects or may not make it through the pregnancy at all.
Therefore, the use of Goron Tula is not recommended during pregnancy. If you must take it, be sure to consult your physician so that you can know the quantity that is safe for you and your baby.
In Nigeria, the quality of the processing of Goron Tula is not assured. Commercial products of the plant are processed in settings that are not well monitored or regulated by standard agencies. Microorganisms in the air, water, and soil, and those from the sellers can contaminate Goron Tula, while harmful chemicals may be incorporated into the plants via their use as herbicides. Heavy metals in the soil can also find their way into Goron Tula to make it unsafe for users.
Use with other drugs
Some users take Goron Tula along with orthodox medications or even with other herbal medicines. While this may seem harmless, you should be wary of drug-herb interactions.
Goron Tula contains chemicals that can interfere with the activity of some drugs if used together. These drugs may contain chemicals that are in the same class as Goron Tula or similar to it in structure.
When used together, the drug and Goron Tula could interact positively to improve your health, or they could combine to hurt you. You need to watch out for them or consult your physician if you are in doubt.
Where did get you your last Goron Tula from? Chances are that you didn’t get it from a pharmacy. This is because the production, sale, and usage of Goron Tula is mainly done within the informal sector.
Many of those who produce and sell Goron Tula do not have formal training in medicine or pharmacy, so they rely on their ‘experiences’ to prescribe doses for you. In the absence of scientific standards to guide dosing and use, you are liable to abuse or misuse Goron Tula, and thereby expose yourself to its side effects.
People that are very sensitive to Goron Tula or its components may react adversely to the product. This reaction may be as mild as rashes, vomiting, or abdominal comfort, or could be as serious as kidney damage or liver disease.
Check out the product to see if you react to any known component of Goron tula. If you do, it may be safer to avoid it and find a suitable alternative.
Goron Tula as a plant or herbal medicine has the potential to provide a variety of health benefits. In exploiting these benefits, you should be wary of its possible side effects and the conditions that make you vulnerable to them. Doing this will keep you on the good side of the plant and ensure that you stay healthy for as long as possible.
- Matsuura H.N., Fett-Neto A.G. (2017) Plant Alkaloids: Main Features, Toxicity, and Mechanisms of Action. In: Gopalakrishnakone P., Carlini C., Ligabue-Braun R. (eds) Plant Toxins. Toxinology. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6464-4_2
- Yakubu, M. T., & Musa, I. F. (2012). Effects of post-coital administration of alkaloids from Senna alata (Linn. Roxb) leaves on some fetal and maternal outcomes of pregnant rats. Journal of reproduction & infertility, 13(4), 211.