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It is sold by many Hausa traders in major cities across Nigeria, especially in areas with heavy traffic. Funny enough, these “abokis” are patronised by many high society ladies who buy it for their partners. Men also patronise them and keep these aphrodisiac hawkers in business.
In Lagos for example, burantashi and other aphrodisiacs are hawked near big malls and at almost all the petrol filling stations, cinemas, hotels, street corners, post offices within the metropolis.
Some call it Hausa Viagra or Hausa paraga because they claim it helps them to last longer in bed, relieves impotence in men, cures erectile dysfunction and weak erection, brings sexual satisfaction and is a good cure for low sperm count. And it is natural, so with less side effects.
Now, researchers at the University of Benin, Benin City, say although it enhances sexual performance, it could have a negative impact on the quality of sperm produced.
Test in animals showed that although burantashi does not affect sperm concentration and motility, its continuous usage, can increase the number of abnormal sperm per ejaculate and as such may also pose a threat on fertility.
Derived from the bark of the African tree Pausinystalia johimbe (Yohimbe in English), burantashi reputed as a herbal aphrodisiac or sex enhancer is called agbo idagbon in Yoruba. It is also sprinkled on suya, a peppery beef barbecue.
The burantashi tree was nicknamed “love tree” and the bark extract was inserted into delicious little candies. These “love candies” as they were appropriately named, were a popular gift among European lovers.
Apart from its aphrodisiac properties, it is also used to treat fever, cough, exhaustion or as an energy booster, chest pain, skin disorders and inflammations.
Burantashi is also used as a mild stimulant to prevent drowsiness, a general tonic, a remedy to increase the clarity of the voices of singers during long festivals and as a treatment to increase the resilience of hunting dogs.
The researchers in the 2020 edition of the journal, Acta Scientific Pharmaceutical Sciences, had studied the impact of burantashi on the structure of the sperm in adult male Wister rats and mice.
For the study, 54 male Wister rats broken down into six rats in each group with the control group as a model of comparison. Burantashi was administered orally to the rats at 200mg and 400mg concentrations for 14 days, 28 days and 48 days respectively.
Afterwards, the rats were killed and their sperms extracted and assessed for any possible abnormalities in their structure.
Noticeable significant changes in the sperm were observed with 200mg and 400mg of day 14, 28 and 48 even as the concentration and dose of burantashi used increased.
The abnormal changes ranged from headless, tailless, short tail, big head and double tail sperm cells. However, headless and tailless sperms occurred more.
They declared, “The fact that burantashi enhances sexual performance doesn’t mean it does not have any effect on the sperm cell quality as observed in this study.”
Due to the widespread usage of burantashi amongst the males in Nigeria, there seems to be a connection between its usage and infertility, as some studies portend its usage and the link with infertility and sperm cell quality amongst sexually active males.
In comparison with previous studies, the researchers said that although burantashi may not affect the sperm cell concentration and motility at a short exposure, its prolonged use and at high doses causes extensive damage to the sperm’s structure.
Conversely, in another study, researchers suggested that indiscriminate consumption of burantashi for a long duration is able to cause liver damage.
In 2014, the researchers in the Nigerian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology had examined the effects of burantashi on the liver of albino rats at varying concentrations. They found that it caused impaired liver function with increased amount used.