Bitter herbal drinks for pile and aphrodisiac and other related ailments from Nigeria have found their way into the South African market and the coast is enlarging.
Researches revealed that South Africans for about 20% of the customers of these herbal drinks.
Vendors in Randburg, Central Johannesburg and Veereniging confirm that many South Africans love the drinks.
“I never thought South Africans would love it because it is very bitter. But they it a lot now”, says a vendor in Vereeniging.
Primarily, patrons of these herbal drinks with street name such as Alomo Bitters, Orijin Bitters, Opa Eyin, Ogidiga, Action Bitters, Wiper Bitters, Edges Bitters, Agbara Bitters, Osomo Bitters, Scoogies, Ibile Bitters, Agra Appiah Bitters, paraga, Opa eyin, jedi jedi were Nigerians but ‘testimonies’ of the efficacy of these bitter herbal mixtures attracted South Africans and other African nationals in South Africa.
Investigations, however, reveal that core motivation for these drinks, according to the sellers and buyers is that most men believe that they increase their libido level.
A few South African women have bought them for their partner and few South African men and other African men buy for themselves.
Report from a hawker in Vanderbijlpark reveals that the market in that area is now primarily for South Africans. The hawker who preferred anonymity elatedly reveals to nigeriansinsouthafrica.co.za that: “I’m happier now. South Africans are the ones buying. They buy more than Nigerians”.
Patrons and passers bye around Randburg Central Business District (CBD) confirm that there is a hawker there who is doing well with a good number of South African customers.
Odunayo Johnson, a Nigerian journalist attests to the above testimony but says the majority of those who do business in South Africa are quacks.
In Nigeria, the main drink that popularised herbal bitter drink in Nigeria was the Swedish Bitters, followed by the German Bitters. Both were essentially a combination of bitter, sour or bittersweet flavored herbs prepared by using an alcoholic beverage.
Swedish Bitters originally were developed for medicinal, digestive and flavouring purposes. Manufacturers promoted and sold the bitters as a medical cure. The flavoring bitters are usually added to different alcoholic drinks and cocktails generally to add different flavors to a drink.
Consumers then also took the bitters for its ability to calm upset stomach and nausea, increase absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They also claim that the consumption of the bitters also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, balance appetite and much more.