Alabukun is one of those products in Nigeria that have been around since forever.
The Alabukun powder is like St. Louis sugar, a product deep in Nigeria’s pop culture. Without any advert or commercial, Alabukun remains insanely popular among generations in Nigeria. It has remained relevant through the years and it is very much a household name.
The medicinal powder which is cheap was discovered by a man called Jacob Sogboyega Odulate. Jacob was from a polygamous family of Pa Odulate, Jacob Odulate was born at Ikorodu, Lagos state in 1884. His maternal grandfather was Chief Aina Odukanmade, the first Mosene, whose father hailed from the Senlu branch of the Ranodu royal family of Imota, a town near Ikorodu. When he was 14 years old he left his father’s house at Ikorodu to Abeokuta, Ogun State in which he trekked for 3 months to get to his destination. While at Abeokuta, he met a pharmacist named Dr. Sapara under whom he got the basic knowledge of curative products.
As a young man, Jacob established his own manufacturing company called Alabukun where he produced all sort of patents drugs.
It was in 1918 (a year of intense British colonization), on an evening at his modest, but cherished “headquarters” in Sapon in Abeokuta where he had built his company headquarters which is a combination of place of work, office, consulting room and a laboratory workshop. He managed to invent the Alabukun brand on that particular day with assistance from his wife and children. he was also able to produce other brands like Alabukun Mentholine and an annual journal called Alabukun Almanac which was widely distributed in Abeokuta and environs between 1920-1950.
While producing it, most of its ingredients were gotten from Liverpool in United Kingdom. Alabukun Powder contains acetylsalicylic acid and caffeine as its active ingredients. A packet contains 760 mg of acetylsalicylic acid and 60 mg of caffeine making a total of 820 mg. It is used for host of other things which include migraine, toothache, sore throat, prevention of blood clots, neuralgias, myocardial infarction, transluminal angioplasty and ischaemic attacks. The pharmacodynamics of Alabukun powder show that it functions by preventing the production of platelet aggregation and inhibits adenosine in the body. These functions reduce pain and allows the user to breath better by stimulating the brain and the heart. Its possible side effects if not properly use include: swelling due to fluid accumulation, asthma, vomiting, nausea and vertigo.
For 100 years, the brand has remained relevant selling in all parts of Nigeria, Benin republic, Cameroon, Ghana and some parts of Europe.
The success of Odulate’s drug is down to the fact that it is a mix of European and traditional medicine. Throughout its 10 decades of existence, Alabukun has never been advertised but it is still very much in demand.
One reason why Alabukun was not advertised was because of its ingredients. It would have made it impossible for it to be in commercials. Pharmacists would have forced the drug out of business.
Another reason for Alabukun not having commercials was because it was wildly popular when it came out. There was a huge demand from consumers.
This year, Alabukun is 100 years old. No Nigerian product comes to mind that is a century old and still relevant!