Bitter leaf (Vernonia Amygdalina), is an African vegetable that can grow anywhere in the world. It is very common in most communities in Africa.
In Nigeria, it is named differently by different ethnic groups. The Ibos call it Onugbu, Yoruba (Ewuro), Hausa (Shiwaka) and in Cameroon is called Ndoleh.
Its distinct feature is the bitterness of its roots, bark, stems and leaves. The vegetable is an ingredient for the preparation of two popular African cuisines Egusi and Onug bu soup that is served in many Hotels and eateries around the world.
I remember a trip to London in 2006; at a restaurant in central London, I was served Egusi soup with bitter leaf and semovita . It was very delicious and I was impressed with the soup and the chafe.
The leaf is very bitter as well as sweet, Kind of confusing right.) Yes, when you take the leaf is bitter but when you drink water after eating, your mouth kind of taste sweet. You really need to experience this to understand what am talking about. Ok, let’s proceed.
The leaf has been a very important herb in traditional African medicine as Antimicrobial, Antimalarial, Anticancer and as a laxative.
Research published by African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 8 (18) 2009 and Greener Journal of Agricultural sciences Vol. 3 (3) 2013, shows that bitter leaf contains the following chemical and nutritional compositions.
• , Chromium
• , Manganese
• , Selenium
• . Iron
• , Copper
• , Zinc
• , Tannins
• , Polyphenol
• , Alkaloids
• , HCN
• , Riboflavin,
• , Oxalates
• Crude protein
• , Fibre,
• , Fat
• , Ash
• , Moisture ,
• A, E, C, B1, B2
Essential Amino acids
• Leucine Isoleucine,
• , Phenyl alanine,
• , Histidine,
This vegetable is rally loaded of mineral and nutritional constituents essential for the body growth and maintenance.
This vegetable is indeed a wonder leaf as it is applied in several herbal remedies for the treatment of diseases. Below are some of the herbal remedies:
• As antitoxin – Bitter leaf is very good in shielding you against the impact of toxic emissions from a car, motor bike, Generator pollution for those l iving in the third world that are still battling with having constant power and smoking.
• Detox – it helps in the metabolic process and help detox the system. A Cup of the juice daily is a healthy way to detox your system and help you take care of issues like constipation, pile, insomnia and malaria which kills more people in Africa than HIDS.
• Care of the Liver and Kidney – It cares for the liver and kidney, two essential organs in our body. When these two organs are in good shape and functioning well, it effects positively on the other parts as well.
• Diabetes– This can be partly linked to the above. Studies have shown that bitter leaf extract possesses Ant diabetic, Anti-hyperglycemic, and Anti-hypoglycemic effects.
With the availability of other chemicals and nutrients act against diabetes and also help with the repair of the pancreas gland. For diabetic patients, a glass of bitter leaf juice 3 timely daily will help reduce blood sugar and help cure diabetes with the adjustment of other lifestyle changes.
• Skin diseases –skin diseases like Eczema, Ringworm, Warts, Roseola etc. can be cleared off with the intake of bitter leaf juice and applying a squeezed paste of bitter leaf on the affected area.
• Arthritis and Rheumatism – It is very good in treating both ailments. The juice, when taken, helps to sooth swollen joints and pains resulting from inflammation of the body area.
• Cancer – It lowers the risk of breast cancer according to studies published in Experimental Biology and Medicine of February 2004 Edition
• Helps Clotting– It is also used in an emergency to stop blood flow in a situation of mild cuts.
• Cardiovascular Health – Research shows that its extract decreased bad cholesterol by nearly half and increased the good cholesterol. It also contains essentially fatty acids – linolenic and linoleic, which studies show that large quantities of this two acids bring people at the lowest risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
How to Use Bitter Leaf.
The major way to use this vegetable to get an appropriate result is by juicing. The vegetable can also be taken raw or use as vegetable added in soup. It can be taken fresh or dried, to preserve it longer for use.
How To Extract The Juice From The Leaf.
The process is very simple. You can either
1. Squeeze the bunch of the bitter leaves or
2. Blend it.
Items to use.
2. Bunch of bitter leaves weighting – 50g
3. A bottle of 50cl water
1. Wash your plugged leaves well severally with clean water.
2. Add into the blender and blend thoroughly
3. Pour the content into a sieve and separate the juice from the remaining leaf particles.
4. Pour the juice in a drinking glass…..ready to serve.
The Juice is very bitter however to sweeten the taste you can as well blend it together with orange or pineapple to give it a less bitter taste.
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