As the name implies, bitter leaf is a bitter herb/plant that it extracts, barks, and stems are used for culinary, and medical purposes. The leaf which is scientifically known as Vermonia Amygadalina, according to medical practitioners, has quite a number of benefits people should take advantage of.
Also known as onugbo by the Igbos, , shawaka by the Hausas, and ewuro by the Yorubas, the indegineous African species can be found growing wide along the edges of the agriculture field.
Interestingly, this leaf can grow and flourish anywhere, under any temperature. Medical researchers have proven bitter leaf to contain medicinal properties, which range from antimicrobial to decorative. More so, the herb contains the following nutrients:
- Ascorbic acid
It is pertinent to note that the aforementioned medical values can be of great benefit to people of different ailments, when cooked for consumption or when a juice is made out of it for drinking.
The things bitter leaf works for
According to Dr Sanusi Idowu of Prince and Princess Hospital, “bitterleaf is a natural gift from God just like honey, with high medicinal properties and some of its benefits, are, its ability to aid up metabolism in order to help one loose weight as a result of nutrients like zinc, iron, fiber, carbohydrate contained in it.”
Idowu said he always advise his patients with diabetes and piles to take a glass of bitter leaf water, at least once everyday.
The doctor explained that applying bitter leaf juice to a part of one’s skin that is affected by rashes, eczema, ringworm or any other skin disease can be more effective than applying other things that can bring reactions to the body or make the affected part get worse instead of being cured.
Consumption of bitter leaf on a daily basis can help one in reducing his/her high sugar level, making it moderate, and also repair his/her pancreas. It also helps one’s glucose content to be moderate.
Regular intake of bitter leaf helps to regulate the blood cholesterol level, which is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Similarly, the leaf can be consumed to treat fever, feverish conditions, joint aches, different levels of intestinal complaints, stomach aches, as well as a parasite-induced diseases like malaria.
As far as skin nourishment is concerned, bitter leaf helps in the buildup of the body, and at the same time, serve as cleaner, and toner for the uterus.
Also, amongst the many things bitter leaf works for, is protecting one against leech that transmits bilharziasis.
Can traditional medicine in Africa guarantee economic reliefs?
It is of common knowledge that the use of medicinal plants, including bitter leaf, as a fundamental component of the African traditional healthcare system is the oldest of all therapeutic healthcare systems. In many parts of rural Africa, traditional healers prescribing medicinal plants are the most easily accessible and affordable health resource available to the local community and at times the only therapy that subsists.
For instance, at a time of distress that the whole world is battling a pandemic, African countries can leverage on their herbal resources to make earnings. Just like Madagascar demanded over N78 million from Nigeria, for the supply of coronavirus cure, other African countries can also cash in from sales of herbs.