Benefits of bitter leaf (Vernonia Amygdalina)
Bitter leaf just like the name implies is a vegetable well known for its bitter taste. It is mostly used in the preparation of onugbu and egusi soup by the igbos in the eastern part of Nigeria . It is known by different names in different parts of Nigeria. The igbos call it onugbu, Ibibio call it etidot, Edo state call it oriwo, Hausa tribe call it chusar-doki, Yoruba call it ewuro.
Bitter leaf is a small shrub that grows in tropical Africa and is known botanically as Vernonia Amygdalina. Its bitterness is as a result of anti-nutritional factors such as glycoside, saponins, alkaloids and tannins. globalfoodbook.com
Bitter leaf has medicinal values and has been used effectively in the treatment of various ailments.
Health benefits of bitter leaf
1. Treatment of Diabetes
Bitter leaf can be used to reduce blood sugar levels. It can be used by diabetic patient lower high sugar levels. it also repairs the impaired pancreas. Pancreas is an organ that produces insulin
2. Fever reduction
Juice Extracted from bitter leaf can be used to treat feverish condition and cold. According to drhealthbenefits.com, the juice contains andrographolide lactones, glucosides, diterpene,and flavonoids which serve to reduce Fever
3. Aids Detoxification
Bitter-leaf can be very helpful in maintaining optimum health of the liver and the kidney. The liver releases bile acid every time people eat fatty foods while the kidney ensures proper elimination of waste product of of digestion from the body.
4. Treatment of skin disorders
It is useful for treating skin disorders like ringworm, eczema ,rashes and other diseases. Just squeeze the fresh leaves on your palm and apply the juice on the affected body part. This will clear them in a few days . The juice should not be applied on open wound.
5. Treats Stomach disorder
Bitter leaf extract can be used to treat gastrointestinal disorders like dysentery, diarrhea and cholera.
6. Lowers cholesterol levels
Studies have shown that bitter leaf has the ability to reduce bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol
7. Arthritis Cure
Okoli et al. in 2007, revealed that bitter leaves extracts has a calming impact on the nerves thus can be used for eradicating joint pains associated with rheumatism and arthritis. It can also be used for strengthening the muscles and maintaining healthy and strong bones.
8. Reliefs toothache
The antimicrobial activities of bitter leaf makes it useful in the treatment of toothache. According to Wikipedia, The roots ofV. amygdalina have been used for gingivitis and toothache due to its proven antimicrobial activity.
9. Treatment of malaria
Vernonia Amygdalina has anti malaria properties. It contains a natural substances that act as a substitute for quinine the active ingredient for malaria drugs. Hence it can be used to treat malaria.
10. Prevent cancer.
Aqueous extract from bitter leaf can be used in the treatment of cancer. It has been found to slow cancer growth and kill cancerous cells. Gresham et. al. (2008), reported that because this plant contains active compounds that inhibit aromatase activities, it is thus very effective for treating breast cancer.
11. Treats insomnia
It helps to cure sleeplessness .
12. Enhance vitality
V. Amygdalina increases endurance in people. If you are weak and lack the energy to function, taking juice extract from bitter leaf will give you a new lease of strength.
13. Fertility boost
Barren women and those trying to conceive are encouraged to take bitter leaf extracts as it contains substances that induce fertility. The leaf contains carotene, which helps to balance the synthesis of female sex hormones thereby helping women to remain healthy and strong. globalfoodbook.com
14. Treatment of Hepatitis B and C
Muaya 2013, stated that Nigerian researchers have in clinical trials demonstrated how poly herbal preparations made predominantly with bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) provide cure for chronic form of hepatitis B and C co-infection, cancer, type 2 diabetes and tuberculosis.
15. Treatment of tuberculosis
Aqueous extract from bitter leaf can be used for the treatment of tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is disease caused by an infection of the upper respiratory tract the lung. It’s s caused by a bacterium, tuberculosis bacillus.
How to prepare bitter leaf extract.
Bitter leaf extract is prepared traditionally by washing with water and squeezing out the juice from the leaves . Alternatively a juicer can be used to blend the leaves with a little water, in a blender. The juice obtained is sieved using a cheese cloth, coffee strainer or a sieve with I tight mesh.
1. Okoli, R.I., Aigbe, O., Ohafu-Obode, J.O. and Mensah, J.K. (2007). Medicinal herbs used for managing some Common ailments among Esan people Edo State, Nigeria. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 6(5):470-485.
3. Muaya, C. (2013), Bitter leaf-based extracts cures hepatitis co-inferation and others, the Guardian Newspaper, July,
4. Gresham, L. J., Ross1, J. and Izevbigie E. B. (2008), Vernonia amygdalina: Anticancer Activity, Authentication, and Adulteration Detection, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 5(5) pp. 342-345.
6. www. Globalfoodbook.com