15 Amazing Medicinal Benefits of Utazi (Gongronema Latifolium)
Utazi (Gongronema latifolium ) just like other tropical plants is highly medicinal and has been used over the years traditionally in the treatment of various ailments and diseases. With the recent increase in cases of deadly diseases, it is very important that one should have a good understanding of the chemical composition of the food we eat.
The need to widen raw material base of agro-allied industry and the current shift away from the use of synthetic chemicals in food processing necessitate a further evaluation of widely available but underutilised tropical medicinal plants like G. latifolium.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
G. latifolium is a perennial edible shrub of the family, Asclepiadaceae widely employed in Nigeria for various medicinal and nutritional purposes (Ugochukwu et al.2003; . It is cultivated mostly in West African countries such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Senegal, etc. In the southern part of Nigeria were it is commonly grown it is known as Utazi by the igbos, the Yoruba’s call it arokeke, Efik and Ibibio call it Urasi.
Gongronema latifolium has a characteristics sharp, bitter and slightly sweet taste, especially when eaten fresh. It is used in preparing local delicacies such as nkwobi, isi ewu, abacha, ugba, plantain porridge and soup. The parts commonly used are leaves, stem and root.
G. Latifolium contains essential oils, glycoside, alkaloids, saponins and tannin, various minerals, vitamins and some essential amino acids.
Studies has shown that the whole plant exhibits the following herbal actions- analgesic, antitumor, broad spectrum antimicrobial (antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic and antiviral), antipyretic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, anti-sickling, anti-asthmatic, mild expectorant, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, hepatoprotective, digestive tonic and laxative properties.guardian.ng
Medicinal benefits of Utazi (Gongronema latifolium)
Utazi leaf can be used to relieve pain caused by bruises, cuts, inflammation, rashes etc. A paste of the leaf should be made and applied to the affected area. (external application). Also aqueous extract of the leaf can be taken to provide relief from internal pain.
2. Kills bacteria
According to Eleyinmi (2007) the methanol extracts of G. Latifolium show activity against S. aureus, L.monocytogenes, S. enteritidis, P. aeruginosa and S. Cholerasius ser typhimurium.
3. Management of diabetes
Gongronema Latifolium is good for management of diabetes because its useful in maintaining healthy blood glucose level. In a small clinical trial, the blood glucose concentration of healthy humans was determined after consumption of the leaves, and it showed a significant reduction in blood glucose level. prota4u.org
4. Anti-sickling agent
A decoction of the roots, combined with other plant species is taken to treat sickle cell anaemia. breaking.com.ng
5. Antioxidant potential.
Preliminary works and other reports show the presence of saponins and flavonoids which had been shown to possess antioxidant and antimicrobial properties (Morebise and Fafunso, 1998; Hernández et al., 2000)
6. Prevents cancer
The antioxidant property of Utazi makes a useful tool for treating cancer. The antioxidant protects the body by acting as free radical scavengers. G. latifolium leaf extracts were reported by
Iweala et al. to exhibit strong inhibitory activity against human lung carcinoma and human breast adenocarcinoma in vitro.
7. Anti-ashmatic property
Sonibare M.A. and Z.O Gbile (2008) reported that Gongronema Latifolium has anti-ashmatic potential. Asthmatic patients can chew the fresh leaves of G.latifolium to relieve wheezing while a cold maceration of the roots of the plant can be consumed as treatment for asthma.
8. Anti inflammatory properties
G. Latifolium used for treating inflammation such as arthritis, muscular pain and orchitis. To test for possible anti-inflammatory property of the plant in chronic inflammatory conditions, arthritis was induced in experimental rats and G.latifolium extracts were found to significantly and dose-dependently inhibit the arthritis formation. morebise et al
9. Help prevent ulcer,
Nwinyi O.C et al (2008), reported that The stem bark extract of Gongronema Latifolium has equally been reported to have anti-ulcerative property.
10. Treatment of malaria
Aqueous extract from Utazi leaf can be used to treat malaria. Akuodor G.C. et al (2010) reports that Gongronema Latifolium has antiplasmodal activity, this supports the traditional use of the leaf extract of the plant for local treatment of malaria.
11. Cough and phlegm laxative
Essien et al. reported that G. latifolium is used to treat cough in Nigeria. The leaves when chewed raw or infused with hot water can act as a fast relief for catarrh, congested chest, running nose and cough. globalfoodbook.com
12. Post natal care
G. latifolium can be used to cleanse the womb and treat abdominal pain after childbirth. Lactating mothers can use utazi to control their body weight as well as maintain a healthy body system.
13. Protects the liver
Utazi leaves can promote the detoxification actions of the liver. It can be macerated in alcohol and used for the treatment of viral hepatitis and bilharzia. It can be used to prevent drunkenness because it neutralises the intoxicating properties of alcohol and its harmful effects on the liver.
14. Lowers cholesterol
An ethanolic leaf extract possessed significant anti-lipid peroxidative activities.prota4u.org
15. Aids digestion
Utazi leaves aids digestion by stimulating the digestive system. It stimulates the flow of bile and increase appetite for food. Juice extracted from Utazi leaves can used in the home treatment of sore gums, colic, dyspepsia,loss of appetite, stomach ache, constipation,dysentery and intestinal worms.
African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines Vol. 5, No 4 pp 340-345
Akuodor G.C. et al (2010), Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Vol 2(3): 118-124
Essien JP, Ebong GA, Akpan EJ.
Antioxidant and antitussive properties of
Gongronema latifolium leaves used locally for the treatment of fowl cough in Nigeria. JAppl Sci Environ Manage. 2007;11(4):47-50
Eleyinmi A. (2007) , Journal of Zhejiang University Science Vol. 8(5): 352-358
Morebise O, Fafunso MA. Antimicrobial and phytotoxic activities of saponin extracts from two Nigerian edible medicinal plants. Biokemistri. 1998;8(2):69–77.
Nwinyi O.C et al (2008) in the Journal of Medicinal Plant research Vol. 2(8): 189-192
Ugochukwu NH, Babady NE, Cobourne MK, Gasset SR (2003). The Effect of Gongronema latifolium Extracts on Serum Lipid Profile and Oxidative Stress in Hepatocytes of Diabetic Rats. J. Biosci. 28(1):1-5. Upadhyay OP, Singh RM, Dutta K (1996). Studies on antidiabetic medicinal plants us