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Gongronema latifolium is the botanical name for a local leaf/herb called utazi by the Eastern part (Igbo/Ibo) of Nigeria. The Western part of Nigeria call this leaf arokeke and it is a tropical rainforest plant mainly used as vegetable, medicine or spice by the people.
Benefits of Gongronema latifolium (Utazi) ” is a must read!
1.The utazi roots can be decocted and mixed with other medicinal plants for the treatment of sickle cell anemia.
2. Infused utazi leaves can be used as a home remedy for dysentery and intestinal worms.
3. The leaves when chewed raw or infused with hot water can act as a fast relief for catarrh, congested chest, running nose and cough.
4. History records that Ghanaian and Senegalese squeeze the utazi leaves and use it to massage the joints of children with difficulty in walking and this practice helps those young children to start walking.
5. Lactating mothers can use utazi to control their body weight as well as maintain a healthy body system.
6. The utazi leaves can be macerated in alcohol and used for the treatment of viral hepatitis and bilharzia.
7. The utazi fruits can be used to cook soup, which can be eaten as a laxative.
8. Researchers agree that the decoction of the utazi leaves or stems can be beneficial in treating high blood pressure and diabetes.
9.Infused utazi leaves are very helpful in treating malaria.
10. The utazi latex from the fruits can be applied on the teeth that are affected by caries.
11. Sierra Leone infuses the utazi stems with lime juice before drinking it and this acts as a purgative to treat stomach ache and colic.
12. People suffering from asthma can chew utazi leaves or macerated roots to help relieve them from wheezing.
Other Benefits of Gongronema latifolium leaves (Utazi)
Gongronema latifolium (Utazi) belongs to the class of medicinal plants that are beneficial in preventing and treating certain diseases and ailments that are detrimental to human health. Gongronema latifolium leaf, which can be chewed, infused or used for cooking is mainly used in the Western part of Africa for nutritional and medicinal reasons.
Utazi plant is highly medicinal in nature, which suggests why its health benefits cannot be overemphasized. Researchers agree that the fundamental ingredients used for medicinal purposes are stored in the various parts of the utazi plant such as; the fruits, seeds, leaves, root and bark.
The vital medicinal ingredients stored in the various parts of the utazi leaf can be extracted either through blending the fresh leaves, chewing the utazi seeds, leaves or fruits, infusing either the dry or fresh utazi leaves and decoction. However, these various methods of preparing and using utazi leaves for medicinal purposes mainly depends on the part of the utazi plant where the active medicinal ingredients are present.
For example, the utazi roots cannot be chewed rather has to undergo decoction, the leaves can be infused with hot water and allowed to cool down before drinking while the fresh utazi leaves can be chewed.
Nutritionally, (utazi) is an excellent source of protein and past studies show that (utazi) leaves are suitable for use in food production due to its high amino acid contents.
They are bitter-sweet in taste and often used as a local spice and vegetable for food preparations such as; abacha, nkwobi, unripe plantain porridge, ugba, local soups such as nsala (white soup), sauces, salads and isiewu.
Gongronema latifolium is the botanical name for a local leaf/herb called utazi by the Eastern part (Igbo/Ibo) of Nigeria. The Western part of Nigeria call this leaf harakeke and it is a tropical rainforest plant mainly used as vegetable, medicine or spice by the people.