Efo Iyana Ipaja goes by many names, Chaya, miracle plant, hospital too far, among others, are the names it is commonly called in Nigeria. However, it is scientifically known as Jatropha tanjorensis. Efo Iyana Ipaja gets its name, Hospital too far, due to its usefulness in treating many diseases. It is said that it can cure up to 100 diseases.
It is a plant that is abundant in phytochemicals, which have medicinal properties, and most popular among them is the antidiabetic property. Although Jatropha tanjorensis is a commonly consumed vegetable, especially in the southern part of Nigeria, it should not be consumed raw. It contains hydrocyanic acid, which is toxic to humans.
In this article, you will get information on the health benefits you stand to gain from constantly consuming efo Iyana Ipaja, either as a vegetable or squeezing its juice for consumption.
Nutritional Value of Efo Iyana Ipaja
Every medicinal plant has a combination of nutrients and phytochemicals that make them useful in combating illnesses. Efo Iyana Ipaja is no exception to this combination. It is high in water, contains some minerals, and is high in protein – more than some grains and tubers.
It has a high value for fiber, minerals, and fats, and oils, which are beneficial to the functioning of the cells and tissues in the body. It is also relatively high in some vitamins, such as vitamin A, B1, and C. However, there is no presence of vitamin E detected in it through research. Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Sodium, Potassium, and Molybdenum, are some of the most abundant minerals in efo Iyana Ipaja. It is, however, low in moisture and carbohydrates, making it suitable for diabetic patients, especially those struggling with weight management.
Efo Iyana Ipaja also contains phytochemicals such as Alkaloids, Saponins, Phenols, Cyanide, Oxalate, and Phytate. Although most of these phytochemicals are beneficial and have medicinal properties, cyanide is a dangerous phytochemical that may cause health hazards to its consumers. For this reason, it is best to avoid the consumption of raw efo Iyana Ipaja leaves.
Health Benefits of Efo Iyana Ipaja
From the array of nutrients and phytochemicals Jatropha tanjorensis, also called efo Iyana Ipaja, has, there are numerous health benefits attached to its regular consumption. It has been used to address many health issues for a long time and with the researches going into the veracity of the claims attached to its consumption and medicinal importance, its popularity is increasing.
Here are some of the common health benefits you stand to gain from eating efo Iyana Ipaja.
Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections
Jatropha tanjorensis extracts have been tested against microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Mycobacterium pheli, and Escherichia coli, among others, and it has been found to effectively work against the continued growth and presence of these microbes.
The presence of the phytochemicals, such as saponin, alkaloid, and phenols, helps to inhibit the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, which are the leading causative agents of urinary tract infections. This makes efo Iyana Ipaja a good dietary medicine for combating these microbes.
Use as Antimalarial
Malaria is caused by the pathogen, Plasmodium falciparum, and it is commonly treated with medications, such as chloroquine. However, there are herbal medications that are effective against the causative pathogen of malaria, one of them is efo Iyana Ipaja, otherwise called Jatropha tanjorensis.
Compared to chloroquine, the ethanol extract of efo Iyana Ipaja inhibits the growth of plasmodium by 50%. This is due to the presence of phytochemicals that gives antioxidant effects to the body cells, getting rid of oxidative stress caused by the pathogen.
Treats Cardiovascular Diseases
Efo Iyana Ipaja is rich in vitamin A and has some level of Vitamin B. it is also rich in minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, that are essential for muscular action regulation. The cardiovascular health of an individual that regularly consumes efo Iyana Ipaja improves tremendously because of the hypolipidemic activities of the leaves’ content.
Efo Iyana Ipaja is a popular recommendation to curb cardiovascular issues in the western part of Nigeria as it helps to significantly reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the heart and the tissues surrounding it.
Helps with Weight loss and management
Jatropha tanjorensis is high in crude fiber, low in carbohydrates and water, and loaded with minerals. It will, therefore, help its consumers feel full faster and longer, while they have consumed little calories. It helps to avoid the development of water weight, which makes one look and feel bloated.
The high fiber content and low water content combine to make it an effective tool for weight loss and weight management, especially for people with cardiovascular issues and diabetic patients.
Improves Blood volume and Circulation
Efo Iyana Ipaja is abundant in Iron. It, therefore, contributes to the volume of blood an individual has in his body. Consequently, it is an effective plant medication against anemia.
The abundance of iron in efo Iyana Ipaja makes it good for consumption during times of immense Iron supplementation need, such as pregnancy and menstruation, as it helps to increase the amount of hemoglobin, and consequently, the red blood cells in the blood.
The higher the hemoglobin and red blood cells in the body, the more efficient energy production is and the better the appearance of efo Iyana Ipaja’s consumer.
Aids in Controlling Blood Sugar Level
The high blood sugar level is controlled and brought to normal by the secretion and action of insulin into the bloodstream. However, in diabetic individuals, the body may have built resistance to the efficacy of insulin or it does not produce enough insulin. Regardless of what the case may be, efo Iyana Ipaja can help.
With its high fiber content and low carbohydrate level, diabetic patients can consume it in large quantities with a minimal spike in their blood sugar level. Therefore, in the absence of insulin or inefficacy of the hormone, they run no risk of going into health concerns attached to diabetes.
Jatropha tanjorensis is high in Vitamin A. it is, therefore a good dietary choice for improving eye health and vision. It is especially a good inclusion in diets for senior citizens, as their eye muscles and strength have diminished.
Also, because of its antioxidant properties, it helps to remove oxidative wastes from optical cells, making them function better.
Works as an anti-inflammatory medication
Inflammation of different tissues and organs of the body is a symptom of different health concerns. Efo Iyana Ipaja, due to its phytochemicals, helps to reduce inflammation, making it suitable as a medication against arthritis and other health conditions that cause inflammation of tissues.
The leaf may be macerated to extract the juice and rub it on the affected area.
Improves Libido and Fertility
In local medicine, efo Iyana Ipaja is commonly used to improve fertility in men and women. It is recommended to women to help them regulate ovulation. However, for men, it is eaten to improve the health and quality of the sperm cells and help to achieve a better and long-lasting erection.
This is due to its low carbohydrate level, and efficacy in reducing the amount of cholesterol in the body, making cardiovascular activities, such as sex, easier.
Helps to prevent constipation
The high fiber content helps to make bowel movement easier. With it, there is no risk of constipation as probiotics present in the stomach and supplied by the vegetable helps to move the food material along easily and quickly.
Efo Iyana Ipaja is a common vegetable gotten from a shrub that is found in many tropical countries around the world. it is easy to find in the southern part of Nigeria and has so many health benefits, making it useful as a medicinal plant.
Health benefits derived from efo Iyana Ipaja include better eyesight, anemia treatment, urinary tract infection treatment, among others.