In Nigeria's eastern region, the Uziza leaf is a popular leaf. It is a traditional African medicinal plant that has been around for a long time.
Uziza is scientifically known as Piper Guineense. The herb is known in Igbo as Uziza. Piper Guineense is often known as Ashanti pepper or black pepper from West Africa. In Nigeria's eastern region, uziza soup is a popular dish.
Uziza is an African plant that is used in two parts: the leaves and the berries, which are the seeds. The spicy leaves have a peppery taste and are light green while fresh, deeper green when frozen, dried, or powdered and dried.
The leaves are used in soups, either whole or crushed. Fresh leaves are usually cleaned and shredded before use. In North America and food shops, "fresh" leaves are offered frozen, but they are grown in Nigeria.
Uziza (piper guineense) is a flavorful West African spice with therapeutic effects. The plant is a perennial climber that can reach a height of 10 meters or more. Piper guineense leaves add a peppery flavour to soups, while the dried fruits and seeds add an aromatic and spicy flavour to African cuisine.
It is often used by postpartum women in African societies to help reduce the uterus back to its previous size.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF UZIZA LEAVES
Piperine is the active ingredient in uziza that gives it its strong scent and most of its therapeutic properties.
Carbohydrates, lipids, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, sodium, iron, dietary fibre, alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, flavonoids, essential oils, tannins, saponins, phenols, and peptides are all abundant in the seeds and leaves.
The leaves also contain a lot of beta-caryophyllene, an anti-inflammatory compound. It also contains high quantities of myristicin, elemicin, safrole, and dillapiol, as well as a trace amount of apiole, all of which are beneficial to one's health.
The following are some of the health benefits of uziza leaves:
- RELIEVES COLD AND COUGH: Uziza has been used to treat cold and cough symptoms in ancient African medicine. Piperine, an essential oil found in uziza, aids in the relief of congestion and the removal of thick mucus.
In addition, uziza is high in critical nutrients that boost immunity and protect the body from infectious diseases. Simply combine one spoonful of dry ground uziza fruits with two teaspoons of honey in a cup of hot water to make a drink that soothes cold symptoms.
Allow for rest and drink three times per day till all symptoms have disappeared.
- FIGHTS INFECTION: In African traditional medicine, uziza fruits and leaves have long been used to cure microbiological infections. Traditional healers produce an alcohol infusion from fresh leaves or dried fruits to treat bacterial, fungal, and parasite illnesses. The fruit and leaf extract of uziza (P. guineense) were found to have antibacterial and antifungal action against many human diseases in one investigation. Extracts of P. guineense were reported to eliminate roughly 60% of malaria-causing parasites from the blood in another animal investigation.
- PREVENTS CANCER: Piperine, the active ingredient in P. guineense, has been shown in multiple tests to prevent cancer cell proliferation and growth. Piperine, which is found in uziza and other peppers (black pepper), has been reported to help prevent and treat breast cancer in one research. On the other hand, further human research is necessary.
- IMPROVES DIGESTION: Uziza (Piper guineense) leaves are high in fiber, stimulate bowel movement, and relieve constipation. Uziza also has carminative properties, which aid in the reduction of flatulence and gas in the stomach.
- BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL CONTROL: High blood sugar levels are a common symptom of diabetes. When compared to the control group, rats fed glucose had a smaller spike in blood glucose levels, according to one scientific study.
Traditional medicine experts also believe that eating uziza soup on a regular basis can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
- HAS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES: Inflammation is a common cause of diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. In animal models, hexane extracts of P. Guineense showed potent anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2018 study. Meanwhile, a poultice made from dried uziza fruits is administered topically to relieve arthritic pain in traditional medicine.
- PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS: Including uziza in your diet may help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism. Additionally, drinking uziza tea before meals promotes satiety and helps you eat less.
- REDUCES MALE AND FEMALE INFERTILITY: Dried uziza fruit is used as an aphrodisiac in both males and females in African medicine. It improves blood circulation and relaxes the nerves. The leaves, on the other hand, are used to treat fibroids and infertility in women.
- BENEFITS BRAIN HEALTH: Piper guineense has long been used in African traditional medicine to treat seizures and convulsions. This was also proven by scientific studies. In safe levels, aqueous extracts of P. guineense showed long-term anticonvulsant action against animal seizures, according to the study.
- PROMOTES UTERINE CONTRACTION AFTER CHILDBIRTH: Uziza (Piper guineense) is a spice that is added to soups and given to new mothers. It is thought to cleanse the uterus, diminish or shrink the uterus, and increase milk flow.
- CULINARY APPLICATIONS: Uziza has become a mainstay in most African kitchens. It's a versatile ingredient that provides a subtle yet powerful flavour to any recipe. It's perfect for making the following dishes:
Fresh or dried uziza leaves and fruits can be added to beef stock to make "uziza soup." Add palm oil, fish, seasonings, and veggies as garnish. It makes a delectable savory soup that can be served with rice or mashed potatoes.
Uziza tea can be used to treat colds and coughs. Simply put 2 or 3 fresh uziza leaves in a cup of boiling water. Allow for a few minutes of seeping before drinking. To taste, honey may be added to sweeten.
- Season beef, poultry, fish, vegetables, stew, rice, and yam with a dash of dried ground uziza fruit as a garnish.
- SAFETY DURING PREGNANCY: Eating uziza leaves in soups is completely safe during pregnancy, and it is also very nutritious, providing the mother and child with a variety of nutrients.
It aids in the supplementation of essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy. All that is required of the mother is that she consumes the leaves in the recommended and healthy doses or quantities.
- It aids in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems.
- It has a pain-relieving effect.
- It helps with postpartum recovery.
Does Uziza leave have side effects?
Of course, the topic of whether uziza leaves have any adverse effects is frequently asked. There is, but it isn't much. Excessive consumption may result in diarrhoea, stomach discomfort, and heartburn as a side effect. It is not advised for persons who have low blood sugar levels because it may cause hypoglycemia.
Uziza leaves are so beneficial that they can be used for:
- Cough alleviation:
- Preventing constipation:
- Cancer avoidance:
- Treatment for diarrhoea
- Enhancement of fertility
- Remedy for stomach ache
Here's a video of how you can prepare a delicious soup with Uziza leave
Because of their strong medical value, these leaves should be incorporated into our daily meals to help us eat a more balanced diet and as supplements. They are extremely useful to the human body.
According to laboratory tests, the plant parts are very high in antioxidants and chemicals that provide these advantages.
More human research is needed, however, to better understand the precise health advantages of uziza and the precise amounts required to treat certain diseases.
Nonetheless, this fantastic flavour enhancer is worth including in your regular cooking because it adds a savoury flavour to any food.