Health benefits of bitter leaf.Bitter leaf, scientifically known as Vernonia amygdalina, is a vegetable that features very often on Nigerian menus. Almost every home has this green vegetable regularly and it has built a solid name for itself for over a hundred years. What many people don’t know is that there is more to it than its offending bitter taste.
This plant may be common in Nigeria but it can grow anywhere. It is not choosy about climate or weather like some other vegetables so you can try and grow your own wherever you are and see whether it likes it there.
- It has been used over the years to cure malarial fevers. This is because it has enzymes that act as an anti-parasitic. You can forget the injections and having to swallow large doses of tablets once you take this. All you need to do is take a cup of fresh bitter leaf juice and you will see a difference within a few days.
- Those looking to lose weight can benefit from it since it increases the body’s metabolism.
- It is a source of fibre and therefore curbs indigestion and constipation.
- It can be used as a blood detoxifier and will keep diseases like scurvy and rheumatism at bay.
- It works on skin ailments like rashes, ring worms and eczema. All you need to do is to squeeze the leaves t release the juice and place the leaves on the affected area.
- It contains vitamins A, B1 and B2, sodium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and potassium. It also has a high protein content of about 33.3%. All these are the building blocks of the human body and it takes all of these and more to maintain a healthy body and immune system.
- The human body cells experience oxidation due to the various processes going on in there. This leads to free radicals and this may cause formation of precancerous cells if left unchecked. Antioxidants help to counter this and your body has higher chances of remaining cancer-free. Bitter leaf contains a good amount of antioxidants and this puts it high up on cancer prevention strategies.
- The body does not produce linoleic and linolenic acid. These two fats are however important since they lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have found that those who have these two fatty acids in their diet were less likely to experience cardiovascular disease.
- Grandmothers swear by the leaves’ ability to cure mild stomach ailments and even increase milk production for breastfeeding mothers.
- It heals piles.
- It can also be used to expel worms from the system. Take the stalks and roots of the bitter leaf plant, clean them and boil them. Take a cup of the resulting liquid and watch it work.
- Bitter leaf juice gives one a new lease of energy so start your day with a glass.
Health benefits of bitter leaf. Juice extraction
Traditionally, juice extraction is done by rubbing clean bitter leaf leaves between your palms with a little water poured over them. Squeeze the leaves and some juice will come out. You can however extract it by blending the leaves in a blender or processing them in a juicer. Once they are processed, strain the pulp using a sieve or a cheese cloth.
The juice may be a little difficult to drink due to the bitter taste but you can make it better by adding some vegetables like spinach or fluted pumpkin. You can sweeten the deal with sweet fruit juices like apple, pineapple or orange.
Large amounts of bitter leaf juice is said to induce contractions. It is even used by midwives to contract the uterus after a woman has given birth. Due to this, bitter leaf should be avoided during pregnancy at all costs to avoid a miscarriage.