Common Name : African Oil bean
Botanical Name : Pentaclethra macrophylla
Family Name: leguminoseae
Nigeria 🇳🇬 local Names: ukpaka or ugba (Igbo) Apara (Yoruba), ukana (Efik)

A readily available and cheap source of balanced diet

African oil bean seeds are rich in energy, protein, amino acids, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, vitamins, calcium, manganese, and copper. It is also an excellent source of phytonutrients such as tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, glycosides, and saponins. It provides affordable and easily accessible source of essential nutrients even for the poorest in the society. Please note that fermentation drives away most of these essential nutrients especially phosphorous.

Below are the health benefits…….👇

Health benefits of African Oil Bean (Ugba or Ukpaka)

#Infertility Treatment

African oil bean seeds from research contain phytoestrogens that aids the treatment of infertility.

#Cure Insomnia

From a research conducted in the USA, it was found that 87% of working class people are suffering from insomnia. Insomnia can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, lack of energy and workplace accidents. It also can make one feel anxious, depressed, or irritable. To solve this problem easily, mix the liquid of the fermented seed with honey and take one spoon every day for two weeks and sleep like a baby.

#Obesity control

African oil beans contains low calorie and help reduce the chances of becoming overweight or obese. Ugba contain phytoestrogens which has been found to help control obesity.

#Lowers cholesterol level

The oil bean seed effectively lowers the blood level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL). This reduces the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

#Dermatological Purposes

Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the African oil bean, both the bark and seeds can be used for producing local ointment for treating itches, insects bites, cuts, wounds and other skin diseases. The vitamin component in the oil bean rejuvenates and feeds the skin to achieve utmost beauty results.

#Antihelmintic Properties

The bark of the African oil bean tree exhibits antihelmintic properties thus can be used for preparing herbal medicines for treating parasitic worms.

#Fights Cancer

Ugba has been shown to reduces the risk of cancer in a local cohort study conducted in Nigerian subjects.

#Antibacterial Properties

African oil bean seeds contain saponins and alkaloids that possess antibacterial properties thus can be used for fighting Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia and Bacillus subtilis.


African bean oil has been shown to reduce both the epileptic symptoms and the episodes of seizures in a local study.

#Improves vision

It contains Vitamin A which is good for the eyes and improves eyesight. Ukpaka reduces the risks of cataracts according to a study. Cataracts is the clouding of the natural eye lens. Persons whose eyes are clouded bumps into objects and can lead to blindness. Ugba reduces this risk.

#Treatment of Gastrointestinal Diseases

The leaves, stems and bark of the African oil bean seed can be decocted and used for treating gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery and irritable bowel syndrome (IBD)


It does not cure leprosy but have been found to be effective in the management of wounds develop from Hansen’s disease.

#Induction of Abortion
African oil bean seeds can be crushed and mixed with red ants for inducing abortion. It has been used in some cultures in the termination of pregnancy.

Is Ukpaka safe in pregnancy?

No. African oil bean can cause uterine contraction and leads to miscarriage. As it has been shown and used by some cultures in the induction of abortion, it is best avoided during pregnancy to be on a safe side. AVOID IT.

Side effects or Dangers of African Bean Oil: It must be fermented before consumption

As nutritious as the seed is, studies have revealed that unfermented African oil bean seeds contain traces of a poisonous alkaloid known as Paucine, small amounts of Caffeoylputrescine, a growth depressant, bacteria such as E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus, as well as molds that can produce mycotoxins in foods. Hence, before it becomes fit for consumption, it must undergo a thorough fermentation process to eradicate any unwanted toxins.

Other uses of African Bean Oil

#Commercial benefits

The oil bean seed has properties that can satisfy commercial needs be a source of income. The oil extract of this seed is used in making soaps, candles and cooking oil. Oil bean seeds are edible and are sometimes cased in brown shells and used as décor, bead making, and other crafts. These items are bought and used by consumers depending on their need.

#Culinary Purposes
Ugba seeds can be cooked, sliced and allowed to undergo fermentation process for three days before being used for preparing assorted delicacies such as ugba and okporoko, sausages, nkwobi, porridge, abacha salad, soups and vegetables yam. The processed seeds are known as ugba or ukpaka. Ashes from ukpaka pods can serve as local cooking salt while the seeds can be ground into powdered flour for making bread.

African oil bean
Ugba or Ukana (efik) is Such a delicacy

DISCLAIMER: Enjoy the delicacies but this article is NOT a substitute to seeing a medical.



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