22 health benefits of bitter leaf – What can bitter leaf cure?
Not many know of the potential health benefits of bitter leaf. In this writing, we’ll take you through the several health benefits of this green leafy vegetable.
What is Bitter leaf?
Bitter leaf (botanical name- Vernonia amygdalina) is a plant grown and commonly used in Africa. Well-named after its taste, bitter leaves are highly medicinal. This includes the stems, roots and flowers. It can be used to treat a wide variety of diseases.
These, I will be listing below. Read on.
Nutritional Value of Bitter leaf
As acrid and unpleasant this vegetable tastes, bitter leaf contains vitamins and minerals that gives it its medicinal value, and makes it super healthy for consumption. To get the most out of this plant, you can either use it to cook, chew it raw, or marsh, squeeze and blend it to extract its juicy content.
The nutritional composition of bitter leaf include:
Other minerals contained include: Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Zinc and Iron.
Now to the health benefits of bitter leaf.
Here are about 22 Health Benefits of Bitter Leaf
In Nigeria, the natives have local names for this vegetable. The Igbos call it Onugbo, Yorubas- Ewuro, and Hausas- Shiwaka. We’ve compiled a list of 22 health benefits of bitter leaf. This should keep you awed of how amazing this green leafy vegetable is.
Here are the amazing health benefits of bitter leaf. Bitter leaf can help:
1. Regulate Blood Pressure: Bitter leaf/juice helps control blood pressure. For those with high blood pressure, it can help with reduction. This is due to the presence of potassium, which helps eliminate excess salt/sodium concentration in the body. It is a good remedy for hypertensive patients.
2. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels: The Phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals present in bitter leaf helps maintain blood sugar or reduce high blood sugar levels. Bitter leaf serves as a good remedy for diabetes.
3. Treat Malaria: Over the years, this vegetable has been used in traditional medicine to treat several ailments. One of which is malaria. Bitter leaf contains antimalarial properties that helps with malaria treatment. It contains a compound- quinine in substantial amount that helps cure malaria.
4. Treat Cancer: Bitter lead contains a compound known as Andrographolide, antioxidants, anti-cancer properties that help reduce your risk of cancers. It does this by inhibiting the growth and development of tumours and cancer cells. Bitter leaf has also been found effective in the treatment of cancers like gastrointestinal cancers, colon cancers and prostate cancer.
5. Lower Cholesterol Levels: High cholesterol levels can cause obesity, heart attack, stroke and a range of other illnesses. Consumption of bitter leaf/juice can help reduce your cholesterol levels, and get rid of bad cholesterol (HDL cholesterol). In turn, your health is protected. This is attributed to the strong antioxidants in bitter leaf.
6. Aid Digestion: Bitter Leaf is good for your digestive system. It aids easy digestion of foods, and metabolism of fats, glucose and protein- two essential body processes. This is due to the presence of vitamin B1- thiamine. Consumption of bitter leaf/juice enables proper functioning of your body system, by improving the metabolic rates of your body.
7. Treat Gastrointestinal issues: Gastrointestinal or abdominal issues like stomach aches, constipation, bloating, diarrhea can be treated with bitter leaf/juice. Bitter leaf juice helps in boosting gastrointestinal health.
8. Promote Weight Loss: Bitter leaf contains chemical compounds that help burn out fats and extra calories in your body. Consumption of bitter leaf/juice can help keep your weight in check, as well as promote weight loss and flat tummy.
9. Relieve Stomach Ulcers: Bitter leaf contains anti-oxidants that help with ulcer healing. To those with ulcers, it can help ease you off the pain.
10. Enhance Fertility: Bitter leaf provides a lot of benefits to the sexual health of men and women. It contains edotides- a chemical compound that helps with hormonal balance. This helps boost ovulation, and increase a woman’s chance of getting pregnant. In addition, it can help treat infections capable of causing infertility in women, as well as, boost the immune system. In males, it helps promote fertility by increasing sperm quality.
11. Relieve menstrual cramps: Some of the causes of menstrual cramps in women are due to poor nutritional intake and excessive production of prostaglandins. Excessive production of prostaglandins can trigger muscle contractions in the pelvic area and cause pain. Low levels of potassium and magnesium has also been shown to cause menstrual cramps. Consumption of bitter leaf juice can help relax the pelvic muscles and ease off menstrual pain.
12. Treat Fever: For centuries, bitter leaf has always been used to treat fevers, including typhoid fever. This is due to the flavonoids present, and the antioxidants in the vegetable. They make treatment of fever and malaria with bitter leaf effective.
13. Treat Fungal Infections: Bitter leaf is also known to contain antifungal properties. This helps treat fungal infections, be it on the skin or in the body. Bitter leaf is mashed into paste-like form and applied on the affected area.
14. Treat Skin Conditions: Skin conditions such as eczema, pimples, acne, ringworms, etc can be treated with bitter leaf. This is due to its antimicrobial properties. For positive results, apply some quantity of bitter leaf paste onto the affected part of the skin. Leave for some minutes and wash off afterwards. Ensure the area is clean before application. Do this frequently for some weeks, and hopefully, you’ll get to see positive results. Discontinue use, and consult your dermatologist if you notice skin allergies or no positive results.
15. Treat Insomnia: Insomnia is a condition in which falling asleep becomes difficult, particularly at night. There are a lot of people dealing with this condition. With bitter leaf, you can treat insomnia. Bitter leaf contains properties that eases off stress and helps you relax, causing you to fall asleep.
16. Treat Bacterial Infections: Due to its antibacterial properties, bitter leaf can help treat infections caused by bacteria.
17. Promote Liver and Kidney health: It is undeniable the importance of these organs (Liver and Kidney) in the body. Consumption of bitter leaf/juice will help promote the health of your kidney and liver. Bitter leaf contains detoxifying properties, that helps flush out toxins from your system. Thus, promoting not only the liver and kidney health, but your overall health as well.
18. Protect your Body against free radicals: Free radicals are molecules, ions or atom capable of causing illnesses or cell damage in the body. Bitter Leaf contains strong antioxidants that can help get rid of “free radicals” in your body. Thus, boosting your immune system, and protecting your body from diseases.
19. Develop Strong Bones and Teeth: Bitter leaf contains antioxidants and vitamins that help promote oral health. Also, Vitamins C, K, and Calcium are nutrients known to help with development of strong bones and teeth. Strong bones and teeth can prevent osteoporosis in adults, and osteomalacia in children.
20. Expel Worms: If facing worm infestation, you can use bitter leaf to expel the worms. Due to its antiparasitic properties, bitter leaf can help kill the worms in your digestive system.
21. Control STDs: Bitter leaf can be used to control the effects of STDs. It contains antibacterial properties that helps control the external manifestation of STDs. Some of the external manifestations of STDs include sores, bumps, rashes, and swollen lymph nodes. You can control these by rubbing bitter leaf paste around your genitalia area.
22. Improve Breast Milk Production: Bitter leaf/juice is very good for nursing mothers. It is reported to contain properties that help increase the supply of breast milk in lactating mothers.
Keep in mind to consume bitter leaf/juice in moderation, as excess consumption can cause the following side effects: vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, headache, rashes, runny nose, fatigue, and diarrhoea.
Now that you know of the many health benefits of this green leafy, I hope I left you awe-struck? I believe you found this article helpful?
Written by Stella-maris Achumba
This article is the intellectual property of www.nimedhealth.com.ng