Side Effects, Uses and Health benefits of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf)

The exact topic of this article first appeared on www.nimedhealth.com.ng

Ewe eje as it is fondly called by the Westerners in Nigeria is a plant known for its blood boosting abilities. Ewe eje or Ewe ajeri is known by the Igbo tribe as Ogwu obara. However, scientifically it is called Justicia carnea. It is nicknamed the “Blood leaf”, “Blood of Jesus”, and “Jehovah Witness leaf” in Nigeria, and is a widely used leaf across states in Nigeria.

What is Justicia Carnea leaf (Ewe eje)?

The botanical name- Justicia carnea was coined after a scotish- James Justice, who happens to have found the plant first. Justicia carnea belongs to the family- Acanthaceae. Other English names for this plant include: flamingo flower, Jacobinia, Brazilian plume flower and Brazilian plume.

Side Effects, Uses and Health benefit of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf)
The Health benefits of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf) are highlighted in this article.

Ewe eje is an age-old herb medically proven to act as a blood tonic which can be attributed to its nutritional composition. This special leaf can be found around us- in our neighborhood. When properly boiled in water, the aqueous leaf extract turns red, and when mixed with milk turns pink.

Nutritional Composition of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf)

Ewe eje is a rich source of phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins. As reported by science, Justicia carnea is composed of secondary metabolites such as: flavonoids, terpenoids, alkaloids, phenols, saponins and tannins. Also present in the leaf extract are minerals (such as magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, calcium); and vitamins (such as vitamins A, C, E and B-vitamins).

These compositions (metabolites and nutrients) are all responsible for the medicinal value and the health benefits of Justicia carnea. Daily intake of the Ewe eje or ajeri can increase the absorption of iron and vitamins

Uses and health benefits of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf)

The major use of Justicia carnea leaves is to improve blood production. Ewe eje is mainly given to persons who want a blood boost such as pregnant women, persons suffering from anemia and other convalescents. Ewe eje can also be used to manage abnormalities associated with anaemia and for the treatment and management of diabetics.

Ogwu obara is commonly used in making porridge yam, and soups. It also can be used in combination with other vegetables such as the Efinrin (scent leaves), ugwu etc. Some people would rather chew the leaves, while others add to meals or brew into a tea (in combination with other plants).

Health benefits of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf)

Ewe eje as a Natural Blood booster/tonic:

Due to the high concentration of iron in this leaf, it can help boost blood production by increasing the red blood cells, haemoglobin,  and the blood platelets.  Ewe eje can increase blood count and volume. It is very rich in iron, a major component is RBC hemoglobin.

Prevent Anaemia:

The presence of blood boosting nutrients such as iron, copper, zinc and vitamin C can help prevent iron-deficiency anaemia and other anemic conditions.

Manage diabetes:

The aqueous leaf extract of ewe eje has demonstrated hypoglycaemic and antidiabetic properties; and thus, can be said to assist with blood sugar levels reduction. It can be used to manage diabetes consition properly.

Provides energy:

The Justicia carnea leaves are rich in B-vitamins. B-vitamins are good sources of energy. A cup of ewe eje extract in the morning will provide you with energy needed to pull through the day’s activities.

Promotes heart health:

Studies have shown that ewe eje contains antioxidant and cardio-protective properties. It is also composed of vitamins and minerals good for heart health.

Reduce risk of cancer:

The leaves of Justicia carnea contains powerful antioxidant activities and phytochemical components that help reduce oxidative stress, and reduce the risk of development of cancer.

Reduce cholesterol levels:

Decoction of ewe eje or its leaf extract can lower serum cholesterol and get rid of bad cholesterol (LDL). It also increases good cholesterol levels.

This is attributed to the anti-hyperlipidaemic properties of the plant. Hence, the use of Justicia carnea leaves may help reduce your risk of heart diseases, heart attack, stroke etc.

Promote liver health:

Ewe eje is good for the liver. Studies have shown that ewe eje isn’t capable of causing damage to the liver. Rather it can assist with improveing liver function such as detoxification. Regular intake can reduce your risk of liver diseases like liver cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver inflammation.

Boost immune system:

Ewe eje improves the production of white blood cells and other antibodies, all which are essential for strengthening immunity. These antibodies help prevent infections and fight off diseases.

Good for menstruating women:

Ogwu obara can act as a blood tonic for women during menstruation. It helps in replenishing blood lost during period.

How to make Ewe eje Extract…how to prepare justicia carnea

Ewe eje or ewe ajeri is prepared differently by different folks. For some, the boiling method is preferred while for others, soaking in hot water is more convenient.

Ingredients required:

A cup of water
8-10 Justicia carnea leaves

Procedures

1. Cut from the stem, some fresh or dried Justicia carnea leaves.
2. Wash the Justicia carnea leaves thoroughly to eliminate all forms of insects and dust.
3. In a pot, pour in a cup of water and bring to a boil.
4. Turn off the heat and then soak the leaves into the pot.
5. Cover and leave for about fifteen minutes.

OR

You can add the leaves and water altogether in a pot and allow to boil till the water turns red.

You can add milk or honey for taste before drinking.

Is justicia carnea good for PREGNANCY?

Yes my readers. Justicia carnea (ewe eje) is used by pregnant women to boost the production of red blood cells and cure anemia in pregnancy. Justicia carnea does not cause miscarriage or congenital birth defects.

Justicia carnea and Fertility

Justicia carnea is affects Fertility according to a researched article published on Researchgate…Justicia carnea was found to lower sperm count Male Wistar Albino rats...the effect of this herb on female fertility is not yet known.

Side effects of Ewe eje (Justicia carnea leaf Side Effects)

Ewe eje is safe and healthy for consumption. Although, medically, it is advised you see your doctor or a physician before using the leaf for medicinal uses. Ewe eje isn’t capable of causing any side or negative effects if consumed moderately. Research reports it isn’t capable of causing kidney and liver damage either but don’t eat it raw.

Is justicia carnea poisonous?

No. It is not. Different researches performed on wistar rats has proven the non toxicity of justicia carnea.

READ ALSO: How long does it take for Aju mbaise to work.

Stella-maris Achumba

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