Historical Background About Bitter Leaf
Health benefits of a bitter leaf are not just limited to treating gastrointestinal problems and fertility induction pills as it has a lot of medicinal values to humans. It is advisable to consume bitter leaf in its fresh state to enjoy unlimited health benefits. The botanical name of a bitter leaf is called Vernonia amygdalina as it has a bitter taste and is mainly found around the southern and western part of Nigeria, West Africa.
Also, this leafy vegetable has both antifungal and anti-bacterial properties that are suitable for treating typhoid, high blood pressure, malaria, dysentery, and diarrhea.
Bitter leaf is called etidot by the Ibibio/Efik, onugbu by the Igbo, and efo ewuro by Yoruba people in Nigeria. You can grow this vegetable using the stem and it grows effectively during the raining season. This vegetable can be used in preparing local soup in Nigeria, used as laxative/anti-helminths by pharmaceutical companies, treating diabetes, gallstones, tuberculosis, and kidney diseases.
What Are The Nutritional Facts Of A Bitter Leaf?
The bitter leaf contains minerals like zinc, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, potassium, and nutrients like proteins/fiber. It also has essential vitamins like vitamin A, B1, B2, C, and E. Most of the nutrients are easily washed off the leaves especially whenever it’s used for cooking and only a minute portion of it will be rich for our consumption.
Alkaloids, tannins, saponins, steroid, terpenes are some of the phytochemicals that are present in the bitter leaf. Plant compounds like flavonoid, sesquiterpenoids, apigenin, andragrafin (in negligible amount), andrographolide, labdane diterpenoid, and polimetoksiflavon.
Health Benefits Of A Bitter Leaf
Health benefits of a bitter leaf are numerous and you should never overcook them to avoid depletion of nutrients in it. Here are the 12 best-proven health benefits of bitter leaf to your body:
Improves weight loss
When you consume bitter leaf either in raw form or inculcate it into your diet or take it as a juice helps reduce weight loss effectively. It also helps remove excess fat from your body which is known as the bad cholesterol.
Bitter leaf is definitely an essential weight loss diet because of the presence of fiber content in it that makes it possible for one to lose weight effectively.
Treatment for stomach ache
A stomach ache can be treated effectively by either consuming it raw or mashing it to get the juice. It is also used in treating gastrointestinal tract disease like dysentery and abdominal pains like stomach ache and diarrhea.
You can get some fresh bitter leaves and wash them using little quantity of salt/water. Squeeze it gently to get the juice and drink a glass cup of this juice twice daily to help cure all stomach problems easily.
Read Also: Effect Of Drinking Bitter Leaf Juice
Helps body metabolism
The presence of vitamin B1 in the bitter leaf which is known as thiamine helps in the metabolism of amino acids, lipids, glucose in the human body. This dietary supplement called thiamine helps in the oxidation of fatty acids to produce the synthesis of lipids in the human body. Lipids undergo metabolism as carbohydrate can be easily converted into fats by some processes.
Helps fight prostate cancer in men
This is one of the health benefits of a bitter leaf as its being used in the treatment of prostate cancer in men as they find it very difficult to urinate and also experience painful urination. Prostate cancer does occur amongst men who are over forty years of age. Chewing the bitter leaf in raw form or taking it as a juice tends to reduce painful urination and increase your flow of urine effectively.
Also, you can visit a medical doctor for a checkup. Never panic when you continuously pass out urine as it is a normal thing for you to pass out urine for a particular time to alleviate the disorder.
Most people experience this medical condition as they do take it for granted not knowing that with bitter leaf, they can enjoy their sleep as normal. You see most people complain they find it difficult to sleep at night and no matter how hard they try, they still can’t sleep which is known as insomnia.
Research has shown that by taking 2 glasses of bitter leaf juice each night, makes your brain relax/calm and you can easily fall asleep. This is one of the health benefits of a bitter leaf we have to take into consideration.
Improves Good Cholesterol
A study in February 2008 of the “Journal of Vascular Health and Risk Management” deduced that consuming bitter leaf can lower bad and total cholesterol. Supplements with bitter leaf extract lower LDL cholesterol by 50 percent while also improving “good” HDL cholesterol in an animal model. But research hasn’t been carried out on cholesterol using bitter leaf effects on humans.
You can easily be at risk of having a stroke, heart attack, and Alzheimer’s disease as a result of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
Reduces high blood pressure
Your level of sugar in the blood can be reduced and your blood pressure regulated as you drink the bitter leaf juice or chew its fresh leaves. The presence of andrographolide in bitter leaf helps lower your blood sugar level and also reduces your chance of having diabetes.
Also, the potassium present in the bitter leaf is good in treating hypertension in the body and is one of those health benefits of a bitter leaf.
Helps in breast cancer
Consuming diets that are low in fat, staying physically active, and watching your weight can lower your chance of developing breast cancer. Research in Experimental Biology and Medicine (February 2004) uses a test tube study of human breast cancer cells and deduced that bitter leaf prevents the growth and increase in the number of breast cancer cells in the human body as stated by scientists from Jackson State University, U.S.
This is one of the health benefits of a bitter leaf that all women have to take into consideration.
Useful for good teeth and bones
The bitter leaf contains vitamin C which is a strong antioxidant mineral that builds strong bones and teeth as well as averting of deficiencies associated with this particular vitamin. Consuming bitter leaf can help your blood clot properly and prevent the weakness of bone tissues like osteoporosis since it contains vitamin K.
Helps prevent pneumonia
Drinking a glass of bitter leaf juice thrice a day helps prevent and also cure pneumonia effectively. Always warm the bitter leaf juice before drinking and continue the medication for at least a month for optimum result. This inflammation of the lung is gotten from viral and bacterial infection and it could affect either one lung or both lungs.
Avoid boiling the bitter leaf juice so as not to kill the essential nutrients your body needs to curb the development of pneumonia in the body.
This is one of those health benefits of a bitter leaf if you are finding it hard to conceive. Bitter leaf helps prevent ovarian cyst and premature ovarian failure thereby improving the fertility of your ovaries. Since it detoxifies harmful substances from your body, it helps repair worn-out tissue/regeneration and helps your antibodies fight against diseases effectively.
Oxidation makes your body prone to precancerous cell formation and to prevent this from occurring, you have to either increase your consumption of fresh bitter leaf or drink its juice to stay healthy. Research on the issue of “Food Chemistry” in December 2006 deduced that the antioxidant properties found in bitter leaf make a healthy disease-fighting addition to your food consumed.
Improves fatty acids in the body
Bitter leaf is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids like linolenic and linoleic acid as you can only get these two fats from the diet you consume. A publication by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in November 2001 deduced that diets rich in linolenic and linoleic acid helps prevent your body against cardiovascular disease.
From the research, people who consumed the greatest amounts of these two fatty acids had a 40 percent reduced chance of having cardiovascular disease as compared to people who rarely consumed a diet with these two fats.
Improves detoxification of harmful substances
Consuming bitter leaf juice helps to detoxify harmful substances from your body in a jiffy. Also, harmful toxins from your kidney, liver, lungs, and other parts of your body are easily removed. These health benefits of a bitter leaf also guide against the occurrence of kidney stones and liver cirrhosis from your body.
Helps in the treatment of certain infections
This is one of those health benefits of a bitter leaf we can never neglect as consuming fresh bitter leaf or its juice helps in the treatment of several infections like skin infections, typhoid, tuberculosis, inflammation of the mouth, tooth pains, inflammation of the ear, and respiratory tract infections.
Why not consume bitter leaf or its juice to enjoy these numerous health benefits of it to your body?
Health Benefits Of A Bitter Leaf As Bitter Leaf Tea
Preparation Of Bitter Leaf Tea
- Collect fresh bitter leaves from your farm and wash in clean water.
- Either you blend the bitter leaves using a blender or grind using a mortar/pestle.
- Introduce the mashed bitter leaves into a bowl of warm water and filter to get only the juice.
- Your bitter leaf tea is ready and always consumes it with warm water for an effective result.
This bitter leaf tea helps in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems and protects your body from harmful diseases.
The health benefits of a bitter leaf are not just limited to the above mentioned but it serves as anti-aging foods and improves your overall skin health. Malaria can be prevented and fever reduced when you take a glass cup of warm bitter leaf juice daily.