The article contains bitter leaf benefits to humans, and how bitter leaf is prepared and used. Possible side effects when abused are also discussed in detail. For bitter leaf usage benefits and risks, this article is the best.
What is the origin of the bitter leaf?
Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) is a shrub that grows in the tropics and sub-tropics. It can grow up to about three meters high. Its origin is traced to countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Cameroon.
Bitter leaf has been used throughout the history of Africans. The leaf is used because of its health benefits. In places like Nigeria, it is used to prepare food. In the case of Ghana, it is mostly used as medicine to combat illnesses.
How do you prepare fresh bitter leaves for consumption?
Preparing the juice is very simple. Follow the step below to make nutritious and powerful juice.
√. Pluck some fresh bitter leaves from it plant. Make sure it is free from pests and microorganisms. And do not use overgrown leaves.
√. Wash the bitter leaf with a salt solution first before washing it with fresh water. This is to kill any germs since you are not going to boil in this process.
√. Mash with has in a bowl or blend with a blender. Make sure to add adequate water no matter the method you use.
√. After mashing with hands or blending, sieve it to remove leaf particles. This leaves you with smooth juice. Drink just a moderate amount if it is a preventive measure.
How do you prepare bitter leaf juice by boiling it?
This is one of the common practices in African local communities. Below is a step-by-step guide.
√. Get the leaves from it plant. You can cut with a sharp edge or pluck with your hands. Do this to only fresh leaves.
√. Wash thoroughly with clean water about two times.
√. Make available a pot (clay pot recommended) and put the leaves in it. Fill the pot with water. Let the water surpass the leaves to allow a proper boiling process. Boil for about 15 to 20 minutes. Also, without timing, you can off-fire if the colour of the water changes to a least green one.
√. Take it off the fire and allow it to cool a bit. Drink it while it’s warm just like normal tea or coffee temperature.
How do you prepare bitter leaf soup?
Just like the way other leaves are used for cooking. Bitter leaf can be used for cooking soup or stew. For soup or stew, just take a preferred amount of leaves and break them into it while cooking.
It is better to use it fresh, keeping leaves for a long may increase the bitterness level.
What are the benefits of drinking bitter leaf juice?
√ Treats Fungal Infection:
The leaf possesses strong antifungal properties in it. It can be cooked and drunk to treat fungal infections. Also, you can mash it and apply the paste to fungal-infected skin. This works just like Senna alata when applied on fungal-infected skin.
√ Good For Treatment of Skin Conditions:
The treatment of skin problems like eczema, ringworm, psoriasis, and others can be done by drinking bitter leaf juice. The ground leaf of the bitter leaf plant can be applied to the affected skin. This has been proven by many herbalists to be very effective.
Bitter leaf has anti-parasitic properties which combat parasites. This property makes it a fine solution for malaria fever. It is sometimes mixed with neem/nim plant leaves and cooked as malaria medicine. Drinking a moderate amount of bitter leaf juice twice a day for about 5 to 7 days should cure your malaria.
√ Controls Blood Sugar:
Bitter leaf is capable of regulating blood sugar. According to some research, the bitter leaf can aid in the treatment of diabetes. It contains the essential nutrients that help to balance blood sugar and aid general strength.
√ Fertility Enhancement:
In some African cultures, the bitter leaf has been found among the leaves used to treat infertility. This is for both men and women according to some local herbalists. It has properties that balance hormone activities which help or aid in conception.
Also, the bitter leaf has shown properties of increasing sperm quality in men. It prevents low sperm count and weak sperm. Men who frequently eat food made from bitter leaf show strong power in terms of sex.
√ Helps in Weight Loss:
The leaf has shown the possession of chemicals that help the body burn fat. It removes bad cholesterol and burns extra calories in the body. A glass of bitter leaf juice every morning is good while exercising for weight loss.
√ Anticancer Properties:
Consumption of bitter leaves has a strong effect on cancer cells. It can prevent the growth of cancer cells. According to some sources, it is a good treatment for all types of cancers.
√ Controls Blood Pressure:
The ability of this herb to remove cholesterol helps in heart functioning hence controlling blood pressure. In local medicine preparation, it is seen as one of the blood pressure regulation herbs.
√ Enhances Metabolism:
The human body needs different kinds of nutrients to perform metabolism. The bitter leaf contains such nutrient ground the body needs to aid metabolism. A glass of bitter leaf juice every morning can do the magic.
√ Insomnia Treatment:
Traditionally, bitter leaf is used to treat insomnia. Insomnia is a condition where one leaves it difficult to sleep. Bitter leaf has properties in it that can help relax the brain and make you fall asleep.
√ Healthy Bones and Teeth:
The presence of vitamins in bitter leaves makes it a good herb for treatment. It helps to better your oral health. Also, it has nutrients that are good for strong bones and prevents weakening of it. Deals with osteoporosis and other bone ailments.
√ Treats Acne:
In the treatment of acne, the patient can be on bitter leaf juice throughout the process. Aside from that, applying the paste of ground bitter leaf on the face helps get rid of it.
The juice of bitter leaf has detoxifying properties. This helps in removing toxins from your body. For detoxification a glass of bitter leaf juice once a week is good.
√ Rejuvenation of body:
Bitter leaf when taken relieves you of your tiredness. It gives you new energy and helps you recover quickly.
√ Treatment of Abdominal Conditions:
Bitter leaf treats ulcers, diarrhoea, dysentery, stomach pain and other stomach issues. Taking bitter leaves is good for your gastrointestinal health.
√ Boosts Milk Production:
Bitter leaf has properties that improve the production of milk in lactating mothers. In the local setting, it is included in foods for mothers who are breastfeeding.
√ Eliminates worms:
Its anti-parasitic properties allow it to fight worms and infections. When taken, it deworms you.
√ Promote Liver and Kidney Health:
The detoxifying properties of the bitter leaf make it very beneficial for liver and kidney function. Using bitter leaves can healthily boost the performance of such organs. This leaves you in good health always.
Are there any possible side effects of using bitter leaf?
Even though bitter leaf has numerous health benefits, not all blood types may be able to use it. Especially when it is in excess. It is very important to seek advice from a doctor if you have reactions after using the bitter leaf.
¶ Stomach disorders
In as much as this herb can be used to treat digestion problems, its abuse can also affect digestion. It may run you for some time if taken in excess. For treatment of any ailment, the amount taken in should be in moderation. It should be under the supervision of a professional herbalist.
How do you grow bitter leaf plants at home?
Bitter is one of the few herbs you can plant at home. Planting it is very easy as taking your favourite meal. To grow a bitter leaf, you need one of its matured stems.
Cut a stem or matured branch of bitter leaf. Place the branch you have cut into the soil and irrigate until it shoots. It can even be planted in a pot just like ornamental plants. Make sure you water it until daily to till it sprouts.
Bitter leaf usage benefits and risks are what you have just read. Kindly leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comment box.
This is not medical advice. Visit the hospital if you are sick. Do not use herbs without the guidance of a professional health worker.