Herbal medicine is still a popular practice in this modern age. There are many herbal plants used for all sort of culinary and medicinal purposes. Checkout some common Yoruba herbs and their uses. You will also find a section containing common Yoruba herbs for fertility.
Herbs are plants with aromatic or savoury properties that are used for medicinal purposes, as food spices, and also for fragrances. The leaves, stem, roots, and even seeds of these plants have various culinary and medicinal benefits. Before the advent of pharmacological medicines in Nigeria, people used herbal preparation for treating diseases and keeping themselves healthy. Below are some of the popular Yoruba herbs, their English names, and uses.
Eti Erin is Aloe Vera in English. It is a very popular herb due to its health benefits which include the following:
- It is an important ingredient for making of skin care products and it is also used to treat skin allergies because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is used on wounds and burns to speed up their healing.
- Liquid from Aloe Vera leaf can be used for the treatment of sunburn.
- The juice from the leaf can also be used to treat constipation. It helps in digestion and increases the water content in the intestine.
- It can help in getting rid of intestinal worms
- Also, Aloe Vera can be used for detoxification and helps to boost liver function.
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The herb known as Irawo Ile is called Girdlepod in English. The botanical name is Mitracarpus scaber. It uses includes the following:
- It is used to treat skin infections such as dermatoses, scabies, and ringworms. The plant has proven antibacterial and antifungal properties which makes it suitable for treating infections.
- It can be used to treat body aches and pains such as toothaches, headache, and arthritis pain.
- It can also be used for the treatment of amenorrhea and hepatitis and some sexually transmitted diseases.
The English name for this herb is Senna. The leaves, the flowers, the stem, and the roots are all believed to have medicinal use.
- It can be used for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea and syphilis because of its antimicrobial properties. It can also be used to treat staphylococcus infection and scabies popularly known as craw-craw by the Yorubas.
- It can also be used for the treatment of Athlete’s foot and eczema due to its antifungal properties.
- It also has analgesic properties and therefore can be used for alleviating body pains. The herb has a history of being used in alleviating arthritis pain.
It is popularly used for the preparation of the local drink known as “Zobo”. But it also has some health benefits which includes:
- Helps in reduction of blood cholesterol level.
- Helps to lower blood pressure.
- The leaves of the hibiscus contain polyphenol which is believed to have properties that help to inhibit the growth of skin cancer cells.
- Research has also linked hibiscus with prevention of prostate cancer. Discovery showed that leaf extract can inhibit human prostate cancer cell growth.
The English name of this herb is African Basil. It is also known as parsley leaf. It is a popular Yoruba herb which is not difficult to find in the South Western region. It has such health benefits which include the following:
- It can be used to aid digestion in people experiencing indigestion and bloating.
- For treating oral infections.
- Extract squeezed from the leaves can be used for treating skin diseases such as ringworm.
- It can also be used for treating urinary infections and sexually transmitted infections such as vaginitis and gonorrhoea.
- It is also known to be an excellent food preservative.
The direct English translation of “Ewe minti” is “the leaf of mint.” The leaves of Mint has several uses:
- Oil extract from the leaves of Mint is a component used in herbal toothpaste.
- Mint leaves have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components which can be helpful in treating seasonal allergies.
- Dried Mint leaves can be mixed with baking soda and used as air freshener. It can also be used for aromatherapy because of its soothing effect.
- Mint leaves also have other uses besides health benefits such as being used as insecticides for killing insects like ants, cockroaches, and wasps.
The English name is Water Leaf (Talinum triangulare). It is also a popular plant in Yorubaland. Its leaves are widely used for making vegetable soup. But it has other health benefits:
- Waterleaf can lower the level of bad cholesterol in the body. This helps in preventing atherosclerosis and therefore reducing the risk of coronary artery disease and heart disease.
- It is believed to have nootropic effect i.e. positive effect on the brain which helps to boost concentration and memory.
- It has high fiber content and can be useful in reducing calorie intake and for weight loss.
- It can also be used as a laxative for the treatment of constipation and indigestion.
Ewuro is popularly known as Bitter Leaf because it is bitter. The botanical name is Venonia amygdalina. The extract from the leaves which is collected by squeezing has the following benefits:
- Treatment of skin infections like Ringworm.
- Lactating mothers drink it to improve milk production.
- Helps to improve appetite.
- Treatment of skin allergies.
- Treatment of respiratory tract infections and cough.
- The bitter leaf can also be helpful in lowering blood glucose level in people with diabetes.
The English name is Wild Lettuce. It also has numerous health benefits:
- For the treatment of asthma and whooping cough.
- For the treatment of urinary tract infection.
- It can cure insomnia and even restlessness.
- It can be used for alleviating menstrual pain.
- It can be used to control excessive sexual drive in women.
- It can also be used for alleviating joints and muscular pain.
- The seed oil can be used to treat atherosclerosis.
- The latex of wild lettuce can be used for killing germs on the skin by adding it directly to the skin.
Asunrun Oyinbo is another important medicinal plant. It is called Ringworm plant in English. Below are some of its medicinal uses:
- It is used for the treatment of some skin infections like ringworm because of its antifungal properties.
- It is used for the treatment of intestinal parasites and sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis.
- It can also be used to treat convulsions.
- It is also used for treating constipation, haemorrhoids, and inguinal hernia.
Yoruba herbs for fertility
- Scent leaf – The scent leaf helps to boost sperm vitality.
- Maca Root – It most popular effect is its ability to help balance hormonal levels which can increase your chances of getting pregnant. It also helps to reduce symptoms of endometriosis.
- White Peony – It can be used to improve hormonal levels. It also helps to eliminate cramps and pain.
And there you have them. You can make use of these herbal plants yourself. Also, there are now people who specialize in herbal medicine with recognition and registration with drugs and food agencies. You can seek for their knowledge and expertise. You can learn more about how to make preparations from these plants and how to use them if you don’t know how to. Herbal medicine is still very good. Just be well informed before you use them
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