Nigerians have been eating ugu leaves and using them in medicine for many years. But what do you know about the health benefits of ugu leaves? Today, let’s talk about these magical green leaves, as it seems like they can do just about anything.
What is ugu leaf?
Ugu leaves, otherwise known as fluted pumpkin leaves, can be seen growing alongside large fleshy green gourds. Fluted pumpkins are native to West Africa, and they are most common for Southern Nigeria, as well as Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
While it is usually the fruit/vegetable that gets the most attention, in this particular case the leaves are the main event. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals, which is why people (especially of the Igbo origin) have been using them in cooking and medicine for centuries. Let’s talk in more detail about the ugu leaves health benefits.
Ugu leaves benefits
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There must have been a reason why Igbo people decided to use ugu leaves all those years ago. As a matter of fact, it is not just one reason. Here, we present to you 10 benefits of ugu leaves for your health:
- Ugu leaves have healing properties. Due to the vitamin C and antioxidants contained in the leaves, they can help to speed up the healing processes, as well as alleviate some minor illnesses and diseases. In the olden days, they were often used in homemade medicine.
- They can help treat anemia. The fluted pumpkin leaves contain iron, which helps in preventing and treating iron-deficiency anaemia. Regular consumption of ugu leaves is said to help with anaemia in the long term.
- Ugu leaves are a natural antioxidant. They contain a whole bunch of useful elements that can help the body protect itself from bacteria and viruses.
- They can prevent osteoporosis. Thanks to the high amount of Calcium contained in the leaves, they can strengthen the bones, thus lowering the risk of having osteoporosis (a disease that affects density of bones, making them weak and brittle).
- These leaves can help you save your smile in mint condition. Due to the aforementioned large amount of Calcium, ugu leaves can help you maintain those pearly whites and save them from cavities or tooth decay. So you can be rest assured that your teeth will be as strong as your bones, if not stronger.
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- Ugu leaves boost male fertility. For centuries, they have been used by healers to increase a man’s chances of becoming a father. In scientific terms, they promote spermatogenesis, which means higher chances of making a baby.
- They increase the production of breast milk. After they have done their job with boosting a man’s fertility, the leaves can help a woman to produce more milk. So if breastfeeding is a struggle for you, consider adding ugu leaves to your diet if you have not done that already.
- Ugu leaves can help you to control your blood sugar. They are a godsend for people with diabetes or those who might have a high risk of developing it. That is because they can somehow lower the blood sugar thanks to the presence of polysaccharides and ethyl acetate.
- They help in a fight against cancer. Even though this battle is often a losing one, ugu leaves can be a natural remedy against cancer. Now, we are not saying that you should abandon treatment and stock up on ugu leaves, but you should eat some anyway, at least for prevention purposes.
- Ugu leaves boost the immune system. As they are full of minerals, vitamins and other important elements, it is no wonder that these leaves are known for their capabilities of helping the immune system.
There are way more benefits of consuming ugu leaves, such as that they are a great stress reliever or that they can help against Alzheimer’s.
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