Health Benefits of Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina)

Bitter leaf is a very common plant in west and central Africa. It is known scientifically as Vernonia amygdalina.
It is cultivated and eaten in various ways across west and Central Africa. In Cameroon, it is washed, sliced and prepared mixed with meat + ground peanuts (groundnuts) to prepare a delicious meal known as "ndole".  
In Nigeria, the Igbos call it "onugbu" and the Yorubas call it "ewuro" they prepare delicious bitterleaf soups with this plant. 

Bitter leaf contains vitamins like vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B 12.

1 Bitter leaf can lower blood sugar levels
Taking bitter leaf juice is known to bring down high levels of blood sugar. Many African herbal healers use bitter leaf to control high blood sugar levels. A Study was conducted by ong KW et al to investigate the hypoglycemic properties of bitter leaf. At the end of the study, they concluded that bitter leaf possesses anti hyperglycemic effects, thus it can lower blood sugar levels. 

2 bitter leaf cures body itches and skin rashes such as eczema, ring worm or scabies
Bitter leaf contains antibacterial and anti-fungi properties.  Apply the fresh juice on affected areas as often as needed.

3 Bitter leaf helps with fever and malaria
A study conducted shows that bitter leaf extract is able to enhance the potency and restore the efficacy of chloroquine when it becomes resistant. Chloroquine is an anti-malaria drug. 

 Bitter leaf is used as a quinine  substitute in Nigeria, Cameroon and other African countries for preventing and treating malaria in remote areas that lack access to medical facilities. 

4 Improves lactation for nursing and breastfeeding mothers
Drinking bitter leaf juice helps in increasing breast milk production in nursing mothers. Nursing and wet mothers across Africa add bitter leaf to many other herbs to stimulate the secretion of breast milk

5 bitter leaf detoxifies and cleans your system
study conducted revealed that bitter leaf is a good antioxidant, due to the presence of flavonoids. Taking bitter leaf juice helps the body get rid of toxins.

6  Cancer preventing properties
A study conducted in Nigeria ( Discovery of water-soluble anticancer agents (edotides) from a vegetable found in Benin City, Nigeria) revealed that bitter leaf has chemo-preventive properties. The result of this study suggest that bitter leaf, if eaten, may delay or prevent the on-set of breast cancer.

Precaution: If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, taking excessive amounts of bitter leaf juice can cause miscarriage. 

Last updated: 11/07/2017

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