Most of us are not aware of the immense benefits of Parkia biglobosa popularly known as locust bean, Iru (Yoruba), Ogiri (Igbo) and dawadawa (hausa), whose botanical name is Ceratonia silique is a tropical plant species that belongs to the family of Legume.
Locust bean, commonly referred to as iru by Yorubas, ‘ogiri’, ‘dawa dawa’ by Igbos, is a local seasoning or condiment used in soups and stews. A very popular soup ingredient, globally, it is referred to as African locust bean. It is not easy to look at, and the smell is unpleasant. Aside these, Locust Bean is the single, one most important ingredient assured to take your stews and vegetables from just okay to great.
According to several researches, locust beans has shown promise in boosting cellular immunity in immune-compromised persons, as well as in management of diarrhoea, diabetes, stroke, hypertension and heart attack.
It could also serve as antidote to snake bites. The bark is used as a mouthwash, vapour inhalant for toothache, or for ear complaints. It is macerated in baths for leprosy and used for bronchitis, pneumonia, skin infections, sores, ulcers, and washes for fever, malaria and sterility. The roots are used in a lotion for sore eyes.
Observations from a study showed that Parkia biglobosa helps to prevent complications of diabetes. Hence it could be recommended as part of the diet for diabetics. In another study, researchers showed that it helped to reduce arterial blood pressure in rats.
It can be found in a wide range of environments in Africa and is primarily grown for its pods that contain both a sweet pulp and valuable seeds. The most valuable parts of the locust bean are high in lipid (29 per cent), protein (35 per cent), carbohydrate (16 per cent), and is a good source of fat and calcium for rural dwellers. Locust bean product should be converted into powdery form and packaged into various sizes in plastics for easy distribution.
Local research has shown that locust bean helps to promote good sight and drives away hypertension and diseases conditions like stroke and diabetes. It also contains tannins, astringent substances found in many plants. Foods rich in tannins are often recommended for treatment of diarrhoea. The portion of carob that is made into locust bean gum contains soluble fibre in the galactomannan family. Like other forms of soluble fibre, it has shown potential benefit for enhancing weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels.
The African locust bean tree has also been found to possess wonders. For instance, the pulverised bark of the tree is employed in wound healing and serves as one of the ingredients used in treating leprosy. The decoction of the bark is also used as bath for fever and as a hot mouth wash to steam and relieve toothache in Cote d’Ivoire.
In another result published in Science Journal based in Dakar, Senegal, researchers tried out locust beans on rats to find out whether it actually has any impact on controlling blood pressure and the result obtained showed that adequate doses of locust beans helped to decrease arterial blood pressure.
The findings showed that the diastolic blood pressure measurement enjoyed more reduction than even the systolic blood pressure. It also revealed the many wonders of African locust bean tree. The pulverised bark of African locust bean tree, for instance, is employed in wound healing and serves as one of the ingredients that are used in treating leprosy.
Locust beans is added to everything – not only because it tastes good and can serve as a tastier alternative to other spices cubes, but also due to its health benefits among which are vision improvement, digestion aid and much more.
Although the bark and leaves are toxic, various reports suggest that the seeds and the young pods of the black locust are edible. Shelled seeds are safe to harvest from summer through fall, and are edible both raw and/or boiled. Due to the small nature of Black Locust seeds, shelling them efficiently can prove tedious and difficult.