Garden egg is called igba in Yoruba, afufa or anyara in Igbo, and ganyen gauta in Hausa. Its botanical name is Solanum melongena (Fam: Solanaceae).
Also known as eggplant, garden egg comes in a range of colours, shapes, and sizes. They vary from small and oblong to long and thin, and from shades of purple to white and green.
Constituents: Garden egg is a good source of dietary fibre, as well as other mineral and vitamins such as vitamin B1, potassium, folate, manganese, magnesium, Vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin K, vitamin C and copper. It also contains alkaloids.
Preparations: The fruit and the leaves can be eaten raw alone, with groundnut or made as a sauce for eating boiled yam or plantain. Cooking methods include steaming, roasting, boiling, baking, or frying, but steaming appears to preserve the antioxidant levels most effectively.
Pharmacological actions and medicinal uses: The anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid in garden egg may protect heart health, function as antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Another chemical in garden egg, nasunin, may help improve blood flow to the brain. In a study, an increased intake of anthocyanins was associated with significantly lower blood pressure. Polyphenols in garden egg have been shown to have anti-cancer effects.
The anticancer action of anthocyanins appears to include preventing new blood vessels from forming in the tumour, reducing inflammation, and blocking the enzymes that help cancer cells to spread.
The green garden egg is beneficial in weight reduction because it contains low carbohydrates and calories essential for weight management.
Garden eggs are fibrous fruits that help in controlling bowel movement, reducing constipation and improving digestion. They contain iron and calcium that aid in reducing the chance of osteoporosis, thereby keeping the bones strong and healthy.
They are rich in folic acid which is beneficial to pregnant women (folic acid protects infants from neural tube defects that do occur); rich in iron and copper, which help to increase the red blood cell in the body, thereby aiding in fights against anaemia.
It is an excellent food for people suffering from diabetes, as it goes a long way in the reduction and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
They contain a high amount of minerals that help in maintaining electrolyte balance, thereby reducing blood pressures. It aids in neutralising sodium effects in the body, thereby controlling blood pressure levels.
Regular consumption of this helps in maintaining good blood pressure and cholesterol levels because of its chlorogenic acid content.
Adverse effects:it is diuretic in nature which can cause stimulation of menstruation in pregnant women. Consuming garden egg regularly can also lead to acidity problems.
Too much potassium can cause vomiting, stomach upset; excess fibre can cause diarrhoea, constipation, difficulty in nutrients absorption.
Garden egg may cause allergies like nausea, itchiness, rashes and swelling of the throat. Therefore, it is advisable to consume garden eggs moderately to avoid its side effects. .
Economic potentials: A study showed that the mean net return per hectare from garden egg production was N105, 140.07.The results also showed that cost of agro-chemicals and size of farm land were the major determinants of net returns from garden egg production by showing a statistically significant effect at 5% level. Provision of these inputs in adequate quantities and at affordable prices will ensure enhanced net returns from the production.