Bitter leaf, scientifically known as Vernonia amygdalina, is a type of leafy vegetable that is popular in many African countries. The leaf is known for its bitter taste and is used in many traditional Nigerian dishes such as ewedu soup, bitter leaf soup and onugbu soup. They are also used for the manufacturing of popular brands of drinks.
According to a Research Gate publication, titled “Significance of Bitter Leaf (Vernonia Amagdalina) In Tropical Diseases and Beyond: A Review”, bitter leaf can be used locally for the treatment of fever, Stomach disorder, jaundice, worm infestation, constipation, malaria, hiccups, kidney problems, amoebic dysentery, schistosomiasis, cough, wounds, diabetes, laxative, veneral diseases, bacterial and protozoal infections.
For people who are looking for a healthier alternative to traditional dishes, Nigerian bitter leaf may be an exceptional choice. Not only is it a superb source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and protein, but it is also low in calories.
Although Nigerian bitter leaf is a common ingredient in African cuisine, it is also gaining popularity in the Western world because of its many purported health benefits. Some of the most commonly cited benefits of Nigerian bitter leaf are:
It improves digestive health
Bitter leaf contains a compound called quercetin, which has been shown to help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, and it can help to reduce inflammation in the gut. This can lead to improved gut function and less digestive discomfort.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, bitter leaf is also a good source of fiber. Fiber is important for gut health because it helps to keep things moving along smoothly. A diet that is high in fiber can help to prevent constipation and other digestive issues.
Lower blood sugar levels
The bitter leaf plant is a common ingredient in many African dishes. But did you know that this humble leaf can also help to lower blood sugar levels?
Bitter leaf is thought to lower blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. By increasing the amount of insulin in the body, bitter leaf can help to keep blood sugar levels under control.
In addition to its blood sugar-lowering effects, bitter leaf is also used as a natural treatment for diabetes. Bitter leaf can help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the amount of sugar in the blood.
If you’re looking for a natural way to lower your blood sugar levels, try adding some bitter leaf to your diet.
Protects the heart health
Bitter leaf contains compounds such as vernolic acid and luteolin that have been shown to have various health benefits, including protecting heart health. These compounds have various beneficial effects on heart health, including lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and preventing atherosclerosis. Thus, by including bitter leaf in your diet, you can help protect your heart health.
It aids weight loss
Bitter leaf is known for its ability to help with weight loss. When taken regularly, it can help to reduce cravings and hunger. It can also help to boost metabolism and promote fat burning.
Additionally, bitter leaf is a natural diuretic, which can help to flush out excess water weight. Overall, taking bitter leaf can be a helpful tool for those looking to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
It improves the liver health
The liver is an important organ that helps eliminate toxins from the body through detoxification processes. Unfortunately, poor diet choices can lead to an overburdened liver that doesn’t function properly anymore.
A study published in the Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences demonstrates that ethanol leaf extract of Vernonia amygdalina ameliorates and protect liver, kidney and heart of male albino Wistar rats against theobromine induced toxicity and modulates the adverse effects on lipid profile.
The researchers concluded thus: “The present study has demonstrated that ethanol leaf extract of Vernonia amygdalina protects the liver and heart of male albino wistar rats against theobromine induced toxicity as evidenced by its ability to reverse elevated activities of serum enzymes (ALT, AST and ALP). The extract also protects against kidney damage by restoring to normal values the theobromine induced increase in the serum concentrations of urea and creatinine.”
A healthy liver requires many different nutrients in order to work efficiently; however, taking too much of these nutrients at once will only further overload your system instead of helping it get better. Supplements like bitter leaf are thought to aid the liver by restoring its nutrient levels while reducing toxic load at the same time.
Research suggests that consuming bitter leaf regularly may improve hepatic function by reducing markers of oxidative stress such as glutathione peroxide. In addition it has been found effective in treating viral hepatitis B & C when taken along with standard treatment regimens, making its role even more powerful when looking at chronic viral infection prevention strategies!