The bitter leaf plant, scientifically known as Vernonia Amygdalina is a medicinal herb that grows in tropical Africa and it is tagged “bitter” due to its bitter taste.
However, this vegetable is one of the most versatile and beneficial plants in the world as it is used for medicinal, culinary, and even curative purposes. In Nigeria, bitter leaves are used to prepare tasty delicacies like Ofe Onugbu.
That said, bitter leaves are excellent sources of essential vitamins – Vitamin A, C, E, B1, and B2. They also contain important nutrients such as fiber, proteins, and minerals, which makes them highly beneficial to human health.
10 Health Benefits Of Bitter Leaf (Vernonia Amygdalina)
Here are 10 powerful ways bitter leaf may be of benefit to your health.
1. May relieve stomach ache
Numerous things could lead to stomach ache, including indigestion after eating, menstrual cramps, lactose intolerance, abdominal hernia, pancreatitis, etc,.
However, it will interest you to know that bitter leaf contains certain properties that help in relieving stomach ache. In fact, this leaf is often used in various parts of Nigeria as a powerful and effective remedy for stomach aches.
Perhaps you are struggling with a stomach ache, and you’d love to treat it with bitter leaf, all you need do is to chew its tender stem as though you were chewing a stick and then swallow the leftovers. You should notice some significant changes within a few minutes.
Better still if you can’t chew the stem as suggested above, you can pound the fresh leaves in a mortar and squeeze out the juice, add a pinch of salt to the undiluted drink and drink. The relief will set in very soon; exercise little patience!
2. Possesses potent antimalarial properties
Malaria is one of the most common diseases in Nigeria and is often caused by the Plasmodium parasite. That said it would please you to know that bitter leaf is a great natural remedy for this disease.
The magical plant contains quinine and other potent anti-plasmodic properties which have been proven severally to be effective in treating malaria.
In fact, there are certain African countries, especially Nigeria, where bitter leaf is used in several herbal concoctions, and it works perfectly in reducing its occurrence.
However, some experts suggest that consuming bitter leaf regularly can help delay the occurrence of malaria to a certain extent so make sure you take it regularly and not only when you already have malaria.
3. Fights pneumonia
Pneumonia is a lung inflammation disease that inflames the air sacs in one lung (single pneumonia) or both lungs (double pneumonia). The air sac may fill with fluid or purulent material which may further result in difficulty breathing, fever, chills, cough with phlegm, etc.
Additionally, this infection is often caused by bacteria, viruses, as well as fungi. Bitter leaf contains some potent properties which can help combat this condition and improve your overall health.
Numerous people have treated this ailment with bitter leaf, so there is no reason it wouldn’t work for you as well.
Want to know how? Squeeze the fresh leaves of the plant in water and store it in a cool place. Take a glass-full three times daily.
Note: Always ‘warm’ the solution before drinking it. Do not boil the solution, just warm it so as not to reduce its effects.
Continue the medication for a month and see the results.
4. May combat prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is very detrimental and is often accompanied with excruciating urination. Again, this cancer type is recorded mostly among men who are 40 years above.
On the plus side, Bitter leaf is proven to be very effective in dealing with this ailment. When you ingest bitter leaf into your body system, it improves the flow of urine, reduces the pain, and also keep the relevant cell in check for quick relief.
Combating prostate cancer with bitter leaf is pretty simple; all that is required of you is to get fresh bitter leaves, squeeze in water and take a glassful four times a day while also going for a regular checkup.
However, after taking bitter leaves for a while, you may notice a sudden increase in the rate at which you urinate, don’t panic; it is part of the cleaning process!
5. Helps in treating Inflammation
This is yet another intriguing benefit of bitter leaf – the ability to handle inflammation greatly!
Bitter leaf is an excellent source of certain properties which are very effective in treating inflammation discomfort and even wounds on the human body. Also, when you apply Bitter leaf juice on open wounds, it can help it heal very fast, and you will no longer feel the pain again.
To buttress this, lots of studies, including the one by Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin (2014) reveal that bitter leaf is very helpful in treating acute inflammatory disorders and that it provides very quick results.
However, some of these studies also attribute the anti-inflammatory effect of bitter leaf to inhibition of prostaglandin release and other mediators.
6. May help in treating amoebic dysentery
Amoebic dysentery is an infection caused by any of the Entamoeba group, and it may affect the intestine as well as the liver if left untreated. This infection can be contracted by eating food or drinking water contaminated by feces of an infected person or practicing oral sex with an infected person.
Some of its common symptoms include – cramping, slight stomach ache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, severe diarrhea with mucus, among others.
Leaving this infection untreated may pose severe risks on your health and may even lead to death.
However, if you want to go natural with the treatment, bitter leaf is one of the powerful natural remedies you can rely on, and this is part of the reasons why this magical plant is used in numerous herbal concoctions, especially in Nigeria.
7. A great antidiabetic
Bitter leaf helps in lowering blood sugar in the body simply by stimulating the rate at which the body uses glucose and also by preventing the production of glucose from other means in the body through a process referred to as “gluconeogenesis.”
Uncontrolled diabetes is often characterized by high sugar state, which may further result in grievous damage in the kidneys as well as other key organs of the body.
Bitter leaf is also beneficial to people with diabetes as it helps in reducing the occurrence of kidney damage and it can as well restore kidney functions in diabetics.
8. Bitter leaf and fertility
Bitter leaf is also known to improve fertility. A study in 2013 by Dr. L.C. Saalu et al. in the College of Health Sciences, Lagos state university college of Medicine found out that Bitter leaf can boost fertility.
Their study showed that administration of bitter leaf extract on Wistar rats caused an improved sperm concentration, motility, normal percentage morphology and percentage number of active sperms.
Bitter leaf is also said to enhance fertility in women, as well as their reproductive health. It regulates the female hormone production.
9. Bitter leaf helps in weight loss
Losing weight is not easy, especially when you find it difficult to consume the right diet. However, incorporating bitter leaves in your diet can help you lose weight. It contains very calories and is rich in fiber.
Another important health benefit of bitter leaf juice is its powerful detoxifying abilities that rid the body of toxins.
Bitter leaf is nutritious and has so many powerful health benefits. However, the side effects of bitter leaf are for people with bitter leaf allergies. It is also imperative that you consult your doctor before using bitter leaf as a medication.
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