Editan leaf is a vegetable plant used in the preparation of Editan soup. The soup is believed to have originated from the Efik people of Cross River State of Nigeria; however, it is also used by the Ibibios and many other parts of Nigeria. The medicinal plant is obtained from the leaf of Lasianthera africana plant.
Usually, the leaf is bitter, so most people squeeze out the bitterness or wash it with potash.
Another exciting thing about the soup is that it comes in various flavors. Most people add water leaf alongside, while few others prefer to add a little quantity of chilli pepper.
Beyond its great taste, the leaf is known to many for its health benefits to humanity. The nutritional composition and health benefits of editan leaves are discussed below.
Nutritional Composition of Editan Leaves
Studies on the nutritional and phytochemical properties of Lasianthera africana leaves showed that it contains polyphenols and phytochemicals such as saponins, terpenes, alkaloids, anthraquinones, and cardiac glycosides. The nutrients in the leaf are magnesium, ß- Carotene, vitamin C and potassium.
Based on this nutritional composition, here are the health benefits of editan leaves.
1. Strong Antioxidant Activities
Editan leaf has been said to be an excellent source of powerful antioxidants. Its antioxidant prowess is strongly felt in the brain. When you consume the vegetable in appropriate quantities, it supplies your body with flavonoids and polyphenols, which protect you against oxidative stress-induced injury. Usually, oxidative stress-induced damage leads to Alzheimer and other neurodegenerative diseases.
2. Boosts Fertility
People of culture believe that the leaf could help solve fertility issues in men and women by increasing libido, enhancing ovulation, and eventually, conception. Also some believe the leaf promotes erection in men via improved blood flow to the reproductive organ. However, these claims have not been well established in modern-day science.
3. Promotes Healthy Weight
Mere eating a plate of Editan soup will replenish your fiber store. The fiber gives you a sense of satisfaction such that your craving for unhealthy food will reduce drastically, thereby promoting a healthy weight.
4. Good for Your Bowel Health
Editan leaf contains fiber which drives the gastrointestinal system; this solves issues like indigestion and constipation. It is advisable that children of school age consume the soup regularly to enhance their digestion which, in the long run, makes them grow faster.
5. Good Source of Vitamin A and C
Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in Nigeria, especially in pregnant women. The menace has contributed to mortality both in the mother and the infant. Various studies have affirmed that Editan leaf is capable of bridging the vitamin A deficiency gap.
Editan leaves are also rich in vitamin C, which could help boost the immune system and fight infections.
6. Might Treat Ulcer
Editan leaves might be useful in treating ulcer. A recent study investigating the antiulcerogenic activity of ethanolic leaf extract of Lasianthera Africana, it was discovered that the leaf extract reduced ulcer effects in rats. Other animal studies have stated that the flavonoids, saponins, terpenes, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides helps the leaf to effectively treat ulcer.
7. May Help Treat Malaria
Another 2007 study on the antiplasmodial activity of ethanolic leaf extract of Lasianthera africana stated that the leaves could help in fighting malaria. The study concluded that Editan leaf possessed significant antiplasmodial activity, which could promote malaria resistance.
8. Antidiabetic Properties
A 2016 study validated the claims that editan leaf is useful in controlling and the management of diabetes mellitus. The study evaluated the phytochemical and hypoglycaemic properties of the leaf for effective control of diabetes. They found out that the leaf possessed some powerful medicinal potential for therapeutic purposes and that the hypoglycaemic activity of the leaf could be used by diabetic patients as a supplement.
Other health benefits of editan leaves may include it’s analgesic properties, antifungal abilities, antipyretic activities and bacteriostatic properties. One study even indicated that editan leaves could be effective in the management neurodegeneration.
Editan leaf is not just a delicacy for editan soup, but a medicinal plant bestowed to humankind by nature. The medicinal plant is still under investigation for some of its acclaimed benefits. Therefore, we advise that you consult your health practitioner before using it for any of the above purposes.