Hog plum is a species of tree and flowering plant of the Anacardiaceae family. It is cultivated in many parts of Africa. In Nigeria, the fruit is called Iyeye in the Yoruba language, ngulungwu in Igbo language, Isada in Hausa language, and Ughighen in the Urhobo language. The scientific name of hog plum is Spondias mombin.
The plant experiencing a surge in popularity in Nigeria due to its many health benefits.
The hog plum fruits are edible and provide the body with lots of essential nutrients and minerals. However, just about any part of the tree is medicinal. The fruit, bark, flowers, and leaves of the plant have been used in traditional medicine.
For instance, the bark of the hog plum tree is often used as a contraceptive and sometimes for treating wounds.
Nonetheless, this article will examine some of the nutritional composition and health benefits of iyeye leaves.
Nutritional Composition of Hog Plums
According to medical studies, hog Plums are highly nutritious and contain many essential compounds. One study found that the seeds are very rich in calcium, iron, and magnesium. Hog plums are also said to be rich in vitamins, particularly vitamin C. They contain flavonoids, and other phenolic compounds, which help them fight oxidative stress.
Health Benefits of Iyeye Leaves (Hog Plums)
1. Possesses antibacterial properties
One of the most important health benefits of the iyeye leaf is its antibacterial properties. This makes the leaf an effective treatment for some of the most common bacterial diseases such as gonorrhea and yaws.
The antibacterial property of the iyeye leaf is also the major reason why traditional healers often use the leaf of the plant to treat gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and dysentery.
2. May reduce the risk of heart disease
A 2010 study on the antioxidant content and effectiveness of hog plums in rat hearts stated that hog plums were loaded in antioxidants, which they compared to the heart medication ramipril. The results of the study showed hog plums reduced overall cholesterol levels and that their effect on the heart was similar to that of ramipril. Thus, hog plums may be helpful for overall heart health, but research on humans is still needed.
3. Might help treat postpartum hemorrhage
Postpartum hemorrhage remains a health challenge in maternity in many parts of Africa. A study in 2015 found that hog plum (Spondias mombin) might have a beneficial effect on postpartum hemorrhage. The study was conducted on female rats and found out that plum leaf extract exhibited an antifibrinolytic property and prevented excessive bleeding.
Thus, it might be used to facilitate childbirth, prevent or stop postpartum bleeding and might also be used to induce milk production.
4. Effective against tapeworms
Nigeria is classified among some of the most at-risk countries to experience outbreaks of worm infections like tapeworms due to the poor sanitation practices in rural and urban areas and the warm climate where worms thrive in.
Iyeye leaf has been used over time for the treatment of tapeworms. Though most people have abandoned this method for more modern and effective treatments, the leaf is still being used by some traditional healers to treat patients with tapeworms.
Most times, the leaf is boiled to extract the juice for drinking.
5. Antiseptic properties
Iyeye leaves are popular for their antiseptic properties in different cultures all over the world. For instance, in Peru, the leaf juice is often extracted and used as an antiseptic wash for wounds to clean wounds and prevent infections.
In Nigeria, the leaf also has the same application. It is used to treat some eye infections as well as wounds from cuts, sores, and burns.
6. Effective treatment against constipation
Constipation is a condition in which you have less than three bowel movements in a week. While this might not be a problem for some, it’ll result in discomfort and sometimes pain for most people.
Iyeye leaf is often used for treating constipation due to its purgative properties. To use this as a laxative, you will need to wash and boil the leaf and then drink the recommended dose.
The above are some of the most important health benefits of hog plum or iyeye leaves. Although, there is need for more research to be done to determine the effects on humans, there is no doubt that hog plums are incredibly beneficial. Remember to always consult with your doctor before using a herbal plant for treatment.
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