Osu fruit is a round yellow fruit about 5 cm wide. It contains 12 or more disc-shaped seeds enclosed in its jelly-like pulp and has various nutritional values. The scientific name of osu fruit is Hunteria umbellata, and it belongs to the Apocynaceae family. The fruit is also known as ‘nkpokiri’ in Igbo language, ‘Erin’ or ‘Abere’ in Yoruba, and ‘Osu’ by the Edo people of Nigeria. The plant is cultivated in many parts of Nigeria and has been used for numerous local medicinal purposes.
This article discusses the nutritional composition and potential health benefits of osu fruit.
Nutritional Composition of Osu Fruit (Hunteria umbellata)
A 2009 study conducted a phytochemical screening of the fruit and discovered the presence of simple sugars, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and steroidal compounds. Another study found that the fruit was a good source of macro and micro nutrients with Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, Iron, Manganese present in decent quantities.
Health Benefits of Osu Fruit (Hunteria umbellata)
Here are some of the possible benefits health benefits of osu fruit based on some medical studies.
1. Could be used to treat fever
There’s some medical evidence that suggests that Hunteria umbellata possess antipyretic properties, which simply means it can be used to treat fever. One study found out that aqueous extract of the fruit pulp of Hunteria umbellata produced antipyretic effects comparable to that of aspirin.
2. May boost male sexual health
According to some studies, osu fruit may be useful in boosting sexual health in men. A 2018 study discovered that extracts of Hunteria umbellata possessed erection-stimulating abilities by inhibiting some of the key enzymes that cause erectile dysfunction. Another 2019 study stated that Hunteria umbellata could be useful in managing the male sexual-related disorder because it improved nitric oxide levels and reduced arginase activity in men. It was also said to have male-fertility-enhancing activities. Thus, the fruit might also have aphrodisiac properties.
3. Maintains cholesterol level
This fruit helps in regulating the level of cholesterol in the body. There are several medical studies that attest to this claim. One 2010 study showed that the fruit has antihyperlipidaemic effects and can be used to manage hyperlipidaemia. Another animal study confirmed that the fruit improved serum levels, and High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as the “good cholesterol.” It also improved heart health.
4. Analgesic properties
There are a plethora of reports on the folkloric use of Hunteria umbellata in the local management of pain. One particular study showed that the plant possesses an analgesic effect, which helped to manage pain.
5. Treats obesity
The Hunteria Umbellata is an effective remedy for excessive weight. It helps in burning down accumulated fat in the body with the antioxidants contained in it. Numerous studies have stated that taking the fruit often can with losing weight.
6. Proper functioning of the liver
This amazing fruit ensures the effective functioning of the liver with its antioxidant properties. A 2018 study assessed the hepatoprotective activity of the seeds of Hunteria umbellata on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced liver damage in Wistar albino rats. The results of the study showed that the plant protects the liver.
7. Effective in treating diabetes
One proven way to reduce the effect of diabetes is with the use of osu fruit. A lot of people have claimed that the fruit has helped them with diabetes, and they are not wrong. There is a significant amount of scientific evidence which suggests that osu fruit can actually help with diabetes.
A 2009 study investigated the hypoglycemic activity of aqueous seed extract of Hunteria umbellata in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The study discovered the extract possesses notable hypoglycemic effects in diabetic rats, possibly through increased glycogenesis.
Another 2018 study bolded stated that the plant could be used as a potent anti-diabetic drug. While a 2013 study found a compound erinidine, which was said to be the possible antihyperglycemic agent in Hunteria umbellata.
Potential Side Effects of Hunteria Umbellata
A study that conducted an evaluation of the toxicity of Hunteria umbellata reported that it has a relatively low oral toxicity profile, but prolonged use, especially at high doses, should be with great caution.
Another study found out that prolonged use of the fruit caused thrombocytosis — a disorder in which your body produces too many platelets.
However, it is important to consult with a certified physician first before using the fruit or plant as a form of treatment.
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