Morinda Lucida (Oruwo Leaves): Health Benefits and Effects

Morinda Lucida Oruwo Leaves

Oruwo leaves are a medicinal herb common in many parts of Africa. It is known as Brimstone tree in the English language, Oruwo in Yoruba Language, and Eze-ogu in the Igbo language, while its botanical name is Morinda Lucida. The roots have bitter taste, and are used as flavoring for food and alcoholic beverages.

In Nigeria, the plant stems are used as chewing sticks. For many years, the decoctions or infusions of the roots, bark, and leaves of Morinda Lucida have been used as remedies for yellow fever, malaria, trypanosomiasis, feverish condition during childbirth, and yellow fever.

Nutritional Composition of Oruwo Leaves (Morinda Lucida)

It is a very powerful herb as the whole of the plants, including the leaves, stem bark, and roots, are very rich in medicinal properties, including high contents of vitamins A, K, and E. It also contains alkaloids and phytochemicals containing highly powerful antioxidant bioactive components like flavonoids, which have immense health benefits because of its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-proliferative, anti-carcinogenic and antiviral properties. Other major constituents of Morinda lucida extracts are anthraquinones and anthraquinols. [1]

Health Benefits of Oruwo Leaves (Morinda Lucida)

Oruwo leaves are locally used in the treatment of malaria, irregular menstruation, insomnia, wounds infections and jaundice. The root bark and leaves are also used to treat different types of fever, including yellow fever and trypanosomiasis. Other ailments the herb treat and manage include diabetes, stomach ache, ulcers, dysentery, hypertension, gonorrhea and ulcers.

Due to its richness of medicinal properties, the health benefits of oruwo leaves are enormous and can be used to treat and manage several health problems. 

The following are some of the health benefits associated with oruwo leaves. 

1. Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, and Antiviral properties

Oruwo leaves have high anti-inflammatory effects that can be used in treating infections and reducing swelling in the body. The plants also has antibacterial abilities which fights against diseases and infections caused by bacteria. It works as an antibiotic that helps in treating some STIs. Oruwo leaves also release antiviral effects that help combat against diseases caused by viruses. [2]

2. Powerful Analgesic

Analgesic refers to substances that are used to relieve pains. Oruwo leaves are considered a potent pain killer because of their ability to relieve pain. Many studies have attested to the analgesic properties of Morinda Lucida. [3] [4]

3. Anti-anemia properties

Anemia is a condition where there is poor production of red blood cells in the body. It can lead to fatigue and fever. A 2019 study on the “Preventive and Curative Effect of Morinda lucida Extract on the Anemia and its Toxicological Evaluation” showed that Morinda Lucida have anti-anemia properties, as it increased the erythropoiesis and osmotic resistance of the red blood cells. [5]

4. Treats Fever

A study conducted to demonstrate the antipyretic effects of Morinda Lucida leaves of animals showed positive results. For many decades, decoctions, extracts, infusions of the root, bark, and leaves are used as remedies against different types of fever, such as yellow fever, fever from malaria, trypanosomiasis, and feverish condition during childbirth. [6]

5. Anti-malarial Properties

Numerous research studies have indicated that Morinda Lucida has powerful anti-malarial properties. A research conducted to investigate the antimalarial activities of Morinda lucida showed that it might be used to treat malaria. [7]

Morinda Lucida Oruwo Leaves

Other Possible Health Benefits of Morinda Lucida:

Might protect against cancer: Morinda Lucida leaves is said to have antioxidant properties and could help in prevent cancer.

Helps treat diabetes: The plant has anti-diabetic effects and could be useful in treating diabetes. [8]

Fights constipation: Morinda Lucida plant boosts gastric emptying and intestinal motility.

Cardioprotective properties: The plant is believed to protect the heart from hypertension and other heart diseases.

May treat Filarial infection: Extracts of Morinda lucida is suggested to be an effective herbal remedy against Filarial infection. They may have either moderate or high activity against adult worms and microfilariae. [9]

Side Effects of Morinda Lucida

A study was conducted to find out the abortifacient properties of Morinda lucida. The study was carried out on pregnant mice, and Morinda lucida caused miscarriage in the pregnant mice. That means that oruwo leaves are not good for pregnant women, as they are capable of inducing abortion by impairing the production of progesterone. [10]

Also, there are very few studies on the toxicity of Morinda lucida. One of the health effects of herbal medicines is the hepatotoxic effects. Thus, high-risk patients such as the elderly,  children, those taking several medications for chronic conditions, or congestive heart failure, should be more cautious in taking this plant. Always consult your physician first before taking this plant as a herbal medicine. Many studies still need to conducted on the plant.




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