Ofor seeds are seed gotten from the detarium microcarpum plant. The stems bark, roots, and leaves are used for various medicinal purposes. However, in many parts of West Africa, ofor seeds are commonly used as a soup thickener. It is very popular in Nigeria, and is commonly called ‘ofor‘ by the Igbos, while the Yorubas call it ‘ogbogbo,’ and the Hausas call it ‘Taura.’
Ofor seeds are ground into powder and used to thicken soups. The powder has a gelatinous texture and stickiness, which makes it an effective soup thickener. It gives the soup a nice and tasty flavor.
The seeds of the plant have been said to have many medicinal properties. Over the years, it has been used to treat ailments, and prevent diseases. This article discusses the nutritional composition and health benefits of ofor seeds.
Nutritional Composition of Ofor Seeds
A 2017 study investigated the nutritional properties of ofor seeds and other common soup thickeners in Nigeria. The study found out that ofor seeds contain high levels of fiber, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin.
Furthermore, a phytochemical analysis of Brachystegia nigerica showed the presence of alkaloids, tannins, saponins, and flavonoids.
Health Benefits of Ofor Seeds (Brachystegia nigerica)
The following are the health benefits of Brachystegia nigerica plants, including the seeds.
1. Rich in nutrients
The first and obvious health benefit of ofor seeds is that it is packed with so many nutrients and vitamins. The plant and seeds are full of essential nutrients which are needed by the body to perform vital functions. Hence, using ofor seeds to cook will give you the necessary nutrients and vitamins you need.
2. Lowers blood glucose
A 2018 study on the nutritional and medicinal values of Brachystegia nigerica found that they showed blood glucose-lowering activities. Another 2015 study investigated the antidiabetic property of Brachystegia eurycoma seeds in rats. The study claimed that the seeds contains flavonoids and phenolic acids that displayed antidiabetic activity in the rats.
3. Might prevent cancer
Brachystegia eurycoma seeds are said to be rich in powerful antioxidants, which may be useful in preventing cancers. In numerous medical research, extracts of Brachystegia eurycoma were able to destroy free radicals that cause cancer.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
Brachystegia eurycoma has been reported to contain anti-inflammatory properties. In animal studies, it was able to fight edema and inflammation. The results of the studies suggested that the plant has considerable anti-inflammatory abilities.
5. Wound healing abilities
In the past, ofor seeds were used for treating wounds because they had wound healing abilities. Some medical research has attested to this also. In one study, Brachystegia eurycoma were able to heal wound faster when used alone. The study reported that Brachystegia eurycoma had antimicrobial properties, which tackled microbial contamination of the wounds, and made them heal faster.
Other different studies have stated that the plant has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
6. Might help in treating ulcer
Ofor seeds might help in the treatment of ulcers. In one study conducted in 2012, Brachystegia eurycoma extract showed significant anti-ulcerogenic activity. This means that it aids in treating ulcer symptoms.
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