We all know how essential salt is to our food and the role it plays in our health. But we can’t deny that salt isn’t the only compound our food needs to have a great taste.
Organic spices like Uziza have numerous health benefits and this is a plant that produces leaves and fruits (that is mostly referred to as uziza seeds) used to spice up food.
Spices are added to food to make it taste better, and to also provide the body with nutrients required to function better. Organic spices like Uziza play an essential role in helping the body rebuild its cells, repair tissues, and to synthesize essential chemicals in the body like our hormones and enzymes.
The Piper Guineese, generally known as Uziza, is a natural spice that packs plenty of nutritional benefits. Piper Guineese, locally known as Uziza is popular in Nigeria and other parts of west Africa. It is also referred to as kukauabe, Benin pepper, false cubeb, Guinea cubeb, and Ashanti pepper in several parts of West Africa.
Uziza is green when fresh, but when dried, it turns dark green, and it has a peppery taste. The leaves of Uziza can be freshly prepared by properly washing and slicing it into tiny pieces before adding it to your food. Let it cook for about 12 minutes then serve.
It can also be grounded and added to meals. Either way, you still get its tasty effect. Uziza seed, like black pepper, can also be used to prepare foods. The health benefits of Uziza are numerous, and that’s what we would be discussing in this article.
Nutritional qualities of Uziza
Uziza leaves contain the following;
- Dietary fiber
- Essential oils
The fruits produced from the Uziza tree includes 5 to 8 % of piperine, which is responsible for their flavoring taste. It is also rich in an anti-inflammatory agent known as beta-caryophyllene. Let’s not forget other active compounds like elemicin, myristicin, dillapiol, apoile, and safrole.
Health benefits of Uziza
Not just the leaves, but the fruits of Uziza are beneficial for human consumption. The Uziza tree produces Uziza leaves and Uziza fruits, which is also referred to as Uziza seed. Let’s have a look at some amazing health benefits of Uziza.
1. Prevents constipation
Constipation occurs when bowel movement becomes difficult for a couple of days. Most times, people experience constipation when there are no roughages in their food. Roughages are considered dietary fibers that assist in promoting bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Fortunately, Uziza is very rich in dietary fiber. Research has shown that adding Uziza to your meal not only guarantees the right amount of roughages, but it also helps to keep constipation at bay. However, Uziza can only be used to prevent constipation rather than treat it.
2. Relieves cough
Generally, people take spices to clear their throat. This is common with many spices, and Uziza is no exception. Like magic, this spice can clear clogged air-way, stop cough and clear mucus blocking the throat.
You can quickly grind Uziza leaves and add them to clean boiled water in a bowl. Let it stay for about 10 to 15 minutes before sieving the solution.
Sip on the warm water and enjoy it’s relaxing effect as it warms its way down your body, clearing cough and easing your breathing.
3. Prevents cancer
The leading cause of cancerous growth in the body is free radicals. When we eat anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory consistently, these free radicals will become neutralized, hence reducing the chances of the body growing cancerous cells.
Uziza has a secret compound known as flavonoid, which is a potent antioxidant that can help counter free radicals inside the body.
4. Improves fertility
Traditionally, Uziza can be applied in some local herbal concoction to treat infertility. It is taken with honey to combat infertility problems in women. It is also taken by men to improve their sperm counts.
Uziza leaves are also used in the eastern parts of Nigeria by midwives to maximize the contraction rate during childbirth.
Unfortunately, a study in Cameroon focused on the effect of the extract of dry Uziza fruits on the reproductive function of male rats(adults), found out that it maximized reproductive function after 7-8 days of treatment, but began to show adverse effects in the rats after 55 days.
This means that the long-term use of Uziza might have a negative impact on male fertility.
5. Treats diarrhea
There are some powerful minerals present in Uziza that can be taken to fight diarrhea-causing micro-organisms in the body. You can include Uziza to your meal to serve as an excellent preventive measure against diarrhea.
You could also maximize your intake of Uziza leaves if you’re already experiencing diarrhea. Don’t also forget to drink plenty of water to help you stay hydrated.
6. Reducing stomach ache
Since Uziza is a good source of roughages, it can help remedy stomach pains and help stop menstrual cramps.
More health benefits of Uziza
Other benefits of taken Uziza pepper include adding it to warm water or eaten whole in the treatment of cough, prevention of hypertension, treatment of rheumatism, prevention of diabetes, and to improve a person’s appetite.
Uziza leaves also helps to repel mosquitoes from homes. Instead of mosquito coils, people put Uziza leaves close to their beds when they sleep. This is because this magic leaf gives off a strong scent that helps to repel mosquitoes. Some insecticides are made using compounds extracted from Uziza leaves.
Pregnancy and Uziza
Many people may want to know if uziza seeds of leaves can affect fertility. While this is worth giving a thought, there are no medical shreds of evidence or links to suggest that Uziza can affect pregnancy. There’s also no proof, medically or traditionally, of Uziza being used as a contraceptive or being able to cause miscarriage.
Bear this in mind; it’s been advised that pregnant women should stay away from too much pepper, including spicy foods like Uziza, during pregnancy.
The seeds and leaves of the Uziza plant can be used to make delicious cuisines. This plant packs tons of medicinal properties that are very beneficial to our health. The seeds of this plant can be used to spice your food while the leaves can be used to prepare a delicious Uziza soup.
Have you ever had the Uziza soup before? Ever made use of the seeds in your meal? Do you know of any other health benefits of Uziza you’d like to share? Kindly drop your comments in the box below