Bitter Leaf is highly medicinal with nutrients that are beneficial to the body. As bitter as the leaf is, you’ll find it helpful in staying healthy and studies have proven to be true that the leaf has several amazing health benefits you should know.
Bitter Leaf, also known by its botanical name Vernonia Amygdalina, is a multipurpose plant with several nutritional properties. It is mostly found in West and Central regions of Africa and used as a vegetable for bitter leaf soup, healthy juice, bitter leaf tea and for other medicinal purposes.
In this part of Nigeria, the Igbos call it ‘Onugbu’, the Hausa ‘Shikawa’ and the Yoruba ‘Ewuro’. It grows under any temperature but preferably in a humid environment and it contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2.
Your taste buds may not find it as pleasant, but the advantages and uses of bitter leaf are enormous. And we have highlighted 25 amazing health benefits for you to be knowledgeable about what this special leaf can do.
1 Bitter Leaf Is A Natural Pesticide
One unique feature of bitter leaf is that its bitterness serves as an excellent pest repellent. As a natural pesticide it repels a wide range of insects. It is also widely used as an anti-parasitic. The branches are naturally resistant to termites and used as fence stakes.
2 It Reduces High Blood Pressure
The accumulation of salt in the body due to much intake produces excess sodium in the bloodstream and could result in high blood pressure. The antioxidants and potassium in bitter leaf help to reduce this sodium component and can further help with reducing blood pressure.
3 Bitter Leaf Reduces Blood Sugar Level
The Andrographolide content in bitter leaf is effective in reducing the level of glucose in the blood.
Based on research in the International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences, components such as phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients are why bitter leaf can also reduce blood sugar level in the body and reduce the risk of diabetes.
4 It Is Good For Weight Loss
It’s always not an easy task to lose weight but incorporating bitter leaf in your diet can be of immense help to achieve this. The leaf contains nutrients such as zinc, iron and fiber that can eliminate bad cholesterol and reduce excess calories in the body.
5 It Reduces Risk Of Cancer
Bitter leaf has anti-cancer properties such asandrographolide that can reduce the risk of cancer at an early stage. Evidence of the early stages are lung tumors and trophoblastic tumors, and research has proven that bitter leaf when combined with turmeric is effective in treating gastric cancer, colon, and prostate cancers.
6 Bitter leaf Enhances Fertility
Bitter leaf has tremendous value to aid fertility in both men and women. It can improve sperm quality and other sexual hormones in men.
It can stabilize women’s genital hormones, eliminate ovarian cyst and premature ovarian failure, correct abnormal menstruation, and can boost a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Bitter leaf can also aid in the detoxification of immunoglobulin for reproduction.
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7 It Can Treat Inflammation
Bitter leaf is very effective in treating inflammation, especially the most common ones of the ear and mouth. Its rich nutrient properties can also assist in quickly healing wounds on the body.
8 It Helps in Curing Insomnia
Not being able to sleep is a serious issue for many and it’s called insomnia. Bitter leaf has traditionally been used to cure insomnia. Drinking a cup of bitter leaf juice for some hours before going to bed relaxes the nerves and results in calmness needed to sleep.
9 Bitter Leaf Relieves Fever
The usage of bitter leaf is mostly associated with treating fever, malaria, and typhoid. Its antibacterial property is useful in this case and it’s highly effective in producing a faster result.
Bitter leaf’s nutritional components such as lactones, glucosides, diterpene, and flavonoids are helpful to relieve fever.
10 It Is Used to Eliminate Acne
It’s recommended to consider bitter leaf as a remedy for acne. Treating acne is a process but using bitter leaf works to eliminate the causative agents from within and you could gently rub on the acne spot for exterior effects.
Bitter leaf is a natural anti-bacterium, and its antioxidant properties can work perfectly for acne removal.
11 It’s Good For Strengthening Bones and Teeth
The presence of Vitamin K in bitter leaf makes it helpful to maintain healthy bones and prevent weakness of bone tissues also known as osteoporosis.
There is also a Vitamin C deposit in the leaf which is very important to aid a stronger tooth. This is especially good for kids for healthy teeth development.
12 Bitter Leaf Combats Free Radicals
Another benefit of bitter leaf is to fight against free radicals and reduce their harmful effects on the body. The Vitamin E component in the leaf performs this function as an antioxidant. The anti-bacterial compound in the leaf known as sesquiterpenoids helps to eradicate free radicals.
13 It Lowers Cholesterol Level
An increased cholesterol level in the body could lead to several ailments such as stroke, heart, and kidney failures. Studies reveal that the fiber content in bitter leaf can reduce cholesterol level in the body.
So, it’s advisable that to stay free from stroke or other illness, one is expected to chew bitter leaf or its liquid extracts frequently. The February 2008 issue of the “Journal of Vascular Health and Risk Management discovered that the leaf extract reduces cholesterol level by 50 percent.
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14 It Treats Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a lung inflammation disease often caused by bacteria, viruses as well as fungi. Bitter leaf is adequately potent to treat this disease and improve the overall health of the body. This leaf has been used as one of the most reliable traditional remedies to treat Pneumonia.
15 It Helps To Cure Dysentery and Pile
A glass of bitter leaf juice mixed with scent leaf and taken at least once each day is a good remedy for dysentery and pile. This combination is very potent to cure internal pile in just one week of consistent usage.
16 Bitter Leaf Relieves Stomach Ulcer and Ache
Bitter leaf is one of the famous traditional remedies for stomachache and over the years, it has been used to treat stomach ulcer, diarrhea, and constipation. Its antioxidant feature makes it a natural remedy for indigestion.
17 It Enhances Breast Milk Production
Based on research bitter leaf has been confirmed to increase break milk production in nursing mothers. It enhances milk flow between a mother and her child and aids in stimulating reproduction and childbirth.
18 It’s Good For Digestion
When converted to tea bitter leaf is useful to aid digestion and resolve gastrointestinal issues emanating from bacterial contamination of food. It is also a natural remedy for intestinal infections due to the potent antioxidants present in the leaf.
The aqueous extract of the leaf has been proven to prevent the growth of microorganisms in the body including Staphylococcus Aureus and Escherichia Coli.
19 Bitter Leaf Helps To Improve Immune System
The leaf’s rich vitamins, nutritional contents and detoxifying properties are beneficial in reducing excess fat in the body, detoxifying the blood from toxins, and boosting the immune system. It also enhances insulin production to ensure a healthy and proper body functioning.
20 Bitter Leaf Moisturizes The Skin And Improves Metabolism
Vernonia Amygdalina or bitter leaf is a natural antibiotic useful for facial cleansing and to treat several skin infections such as eczema, psoriasis, and ringworms. The vitamin extracts of the leaf are a defense against infection and can strengthen the skin tissues.
21 It Can Help To Cure Headache And Migraine
Though it’s not common to use bitter leaf to treat headache and migraine, the leaf can still function in a curative capacity. Studies have revealed that the leaf is also helpful to relieve symptoms of cold and catarrh.
Now that you’re aware of these medicinal values and benefits of bitter leaf (Vernonia Amygdalina) and you would want to give it a try, let’s sound a note of caution where over usage could result in some side effects.
What Are The Side Effects Of Bitter Leaf?
There are no terrifying side effects of bitter leaf that is known of; however, it can be harmful when abused.
Based on research and human experiences, it has been discovered that bitter leaf should not be used by pregnant women. Its multiple properties could cause miscarriage.
Obviously, anyone allergic to the leaf should avoid it completely. As beneficial as bitter leaf is, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before using the leaf as a traditional remedy for any medical concerns.