Uziza leaf, piper guineense, is a popular leaf in the eastern part of Nigeria.
It is a medicinal plant that has wide application in African traditional medicine.
Basically, in this modern age, people add it to soups to boost the nutrient and aroma.
The Yoruba tribe call it ‘Iyere’ while the Efik and Ibibio tribes call it ‘Etinkene’. Edo people refer to it as Ebe-ahinhi akpoke’.
‘Uziza soup’, is common in the eastern part of Nigeria. Preparation is often with palm nuts (banga).
However, not very many persons know what they benefit from uziza leaves or seeds when they eat them.
Interestingly, the medicinal use of uziza has propelled many researches, with its compounds identified.
In 2016, a study identified the major compounds as Monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and benzenoids.
Fortunately, of the three compounds, researches abound on the health benefits of Monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
1. Monoterpenes In Uziza
A 2014 study wrote that monoterpenes belongs to the group of isoprenoids containing ten carbon atoms.
It is often present in most plants.
According to the research, both natural monoterpenes and their synthetic derivatives are endowed with various pharmacological properties.
As identified by researches, this compound found in uziza leaf and seeds has great potential in the treatment of some chronic diseases.
The compound is used as antimalarials and are responsible for a range of other effects.
It is also great for the prevention of neurodegeneration, antimigraine activity, analgesic and sedative activities.
Also, sesquiterpene is also great for the treatment of ailments such as diarrhoea, flu and burns.
As a result of the presence of these compounds in Uziza, the leaves and seeds have great health benefits for you.
You can add it to your ogbono soup to experience a new feel and taste.
Health Benefits Of Uziza
1. Uziza Antifungal Property
Fungal infection is one of the common infections that women have.
Adding uziza leaf to your diet could help prepare your system to fight the fungi.
Indeed, monoterpenes identified in a study, perform this function.
According to the study, this compound has antifungal properties against Aspergillus and Candida strains.
Also, another study reported that results obtained showed that P. guineense fruit and leaf extracts have activity against human pathogenic bacterial and fungal strains.
Furthermore, it is potent against multidrug-resistant pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The extracts of uziza were active against the tested bacterial and fungal strains with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values ranging from 19 to 2500 µg/mL.
Significant antifungal and antibacterial activity were observed against Sarcina.
Again, methanol extract from the fruit showed positive effect against Enterobacter aerogenes, Candida albicans, Bacillus cereus, Candida glabrata and Candida tropicalis
As earlier state, uziza is potent against some form of bacteria.
A 2019 study stated that extracts of P. guineense could lower lipid peroxidation. This then prevents inflammation and oxidative damage.
Furthermore, it is good for the treatment of dysentery.
Because the seeds and leaves are rich in antioxidants, it is able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
According to the 2014 study, monoterpene compounds effectively inhibited the growth of leukemia, hepatoma and melanoma cells as well as pancreatic and colon cancer cells.
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Basically, a compound, myrcene, in uziza is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It is also helpful in the fight against cancer by inhibiting the grow of cancer cells.
Also, myrcene in uziza makes it a great anti-inflammatory agent. Really, if you have eaten uziza soup before you will notice that it gives this calm feeling in the stomach and even nerves.
6. Uziza Is Great For Your Heart
According to researches, uziza contains a compound that promotes relaxation of smooth muscle tissue.
A compound, carvacrol, is a monoterpenic phenol that could lower blood pressure.
According to a research, this compound decreased the heart rate, mean arterial pressure and systolic and diastolic blood pressure of anesthetized rats.
7. Lowers Ulcer Risk
In addition, some sesquiterpene lactones protect the gastric lining from ulcer development.
Uziza is good for fertility as identified in some researches.
P. guineense extracts are useful in the treatment of fertility disorder.
According to the 2019 research, Uziza showed ability to stimulate sexual behavior.
9. Cough And Intestinal Diseases
Also, the infusions and decoctions from the fruits of uziza are remedies for bronchitis.
It could also be used for the treatment of cough, and intestinal diseases.