Ewedu: What Yorubas Saw That You Are Not Seeing

Have you seen that green slimy soup, Ewedu (Corchorus spp.), in the plate of a Yoruba person?

One thing with the soup is the way it is cooked and mashed with a broom.

Although, these days, some good-looking mashing tools have been devised to take away the feeling the broom brings.

Indeed, some persons just hate the soup because of this broom factor.

Another thing about Ewedu soup is that you need to add stew to it and or gbegiri for you to get the delicious taste.

However, there is something about this Ewedu that makes it a great meal, cherished by people in Western Nigeria. 

Nigerians in the this region eat Ewedu on a regular basis. In fact, it is their favourite soup.

Ewedu, also referred to as Jute, is a leafy green vegetable that has been used as remedy in many cultures.

In the northern part of Nigeria, “rama” is its name. Some Igbo speaking Deltans call it Keren-kere.

Basically, different tribes in Nigeria prepare this vegetable differently.

However, you do not really need to prepare your Ewedu the way the Yoruba ethnic group do.

You can blend your Ewedu to get the texture that is similar with the one mashed with broom.

However you want to achieve the smooth texture, bear in mind that you retain most of the nutrients in vegetables when you eat them whole.

The health benefit of this vegetable is huge and ahead of other tribes the Yorubas saw these benefits.

What Are The Beneficial Compounds In Ewedu?

First, it is important to mention that you can use the leaf as juice, fried leaf, as laxatives.

It could be added to creams for skin care, and as a treatment for a wide range of diseases.

The leaf is loaded with different medicinal compounds. The compounds which we will highlight here should make you consider adding it to your diet.

According to a study, Ewedu contains as much as 17 active nutrients compounds.

These compounds are protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, ash, Calcium, Potassium, iron, sodium, phosphorous, beta-carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, etc (1).

Also, Ewedu contains vitamin C, vitamin E,  and other antioxidants.

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Here are the amazing benefits of Ewedu that you should know.

1.       Boosts Immune System

Jute leaf boosts immune system because it is rich in vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a very important vitamin that humans need.

Among other things, this vitamin helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection.

Also, it aids the activation of the B vitamin, folic acid, the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and the conversion of the amino acid, tryptophan, to the neurotransmitter, serotonin (2).

2.      Boosts Fertility

According to a study, the folic acid content in Ewedu is substantially higher than that of other folacin-rich vegetables. It has ca 800 micrograins per 100g (ca 75% moisture) or ca 3200 micrograms on a zero moisture basis (3).

Interestingly, a prospective cohort study of 3895 Danish women who were planning a pregnancy between 2007 and 2011 found something great about folic acid.

At the end of there study, researchers found that women who took folic acid had increased conception rate (4).

Therefore, it makes sense to add Ewedu to your diet if you are trying to conceive.

3.      Strong Bone

As mentioned earlier, this leaf is a rich source of calcium and this makes it great for strong bone and teeth.

Nutritional fact of Ewedu
Nutritional Fact Of Ewedu

4.     Eye Sight

Vitamin A and Beta Carotene and few other compounds in this vegetable are great for eyesight.

A study highlights that an Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), sponsored by the federal government’s National Eye Institute, found that supplementation with vitamins C and E, β-carotene, zinc, and copper at levels well above the recommended daily allowances reduced the risk of developing advanced age-related eye problem (5).

5.      Improves Heart Health

Ewedu contains antioxidants that help protect the body against antibodies and also lower cholesterol level in the blood.

A study says the antioxidants in Ewedu are flavonoids, saponins, tannins, steroids and triterpenes.

Studies have showed that flavonoids among other antioxidants in Jute leaf lower risk of heart-related diseases.

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A 2018 study says flavonoids have potential to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals (6).

6.      Smooth And Clear Skin

Among the essential vitamins that slow aging and improve skin texture, are vitamin C and E.

These vitamins are in the leaf.

Basically, to use for skin, squeeze it and extract the water. You can then apply this water on your skin.

Also, you can also blend and use the blend as facemask.

You can also dry the leaves and grind to powder form. You can add the powder to your cream.

This will remove blemishes from your skin and slow aging.

7.      Ewedu Lowers Cancer Risk

Some of the antioxidants in the vegetable are Triterpenes. These antioxidants are known to inhibit the grow of tumour cells in the body.

The build up of toxins in the body could trigger the growth of tumour or promote the enlargement of the one already existing in the body.

With the presence of these antioxidants, Jute leaf is absolutely a good vegetable to consume as often as you can.

According to a 2011, study triterpenes have positive effect against colon, breast, prostate, and melanoma cancers (7).

8.      Diabetes

Interestingly, studies have also shown that antioxidants are helpful for diabetics.

According to a study, antioxidants such as N-acetylcysteine, vitamin C and α-lipoic acid are effective in reducing diabetic complications (8).

It may be beneficial either by ingestion of natural antioxidants or through dietary supplementation. vitamin C and α-lipoic acid.

However, the study highlighted that the safety and efficacy of antioxidant supplementation in any future treatment, remains to be established.

9.     Protects Against Cell Damage

Vitamins A, C and E present in “jute leaf/Saluyot “spongeup” free radicals, scooping them up before they can commit cellular sabotage”.

Every day we come in contact with toxins that damage cells in our body.

If we have enough antioxidants and immune booting nutrients in our foods, they will power our body enough to fight these toxins.

This leaf provides you enough antioxidants that will clean out these antibodies.

10.      Ewedu Helps Healing Of Wound

Vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, copper, and iron are necessary nutrients the body needs for wounds to heal faster.

The compounds are present in Jute leaf. Anyone with wound could squeeze some of this leaf and apply on the wound.

This will help improve the presence of the compounds that would make the wound heal fast.

Other Health Benefits Of Ewedu

According to a research, the vegetable is a good remedy for cystitis, dysuria, fever, and bacterial infections.

The study found that petroleum ether extract of C. olitorius (a specie of Ewedu) leaves presented a good activity against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Yersinia enterocolitica, 20 mm, 19 mm and 19 mm, respectively (9).

To maximise the bacterial property of the leaf, it is advised that you squeeze and drink the juice of this leaf.

Cooking it reduces the properties.

How To Cook Ewedu

Now that you can see the health benefits of this leaf that is most popular among the Yorubas, find reasons to add them to your diet.

If you do not want to cook it the way the western Nigerians prepare theirs, you can cook it in different other ways. Just be creative about it.

The most important thing is that you add it to your diet and get the nutrient.

For instance, in Delta State, southern Nigeria, mothers boil the leaf with little palm oil for few minutes, take it out and pound in mortar.

When it is smooth, you add it back in the soup after you have added other ingredients that you need to have in the soup.

Allow to cook for few minutes and then it is ready. Remember to add salt to taste.

We have cited researches that have been carried out on the leaf and its compounds so that you see how to maximise its benefits.

If you find the article article helpful, kindly share with your friends and loved one so they will know the benefits of Ewedu.


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