Bitter leaf is a traditional ingredient in many African soups. Also known as Vernonia amydalia, its bitter taste makes it distinct from many other ingredients used for preparing soups.
Recent studies indicate that eating more of Bitter leaf has many potentials health benefits.
Ever heard of Bitter leaf? As its name suggests, it is a plant whose main characteristic is it bitter stem and leaves. There also exists a species of the plant which produces a ‘sweet‘ leaf. Popular in most of West Africa and named after botanist, William Vernon, its botanical name is Vernonia, it belongs to the family of Asteraceae.
Bitter leaf is also referred to as ironweed, a name coined from the intensely purple flowers which later take on a rusty hue. Bitter leaf is able to flourish in a variety of climates unlike other plants which are often native to certain areas. Although most popularly used for food, bitter leaf has also traditionally been used for its medicinal properties now proven by medical research. With around a thousand varieties, the bitter leaf plant’s uses range from antimicrobial to decorative.
Some of the most common uses are noted below.
10. STOMACH ACHE:
Chew the tender stem and swallowing the juices is a well known remedy for stomach aches. Alternatively pound the fresh leaves in a mortar to extract the juice. Add a pinch of salt to three tablespoons of the undiluted juice and drink. This version is reported to bring immediate relief.