African locust beans is a local seasoning used in making soups and stews. It gives a unique aroma to local delicacies. The botanical name for the African locust beans is Parkia biglobosa. This condiment is widely used in Nigeria; indeed, the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria have different names for this condiment. While the Igbo refer to it as ogili, the Yoruba call it iru while the Hausa call it dawa-dawa.
The African locust beans can be found in a wide range of environments in Africa where it is primarily grown for its pods. The pods contain both a sweet pulp and valuable seeds that are rich in lipid (29%), protein (35%), and carbohydrate (16%). Interestingly, most people use it are ignorant of its health benefits which are recognized locally and internationally. They simply use it for the peculiar flavor it gives to local delicacies. This article will serve as an eye opener to many. The health benefits of this meal have been categorized as follows:
Locust bean consumption improves digestion. In fact, locust beans is a good source of tannins. The tannins contained in the seeds, roots, stems, barks, fruits, flowers and leaves can be used for treating gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea and ulcer.
Research has shown that consumption of locust bean helps to decrease arterial blood pressure. The leaves of the African locust bean tree contain procyanidin, which has been proven effective in reducing blood pressure. The consumption of African locust beans is also believed to help in cholesterol control. The water and alcoholic extracts of fermented locust bean is allegedly used to reduce blood sugar.
The root, bark, pod and leaves of the African locust beans can be infused, soaked and used for bathing by individuals suffering from skin infections such as leprosy and sores. It can also be applied to the skin to soothe burns. What is more, the bark of the can be crushed, ground, soaked and boiled for preparing herbal tea for treating and healing wounds.
Consumption of locust beans promotes clearer vision. People with eye defects like cataract, myopia, or glaucoma are encouraged to eat meals that are prepared with locust beans. This is because it contains natural nutrients that can maintain and improve eye health.
Locust beans infused liquid can be used in the treatment of respiratory diseases like pneumonia, cold, and cough.
The consumption of African locust beans improves dental care. The bark of the bean tree can be soaked and boiled for use as a mouthwash. This is used for treating toothache.
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