Once we hear vegetables…what comes to mind is some shredded or cut up leaves that serve as side dish. But, you know you can be creative with vegetables…making your meal time satisfying as well as “fit for life.” A lot of researches have shown plants as very potent in alleviating many ailments.
Importance of vegetables summarised
Vegetables are edible parts of plants that are consumed whole or in parts, raw or cooked as part of main dish. Nigeria, and other tropical countries of the world are blessed with varieties of vegetables some of which are domesticated, while others grow wild. It is estimated that up to 2.7 million lives could potentially be saved each year if fruits and vegetables consumption are sufficiently increased World Health Organisation (WHO, 2002). The health benefits of diet, rich in vegetables have also been recognized and there is evidence that nutrient content – such as dietary fibre, folate, antioxidants, vitamins and phyto-chemicals are associated with low risk of cardiovascular diseases (Strandhagen, 2000; WHO, 2002).Vegetables have a low glycemic index and as such are associated with low risk of type II diabetes and coronary heart disease; prolonged satiety responses which leads to weight control (Joffe and Robertson, 2001; WHO, 2003).
This article shall highlight some of the species and how they can be used to treat common ailments:
Telfairia occidentalis (Ugu in Igbo):
Anemia: efficient in building up or renewing cells and tissues as well in the treatment of anaemia.
Thick fresh juice of the leaves is used.
Convulsion and stroke: Thick fresh juice of the leaves with a pinch of sea salt.
Talinum triangulare; (water leaves), gbure, mgbologi:
Waterleaf vegetable is very abundant during the rainy season. The vegetable is eaten cooked, in salads and in soups. It is reported by experts to be rich in mineral salts and amino acids as well as having anti-scorbutic properties.
Constipation- Pound a handful roots (60 or so), add 1L of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain. Take ½ tumbler 1-2 X daily to restore free bowel movement.
Same Decoction used for constipation. Dosage: 1tumbler 30 minutes before meals, 3 X daily. Note: for better results, add equal quantity of plantain roots along with water leaf roots. Do not forget to drink a lot of water.
Bryophyllum pinnatum: African-never die, resurrection plant; òda-opuee (Igbo), abamoda (Yoruba):
Elevated blood pressure and stroke: Chew 2-3 leaves with some slices of white onion, 3 X daily. If the stroke victim is unconscious, instill some drops of the juice into the nostril as well as unto the navel.
Epilepsy and convulsion: Also chew 3 leaves with some slices of onions, 3 X daily. Whilst the attack is on, instill some juice into the nostrils.
Poison Antidote: Chew some leaves and drink plenty water
Cough: Juice the leaves and add a pinch of sea salt. Take a shot 3 X daily.
Candidiasis: Douche with juice of the leaves (strain properly) 1-2 X daily.
Bladder infection: Decoction of the leaves. 1teacup, 2 times daily.
Ceiba pentandra: Silk Cotton tree, akpuogwu (Igbo), araba (Yoruba):
Abdominal complaints, diarrhea, hernia, heart problems, asthma and hemorrhoid: Decoction of the stem bark. One tumbler, 2 X daily.
Toothache and gingivitis: Gargle with decoction of stem bark 3 X daily.
Sores, ulcers and cancerous sore: the bark is pulverized and soaked in ethanol for 24 hours. Apply topically on affected parts.
Menstrual pains (dysmenorrhea): Powdered bark is added to hot pap, or freshly boiled water and drank 3 X daily.
Euphorbia heterophylla- Good purge plant:
Chronic constipation: Boil a handful and use the extract to prepare a meal of millet (preferably, whole & fermented). The water can be used to prepare plantain porridge without oil. When eaten, this has a laxative effect.
The dried leaves can be taken as infusion 2-3 X daily.
Solnanum (Garden egg), akwukwo ofe (Igbo):
Dizziness- Good quantity of the leaves are chewed.
Fatigue and as tonic: Infusion of powdered leaves. 1 teacup 3 X daily.
Diabetes – Extract of leaves regulates blood sugar. 1 teacup 2 X daily.
Constipation: Infusion of leaves. 1 teacup, 3 X daily.
Also eat generous quantities of leaves and fruits to promote free bowel movement and to aid in digestion.
Sore mouth and tongues (thrush): Gargle with infusion of leaves several times a day.
Cabbage: can be taken raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed, stuffed as well as juiced for constipation, colds, flu, ulcer and even premature aging.
Cold and flu -taking cabbage extracts may help you recover from flu faster and even with less severe symptoms.
Ulcer– raw cabbage has been shown to relieve excess stomach acid, pain and cure stomach ulcers. Fermented cabbage juice is very potent and seems to be about as effective as regular antacids in relieving gas and pain associated with stomach ulcers. It may also interest you to know that fermented cabbage juice provides a high density source of a wide range of beneficial live bacteria which assist in the digestive process as well. For best results, combine with carrots:
Raw cabbage/carrot juice recipe for ulcer: Dice some carrots and juice them. Cut cabbage into tiny portions and also juice them. Put the juice from the carrots and cabbage on a strainer and press with a spoon to extract the juice. Allow the juice to stand for 6-24 hours. Then refrigerate.
Drink 1cup 3 times a day, 30 minutes before each meal, for at least 1 to 2 weeks.