The Untold Health Benefits Of Ọshiọshiọ.



The topical forest of Africa is rich in plants of immense pharmaceutical importance.
According to Foladun (2010), plants have always been a component of mankind’s healthcare system. This is either directly or indirectly.
Directly, the plant parts like leaves, fruits, stem, bark, roots etc. or even the whole plant are themselves used in the treatment of illnesses. While indirectly, the plants form a biochemical template for the eventual development of what is referred to as orthodox medicines. Global trends toward the use of herbal medicines have also had an impact on the young generation of Africans (especially in Nigeria, Cameroon) who have accepted the strong yet safe healing power of herbal medicines.
Most herbal plants or parts of such plants are used as ingredient in soup preparation.

In West Africa, the plant Tetrapleura tetraptera, known in Igbo as "ọshiọshiọ, iyọkiliyọ or ọsakirisa", in Yoruba as "aridan", English as "aidan fruit" and in Ghana as "Prekese" is used as a spice, a medicine and as a dietary supplement rich in vitamins.
Among the Anioma people of Delta State, both the leaves of the plant and the fruit are used in preparing the popular "nsala and ofe akwụ" (Palm-nut soup because of its medicinal benefits).

The plant belongs to the family of indehiscent plants such as the popular West African Oil bean tree (Ụgbaa) and it is found in most parts of West Africa.

In this article, we are examining the health benefits of Ọshiọshiọ.

1. Diabetes

Ọshiọshiọ Fruit Juice
According to a test conducted using lower mammals as specimen (Rats) it was found that Tetrapleura tetraptera is very beneficial in controlling type II diabetes mellitus. It was also found that the fruit extract was beneficial in lowering blood glucose levels in both fasting and nonfasting in-vivo conditions.

2. Fever And Enema

In most African societies, a person who is recuperating from a medical condition is often asked to bathe with water soaked with whole fruit. This also gives fast relief from feverish conditions. Similar infusion also helps people suffering from constipation, enema, and emetic.

3. Mosquito Repellent

The strong aromatic property of the fruit makes it effective for use as mosquito repellent. This property is attributed to the presence of some essential oils in it.

4. Pospartum Care

Ọshiọshiọ pod is effectively as an additive in the hot "nsala soups" which is served to postpartum mother to avoid contraction. The pods are rich in potassium, iron, and calcium which are the three most important ingredients required for postpartum woman. The soup also helps in the production of milk in new mothers and helps to restore the lost blood.

5. Wound Healing Properties

Wet fruit extract of the dry Ọshiọshiọ has very good wound healing properties. Traditionally the aqueous extract from the fruit is used for healing which is proved scientifically too. However, the low concentration (200mg/ml) of the extract proved to be more efficient than when high concentration (2000mg/ml) extract was taken. This is according to a study conducted at the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
The study recommended that to obtain optimum result, the fruit extract should be used in low concentration for healing wounds.
The dry fruit extract is prepared by heating the ground sample in distilled water.
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With assistance from Nwokolo Roseline (Photographs), Temitope Hassan (B.Sc Biological Sciences), Onwordi Ngozi Fortune (B.tech, Biotechnology) and A. Falodun (Herbal Medicine in Africa-Distribution, Standardization and Prospects. Research Journal of Phytochemistry, 4: 154-161.).

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