Bitter leaves otherwise known as Vernonia amygdalina is an important component of many local cuisine especially in the tropics where it is used in the preparation of soups, dishes or for medicinal purposes. A recent study published in the journal of food biochemistry exposed the huge potentials of the plant.
- Anti-Cancer Properties
Annually an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease. The number of new cases of cancer is 454.8 per 100,000 men and women per year, cancer is increasingly becoming a public health nightmare. Bitter leaf is one of the few plants with huge anti-cancer properties, it has been shown to be useful in the management of hydatidiform mole, trophoblastic tumor and lung tumor which was the forerunner of cancer.
- Blood Pressure Control
Bitter leaves have shown very significant effect on blood pressure regulation. A clinical study which analyzed the impact of bitter leaf on low density lipoproteins(LDL) and High density Lipoprotein (HDL) showed that bitter leaf decreased bad fat (LDL) cholesterol by nearly half, while simultaneously raising good fat (HDL) cholesterol levels. In addition the high levels of potassium in plant has been linked to the plants ability to reduce blood pressure, it therefore useful in the management of hypertension
- Gastro intestinal Disturbances
For centuries bitter leaf has been used in the management of gastrointestinal disturbance arising from bacterial contamination of food, especially bacillary dysentery caused by Shigella species. In addition, aqueous extract of the leaves have been shown to prevent the growth and proliferation of many microorganism including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli
- Cure For Headaches, Migraine And Flu
The ability of bitter leaf to cure headaches especially tension headache and migraine have been well documented over the years, it has also been shown to be helpful in relieving symptoms associated with cold and catarrh.
- Anti-Diabetic Properties
A research published in the American journal of Biochemistry and biotechnology reported that bitter leaf is very useful in the reduction of blood glucose, as such bitter leaf is a very useful plant in the management of diabetes and other blood sugar related conditions.
Bitter leave is widely available in the tropics and easy to plant and manage. Growing this plant in the family garden is a common practice in West Africa especially Nigeria where it is used to make a variety of concoction, soups and delicacies.
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