Achi seed is botanically called “Brachystegia Eurycoma”, it is commonly used in the eastern part of Nigeria by the Igbos, the Akwa-Ibom/calabars. When the seed is grounded, the Achi powder is added to traditional soups and dishes.
The Igbos commonly call it Achi while the Akwa-Ibom/calabars call it “Akpa”. The seed is dry, flat & round in shape. It is an emulsifier and thickener for traditional soups in Nigeria. Once ground it is white brownish powder in colour. It is used as a thickener for soups. Also used for the flavor it gives to traditional soups such as Oha soup.
Health Benefits Of Achi
Achi has a high medicinal value in its own right and also an excellent source of anti-oxidant and rich in vitamins. Studies have shown that Achi has the following health benefits;
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory Properties
Achi extract has been been reported to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory properties. Achi achieves this by blocking pain signals to the brain or interfering with the brain’s interpretation of those signals. Anti-inflammatory agents block certain substances in the body that cause inflammation. They are used to treat many different conditions. Some anti-inflammatory agents are being studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Anti-microbial and wound healing properties
Extracts and purely isolated compounds from the plant have been reported to have anti-microbial and wound healing abilities. A 2013 study reported that the stem exudate has effective antibacterial activity and used traditionally in the treatment of wounds and infections.
Anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties
Achi is listed as a good antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Laboratory and animal research has shown antioxidants help prevent the free radical damage that is associated with cancer.
Help with Diabetes
Extracts and purely isolated compounds from the plant have been reported to have blood glucose lowering activities. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) affects people who have diabetes. Several factors can contribute to hyperglycemia in people with diabetes, including food and physical activity choices, illness, nondiabetes medications, or skipping or not taking enough glucose-lowering medication.
Promotes heart Health
This plant have been reported to have lipid lowering activities. The fact is, elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, is a major cause of heart disease. LDL causes the build-up of fatty deposits within your arteries, reducing or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen your heart needs. This can lead to chest pain and heart attack.
Liver Enzyme, and gastrointestinal motility modulation activities.
A new study suggest that the stem bark extract of Brachystegia eurycoma (Achi) possesses antidiarrheal property through antimotility and antisecretory effects possibly mediated by activity on muscarinic receptors and/or interaction with calcium channels.
Side Effects Of Achi
Toxicological evaluation of extracts from this plant did not show any significant acute and sub-acute toxicity in rodents. However Herbs can interact with conventional medicines or have strong effects.
Some herbs have potent (powerful) ingredients and should be taken with the same level of caution as pharmaceutical medications. In fact, many pharmaceutical medications are based on man-made versions of naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Do not self-diagnose or medicate with Achi. Talk to your doctor before taking herbs for medication.
Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the herbs you are taking by consulting your doctor and contacting herbal supplement manufacturers for information.
If you use herbal supplements. follow label instructions carefully and use the prescribed dosage only. Never exceed the recommended dosage, and seek out information about who should not take the supplement.
Work with a professional. Seek out the services of a trained and licensed herbalist or naturopathic doctor who has extensive training in this area.
Watch for side effects. If symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, headache, or upset stomach, occur, reduce the dosage or stop taking the herbal supplement.
Be alert for allergic reactions. A severe allergic reaction can cause trouble breathing. If such a problem occurs, call 911 or the emergency number in your area for help. Here is how to prepare Achi soup