Medicinal African Spices

Medicinal African Spices
  • African Bird Pepper 

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This is a very hot and unique type of Cayenne Pepper. It helps to lower blood pressure and increase blood circulation thereby preventing the formation of blood clots. It helps to ease stomach upsets and cold/flu symptoms by decongesting the mucus. It has anti-inflammatory properties making it a good anti-allergen and helpful to people with arthritis. Cayenne peppers help to speed up your metabolism and aid digestion, thereby supporting weight loss.

  • Calabash Nutmeg (Monodora myristica)

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This is also called African Nutmeg, Jamaican Nutmeg, ‘Ariwo‘ in Yoruba and ‘Ehuru ofia‘ in Igbo. It can be found in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda Liberia, Angola, Cameroon and was later introduced to Jamaica. It has a wonderful aroma and can be used to spice vegetables, chicken/beef/lamb sauces, and soups. It is rich in vitamin C, calcium, manganese, potassium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A, and antioxidants.

Taking African nutmeg can help to improve brain function, regulate blood pressure, treat insomnia and bad breath. It can also serve as an aphrodisiac and is good for treating infections.

  • Alligator Pepper

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They are also called grains of paradise and in Nzema (a Ghanian language) it is called “essa”. This is indigenous to West Africa and is often eaten by the elders during traditional ceremonies (e.g wedding ceremonies and child naming ceremonies). They are very spicy with a nice flavour and are often added to West African chicken and beef dishes as well as spicy soups. Alligator peppers have anti-oxidising and anti- inflammatory properties. They are added to herbal medicines used for preventing and treating malaria. They prevent constipation and bloating by aiding digestion. They can be used to treat wounds and skin infections.

  • African Locust Bean

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African locust bean is commonly found in Nigeria, it is called “Iru” by the Yorubas or “dawa dawa” by the Igbos. It is added to local soups and stews to enhance the taste. It is not spicy and can often have an unpleasant smell when uncooked. It contains tannins, this makes it good for treating diarrhoea. It helps to control cholesterol and blood sugar levels; this makes it good for diabetic patients. It is also good for treating infections and enhancing eyesight.

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