Today, Africa and especially Ancient Egypt is mostly recognized for its pyramids, hieroglyphs, and mummies. A rich culture that lasted for over 5,000 years before Christ. Thanks to translations of documents, inscriptions as well as images, and tons of relics left behind, which provide insight into one of Africa’s ancient civilization and culture. But what you have not heard or seen are the amazing gift of medicine that Africa has given the world.
You’ve probably been seeing a lot of information about the “newest” generation of superfoods showing up at your supermarket or health food store – açaí berries from Brazil, maca root from Peru, turmeric from India, etc. You may even rely on these superfoods and herbal medicines yourself, whether it’s a Chinese ginseng capsule taken in the morning to boost your memory or even a California kale salad eaten for lunch or dinner.
But to find some of the most effective, beneficial foods on earth, you have to look to the cradle of mankind – Africa. Africa is one of the most biodiverse continents on the planet, from the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro to the long and winding Nile River. There are rainy tropical forests, dry desserts that are home to some of the most unique species in the world, vast plains traversed by zebras and wildebeests during the awe-inspiring great migration, and astonishingly diverse outlying islands like Madagascar and Seychelles.
That diversity explains why Africa is becoming an important source for nutrient-packed foods and products. “Scientists say African plants contain more nutrients than other vegetables,” proclaimed the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “For millennia, the continent’s fertile lands have provided a bountiful supply of indigenous plants for food and medicine,” reported CNN, noting that the world can benefit from the generations of knowledge passed down for thousands of years.
That knowledge includes an understanding of plants like Vernonia Amygdalina, otherwise known as bitter leaf. The bitter leaf plant is ubiquitous throughout Africa, where it has long been used as a cooking ingredient. It’s most famous use may be in ofe onugbu, or bitter leaf soup, a staple throughout Nigeria. But bitter leaf has also been used for its medicinal properties for centuries, ingested in order to support immune systems, prevent sickness, support liver functions, manage diabetes, detoxify the body – the list of benefits goes on and on.
After observing these uses and benefits, scientists from around the world have begun studying the effects of African plants like bitter leaf and the results have been extremely promising. A University of Texas study found that bitter leaf can reduce the risk of breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes, two chronic diseases that will impact millions of people. In the U.S. alone, 1 out of every 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, while the Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 100 million Americans are living with diabetes or prediabetes. A Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Laboratory study from Jackson State University also noted that bitter leaf inhibited prostate cancer growth.
Meanwhile, the Journal of Vascular Health and Risk Management reported that bitter leaf can reduce bad cholesterol (it reduced it a whopping 50% in an animal model), while Food Chemistry reported that bitter leaf has an abundance of antioxidants. These types of results are likely just the beginning, with a wide variety of additional studies currently measuring an array of different of health and medical benefits currently underway.
Of course, one of the issues that many people have with bitter leaf can be found right in the name – it’s bitter. Many bitter foods are beneficial to your health because they jumpstart the digestive system and are believed to support probiotics, including foods like apple cider vinegar, bitter greens like arugula, and fruits like grapefruit, but that doesn’t mean it’s always enjoyable to eat very bitter foods. Luckily, the interest in African herbal medicines and foods like bitter leaf is driving the development of new products like dietary supplements that concentrate the benefits of these ingredients without the bitter taste.
At a time when we’re all looking for ways to support our body and health with clean ingredients that we feel good about eating, it may be time to rediscover the traditional foods and medicines that humans have been relying on for thousands of years. There’s no better place to seek out those natural plants and ingredients than the source itself – Africa. In the continent of Africa, traditional African medicine seems to be much more prevalent compared to conventional, Western medicine. In West Africa, for instance, it has been estimated that between 70-80% of the population rely on traditional medicine. Many big pharmaceutical companies and Research institutions are now beginning to pay attention to Africa. Nature Herbal Life, Inc., an America company is leading the way with their development of Bitter Leaf Capsules. WWW.NATUREHERBALLIFE.COM
Of a truth, bitter leaf is good for one’s health.
Way to go- back to African herbal cures
-Africa is the source of medecines!