Utazi is a common vegetable that has a mildly bitter taste.
It belongs to the family of plants known as Asclepiadaceae and it is widespread in the tropical rainforest of West African countries, such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Senegal, etc.
In southern eastern Nigeria where it is commonly grown, It is called Utazi while the Yoruba know it as Arokeke.
It is known for enhancing the taste of soups and has numerous health benefits.
Here are 9 health benefits of Utazi leaf.
1. Boosts the immune system
One of the benefits of Utazi leaves is their anti-oxidant properties.
It possesses anti-oxidants that help to fight free radicals in the body that may cause harm to the body’s organs.
The immune system benefits from this as it helps to give it a healthy boost. It does so by enhancing its ability to cure infections and prevent a range of diseases in the body.
2. Acts a detoxifier
Detoxification is a way the liver gets rid of waste substances.
Consumption of Utazi can help to improve the liver overall function, thereby preventing it from overworking.
This can also improve or prevent other liver diseases like hepatitis caused by liver inflammation and also eases intoxication.
3. Relieves pain
Utazi is also used to relieve pain in parts of the body. For example, rubbing Utazi leaves on cuts and bruises can help to significantly reduce the pain from the injury as well as stop the bleeding, if any. It is also used to treat and manage internal pain, like pain in the muscles and joints.
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4. Prevents the growth of cancer cells
Utazi leaves may help in the prevention of cancer cell growth in the body. The anti-inflammatory and ant-oxidant property it has is the reason for this.
The extract/juice can help to inhibit the activities of these free radicals from causing diseases and inflammation that can lead to the damage of the DNA which causes cancer.
5. Effective for post-pregnancy treatment
Utazi is consumed by nursing mothers to counter the effect of pregnancy. It is used to reduce the size of the stomach following delivery, clean the uterus, and also help with weight loss. It also helps restore the body after the period of pregnancy.
6. Lowers blood sugar
Utazi leaves also help in the reduction of the body’s glucose level. This can be a great sign of relief for diabetic patients.
It can help to manage some diabetic symptoms and regulate blood sugar due to its anti-oxidant property.
Many local medicine practitioners use Utazi leaves to produce effective medication for patients suffering from diabetes mellitus.
7. Improves bowel movement
Digestion and constipation affect the bowel movement either negatively or positively. There have been testimonies from people who have taken Utazi leaves for this reason.
It is effective in improving digestion, easing, and preventing constipation. It does so by making the stool soft, as passing out hard stool is always a result of constipation.
Also, it helps to improve other related ailments such as diarrhea and stomach cramps.
8. Acts as a treatment of malaria
Before the introduction of pills and drugs, Utazi has been used in treating malaria. It is either used alone or mixed with other plants to create a potent herb that would remove malaria from the body and help restore good health. Some studies have found out that Utazi leaves have antiplasmodial properties.
9. Treats bacterial infections
The anti-bacterial properties in Utazi leaf make it effective for the treatment of bacteria-causing infections such as Staphylococcus aureus (staph).