Gongonema latifolium, commonly known as Utazi, is a Heart-shaped leaf with a sharp, bittersweet taste. Utazi leaves are widely known in traditional medicine and used to treat various ailments.
The leaves, which can be chewed, infused, or used for cooking, are used primarily in the Western part of Africa for nutritional and medicinal reasons. It is used in preparing local delicacies in Nigeria, such as nkwobi, isi ewu, Abacha, ugba, plantain porridge, and soup. The parts commonly used are leaves, stem, and root.
Utazi is widespread in the tropical rainforest of West African countries, such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Senegal. It’s locally called Utazi (Igbo) & Arokeke (Yoruba), Nyiya yeyako in Sierra Leone, Gasup in Senegal, and Aborode – Aborode in Ghana.
Health Benefits of Utazi Leaves.
Boosts fertility :
There are different approaches to solving fertility issues, and using utazi is one of them. Women with fertility problems should boil Utazi leaves with some lime juice, honey and drink one glass of it daily during their period days. Men can also use Utazi leaves for sperm count treatment. For this, take a ½ bottle of lime juice and mix it with honey. One shot of this drink twice per day will be enough.
The effect of this treatment may not be as quick as you might like. But be patient, and this natural medicine will surely help you. If you want to boost your fertility and be healthier – eat some Utazi leaves daily. The fresh leaves can be chewed, added to meals, or used as an extract for a drink.
Utazi leaf has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The external application of cut leaves or paste can reduce pain and fasten the healing process. Chewing utazi leaf or taking its tea can also help relieve internal pains. The historical records also reveal that utazi leaves were used to massage joints and treat children who had difficulties in walking.
Maintains Blood Sugar level:
Utazi is used traditionally for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The components in the leaves have a positive effect on the blood glucose levels, thereby reducing the glucose in the blood. Utazi also controls blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
The detoxification properties positively influence the liver, too, mainly being an effective cure for viral hepatitis and bilharzia. The leaves are sometimes used to prevent drunkenness and intoxicating effect of alcohol.
The utazi leaves also stimulate the digestive system by increasing appetite and normalizing metabolism. It is safe to use as a home treatment of appetite loss, stomach ache, dysentery, and intestinal worms.
Treatment of Cold and Flu:
Utazi leaves soaked in hot water are an excellent way to deal with a cough, running nose, chest pains, and a headache, caused by the cold.
Asthmatic patients can chew the fresh leaves of utazi to relieve wheezing, while a cold maceration of the roots of the plant can be consumed as treatment for asthma.
A decoction of the roots, combined with other plant species, is taken to treat sickle cell anemia.
Treatment of Malaria:
Utazi has been used traditionally for malaria treatment. The anti-plasmodial properties of the plant make it a local cure for malaria.
Saponins and flavonoids, which are found in utazi, possess antioxidant properties and help to clear the human organism from toxins. Thus, consuming utazi leaves helps to improve overall well-being.
The antioxidant properties help treat cancer. They help to destroy free radicals and strengthen the cells from the inside, making them more effective in protecting the body from dangerous formations.
Utazi can be used to cleanse the womb and treat abdominal pain after childbirth. Lactating mothers can use utazi to control their body weight as well as maintain a healthy body system.