Lagos Spinach is one of Nigeria’s most common vegetable fortunately found in western Nigeria and used in the preparation of Efo riro.
In Nigeria, Lagos spinach is locally called sokoyokoto or Efo Soko in Yoruba ( which means make husbands fat and happy), Aborra in Edo; farar alayyafoo in Hausa; and eriemionu in Igbo.
In Malawi, it’s called Kaphikautesi. It’s also called Mfungu in Swahili, Avounvo in the Republic of Benin, Ekaliyo in Uganda, Bambit in Sudan, and Belbila in Ethiopia.
The botanical name for Lagos spinach is
Soko leaves are high in protein, vitamins A and C. It is also an excellent source of calcium and iron. This leaf also has numerous medicinal properties. Thus, it is used in treating various ailments across the world, such as stomach troubles, and malnutrition.
Health Benefits of Lagos spinach (Soko)
Soko contains a lot of calcium. It plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones. Eating soko regularly helps in the reduction rate of bone loss and the risk of all types of fracture. It also shields you against osteoporosis.
Lagos spinach has high fiber and water content, which help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract. It’s also used for the treatment of intestinal worms such as tapeworm. In Ethiopia folk-medicine, the seeds are used for diarrhea and the flowers for dysentery.
Balances Blood Pressure:
Calcium plays a role in removing excess sodium from the blood and maintaining the health of the blood vessels. By eating soko regularly, you can increase the amount of calcium in your diet and reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
Improved Sperm Health:
Low intakes of dietary zinc can cause low testosterone levels, and it can also prolong the onset of puberty in males. Lack of zinc can also increase the risk of prostate gland inflammation. Eating soko regularly, you can naturally increase your zinc levels.
Soko is a rich source of iron, which is essential for the transportation of oxygen around the body. Low levels of iron can result in anemia, chronic fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and even angina if anemia is severe. It can also lead to hair loss. Eating soko regularly can improve your iron levels and prevent conditions associated with iron deficiency.
Soko leaves are commonly used in India to treat diabetes; it contains compounds that help reduce the sugar level in the blood.
In Kenya, the water in which the leaves, flowers, and stems have been boiled is used as a body-wash for convalescents. In China, the plant is used as an antidote for snake bite, and the root is used to treat infections such as colic, gonorrhea, and eczema. When mixed with honey, the plant is used to treat sores and wounds.