Piper guineese which is locally called ” ɛsro wesa” is a local spice used here in Ghana and across Africa in dishes and folk medicines.
It offers a hot, slightly bitter and pungent aroma to the food.
The spice has nutritional, culinary,medicinal value and insecticidal value .
The presence of phytochemicals in Piper guineese indicates that it has therapeutic properties.
These spices are said to be therapeutically useful in the management of convulsion,leprosy, stomachache, inflammation and/or rheumatoid pains, cough and loss of appetite
Piper guineese belong to the family of Piperaceae which has over 700 different species through out the world.
The pepper is mostly seen in west Africa. The spice is derived from its dried fruit and it’s also known as West African pepper, Ashanti pepper, Benin pepper, false cubeb, Guinea cubeb, uziza pepper Wikipedia.com etc
Studies have shown that Piper guineese is naturally equipped with both nutritional and non nutritional elements.
The spice contains proteins, carbohydrates, alkaloids, steroids, glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, tannins and phenolic compounds. It also contains vitamins, minerals and fat.
Health benefits of Piper Guineese
Treats intestinal disorders.
Piper guineese can be used in the treatment of intestinal disorders like indigestion, flatulence, dysentery, diarrhea and cholera.
Sumathykutty et., al. (1999) agree that P. guineense leaves are aseptic in nature, with the ability to relieve flatulence.
Plants that contain tannins as their primary component are astringent, thus very beneficial for the management of diarrhea, dysentery,inflammation of the mucous membrane
Nwachukwu et., al. (2010), found out in a research that Piper guineense is suitable for treating Infertility in women & Low sperm count in men.
The authors recommended that women with infertility problems should boil Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ together with Xylopia Spp (Uda), lime juice, Honey, Congronema latifolium and Capsicum Spp pepper in 1 liter. of water and then take 1 glass cup on a daily basis only during menstruation (for women). Men on the other hand, can take ½ bottle of lime juice mixed with 1 bottle of honey and taken 1 shot twice on a daily basis for low sperm count treatment.
Nursing mothers in igbo land also use Piper guineese to enhance uterine contraction for expulsion of placenta and other remains from the womb after birth. It helps the uterine muscles to return to their original shape. It is also used in Eastern part of Nigeria as abortifacient.
Studies have shown that Piper guineese have the ability to increase sexual behavior when consumed. This was revealed in a research carried out by Kamtchouing et al. Which showed that the sexual orientation of the male rat towards the female increased when given an aqueous extract from Piper guineese.
The Flavonoids in P. Guineese are potent water soluble antioxidants and free radical scavengers which prevent oxidative cell damage and have strong anticancer and anti-ulcer activity and protection against the different levels of carcinogenesis (Agbaire, 2011).
They also contain large amounts of beta-carophyllene which is being investigated as an anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation is complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens or damaged cells.
Piper guineese contains alkaloids. Alkaloids are one of the most
efficient therapeutically significant bioactive substances in plants. Alkaloids are being used as CNS stimulant, powerful pain relievers, topical
anesthetic in ophthalmology among others.
A laboratory evaluation of ethanolic extracts of P.guineese (seeds and leaves) on mosquito larvae carried out by Ihemanmaetal. showed that the leaf and seed extract of P.guineense have
Larvicidal effects at high concentration on mosquito larvae. Hence, this plant could be utilized in the production of botanical larvicides which could be used as a substitute for the synthetic ones as they are readily available, affordable, eco-friendly and biodegradable.
In conclusion Piper guineese apart from its nutritional benefits can serve as traditional medicine used in treating certain ailments.
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