OHA LEAF (Pterocarpus mildraedil)
Oha leaf is botanically known as Pterocarpus mildraedil, and it is an edible leaf of an evergreen tree found in Africa. Oha leaf is a nutritious edible leaf that that is mostly consumed in Nigeria by the Igbos. Oha leaves are known to contain hydrogen cyanide and oxalate but in low levels which are not usually harmful to humans. Oha leaves also contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. They contain vitamins A, C and some B vitamins and are known to be rich in fiber, amino acids like glutamic acid, lysine and cysteine while they have low sodium content.
Oha leaves are one of those African vegetables which are under-utilized despite their numerous benefits.
Therefore, below are some of the nutritional benefits found in oha leaves
- Help to treat malaria.
Traditionally, oha leaves are used to treat malaria and digestive issues. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that help to treat malaria. This anti-microbial agent can kill the parasite that can cause malaria and thereby making the body healthy.
Also, eating soups cooked with oha leaves during malaria attacks help to restore key organs that boost strong immune system such as the stomach, the heart, liver, iron supply etc. It is then a simple truth that when all vital organs are working well, malaria does not have a chance.
2. Prevent constipation.
Oha leaf is rich in fibre which helps with the prevention of constipation, unlike the fibre found in some vegetables like pumpkin leaves which is strong and difficult to digest, the fibre in oha leaves help to digest the food well so the food residue can be pushed out of the body easily. At the long run, it helps to improve the overall digestive function and heal the gut as well.
- Helps in the treatment of anemia.
Oha leaves are rich in important minerals such as iron which helps to treat anemia and for overall body fitness. This mineral plays the important role in red blood cell formation to create hemoglobin. This health benefit is supported also by its vitamin C which helps to absorb the iron well.
- Boost the immune system.
Vitamin C is known to be one of the most important vitamins necessary to boost the immune system. Therefore, oha leaves are rich in vitamin C, which helps to keep the body fit and healthy.
- Diarrhea Management
Oha leaves contain zinc mineral which is important in maintaining a healthy immune system. The zinc mineral serves as a mechanism for repairing and protecting the intestinal mucosa. This will help the intestine recover quickly so the diarrhea symptom can be stopped faster before spreading or eating deeper.
- It keeps joint healthy and prevent arthritis.
Another important health benefit of oha leaves is that contains manganese mineral which plays the important role in the cartilage formation and lubricating fluid in the joint. The presence of this mineral will help to prevent joint diseases such as arthritis.
- Controls blood pressure.
Oha leaves are low in sodium content, and that makes it better for people who are hypertensive. Also, the potassium contained in oha leaves can help to control abnormal blood pressure in the body.
- Improves brain function.
Oha leaves contain glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid substance which helps to maintain the normal function of the brain as a neurotransmitter. This also helps to treat some brain disorders such as schizophrenia, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson disease, etc
- Good for athletes.
The presence of lysine in oha leaves helps boost energy in the body. The substance found in oha leaf helps to produce extra energy needed for proper body growth, well structured bones and fitness of the body.
- Keep the healthy eyes.
Oha leaves are good source of vitamin A which is known to keep the eyes stay healthy, maintain better sight and strong immune system.
- Reduces inflammation.
If you have the inflammation problem such as osteoarthritis or tonsillitis, you can consume Ora leaves to relieve them. Oha leaves contain a bioactive compound called polyphenol which is good for the inflammation process. What polyphenol usually does is to help reduce the inflammation in the body.
- Helps with the formation of collagen
Collagen is required in maintaining a healthy skin. Oha leaves contains the mineral copper in good amount to help with collagen formation. It is used to create a healthy and young glowing skin
- Help your heart contract normally.
Potassium mineral in Oha leaves is very important in maintaining the normal contraction of the heart. With the presence of the potassium mineral in oha leaves, it helps the heart to contract well and to help pump out blood effectively to all parts of the body.
- Helps to build up the muscle mass.
From the research conducted, it has been proven that oha leaves helps to build up the muscle mass through its cysteine amino acid content found in it. Cysteine amino acid helps the body to build protein which is used for the development of muscle mass and physical body growth.
- Protect the nervous system.
The vitamin B in the Oha leaves helps to protect the nervous system. It covers the end of the nerves from any damages and reduces the symptom of numbness or tingling sensation. By so doing, it does not only protect the nervous system, but also helps to boost it effectively.