Vernonia amygdalina popularly known as bitter leaf is an indigenous African plant which is grown in most parts of sub Sahara Africa. It is used in cooking but the juice gotten when squeezed can be taken. Bitter leaf is said to posses antiparasitic, antitumor and antibacterial properties alongside other vitamins and minerals. Although, just as the name goes, it is bitter especially when not used to cook, the health benefits that can be derived from taking it is worth giving it a trial. Below are some of those health benefits:
1. Reduces cancer risks:
The andrographolide compound found in bitter leaf is anti cancer in nature and can be effective in treating prostate, gastric and colon cancer. It is also believed that by taking bitter leaf, it can inhibit tumor growth and prevent the development of cancerous cells.
2. Lowers blood pressure:
Bitter leaf has the ability to lower sugar levels thereby controlling blood pressure. Due to the potassium it contains, it helps in the flushing out of the accumulation of salt content in the bloodstream.
3. Reduces weight:
Bitter leaf is also good in losing weight as it helps remove bad cholesterol and excess calories in the body.
4. Treats gut related issues:
Bitter leaf can be helpful in treating gut related issues such as stomach upset, diarrhea, dysentery and other gastrointestinal tract diseases.
5. Strengthens the bones:
Bitter leaf contains vitamins such as vitamins C and K which helps in strengthening of the bones and the teeth.
6. Fights free radicals:
Bitter leaf also contains vitamin E which serves as an antioxidant that helps combat harmful free radicals in the body system.
7. Improves metabolism:
The vitamin B1 contained in bitter leaves play an important role in the metabolism of lipids, amino acids and glucose in the body.