Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Everyone should know about.......Bitter Leaf

'The only reason to give a speech is to change the world'
- John F Kennedy

Hi Everyone

So today's post is about Bitter Leaf, another marvelous plant I learnt about whilst living in Nigeria. So lets get to learning about this plant.

-The scientic name is Vernonia amygdalina and it is a leafy shrub or small tree that can reach over 20 ft when fully grown.
- It can grow anywhere
- Every part of the plant is bitter from leaves, roots and stems.
- has a high amount of zinc
- saponins
- glycosides
- alkoloids
- it is said to be anti malaria
- it is said to be anti cancerous
- it is said to be anti bacteral
- it is said to be anti parasite
- Useful in toning vital organs such as liver and kindey
- Great for diabetic patients as it lowers the sugar levels as well as said to repair the pancreas
- This leaf is used in herbal treatments for ailments such as fevers and vector borne diseases.
- The plant is great for menopausal women because it takes care of symtons such as hot flashes, and rheuratism.

How to use Bitter leaf
- In some African countries- Nigeria, Togo, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana - it is a major food vegetable.
- In Thailand (Chopoo) and Lao (E-lert) it is eaten raw, as soup or as salad
- It can be eaten raw or used to make a strong soup.
- adding honey to the tea takes away some of the bitterness
- also by boiling the leaves and making it into a soup also takes away some bitterness, or it can be added to another soups like spinach.

Other uses for Bitter leaf
- Some women in Africa rub the leave on breasts to wean babies off breast milk
- Other people use the seeds as an aphrodiasc
-Some people use the stem for dental hygiene

Bitter leaf can be bought in most African food shops and as well as Asian/Chinese shops. In Stockholm, there is a Chinese Bitter leaf.

So there you have it. Now you know a little bit more about Bitter leaf. Its an overall tonic that can be taken even if you don't suffer from any ailments.

Blessings, Peace and Learning


  1. This reminds me of something we have here in Barbados. Will check with some of the others here at work. Quite informative though.

  2. i'll have to look for this here in the states. sounds like a must have; seems to remind me of bush tea that we drank when growing up..cerassee(sp?)

  3. I'm nigerian and let me tell you, this is my FAVORITE soup. Bitter Leaf, btw I don't say bitter I say Bitta Leaf lol. My mom and I immigrated to the US when I was six and the funny thing is I didn't have bitta leaf until I came here. I think it was maybe because I might either have been to young for it or I did not remember having it, or I was just picky. So my mom made it some time in the 90's, I think I might have been 10 or something, but next thing I know my mouth is having a party. I loooooooooove bitta leaf soup. No one can beat my mom's bitta leaf though. I really hope you were given the privilage to eat the most amazing soup in the world. Then there's okra soup. Then Eguisi. lol I'm getting hungry. Btw, saw you on curlynikki and just wanted to check out your blog.

  4. Hi Ladies, I learnt about Bitter Leaf when I was living in Nigeria and I heard such amazing stories about it and my mom started taking it in tea form in aid with her medication, so I know from personal experience that it is an amazing plant. As for trying Nigerian foods ( I did try some wonderful dishes however, my stomach cant take too much spicy foods and West African cuisine is more spicier than what I am used to in Southern Africa) but it all looked and smelled good, just I couldnt handle a lot of the food!!!!!

  5. hahaha I know what you mean. I adore spices and when I was introduced to Indian cuisine, I was like their nigerian right?lol jk. What I mean by that is their food tastes so much like ours. Their use of spices is just wonderful. My mother taught me how to turn any bland dish into heaven by using spices. I know you are talking about the use of pepper, but I just wanted to blab about spices. I honestly need to get a blog going to because wow I love to talk lol. I put quite a bit of pepper in my food, but if I were to cook for you I'd put less. :)

  6. I love Egusi myself. My husband is from Nigeria and I was born in the states. Dried Bitter Leaf is full of grit and it is very hard, and almost impossible, to wash out. I would love to grow my own. I live in the Southern US, so I'm sure it would grow wonderfully here. Does anyone know where I might be able to find a plant to get started and does anyone know, does bitter leaf spread when it grows or does it stay in one location when you plant it? Thanks!

  7. @hi 9ja Wife, my mom says it grows upwards so it shoots up and does not spread when growing. There are no seeds, but if you get some one to cut a small piece and send it to you that will work. Right now my mom is growing some from small shootings. Goodluck and let me know if you get any.

  8. Sierra Loeneans have a funny saying: Why eat Bittas (leaf) when you can eat ...???I can't remember. I once mentioned that - not only is bitter leaf soup delicious, but the leaf has health benefits. At which my Saro friends could not give an answer. However, I hope today my friends have learnt the Truth about this Amazon food/medicinal Bitter Leaf.


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