Bitter leaf (ofe Onugbu) is one of the best known Igbo soups as well as one of the oldest. Be it in conjunction with other condiments such as egusi and in draw soups, or just by itself it is delicious and unique. No matter how you prepare it, with thick leaves like it' is done in Anambra, (below) or with more finely grated ones in Imo and Abia its unique taste makes it quite a delicacy.
Bitter leaf soup Anambra style with larger leaves
Amazingly though Bitter leaf doesn't just taste good it actually is also good for you. From treating malaria, typhoid, diabetes, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, gallstones and kidney disease, to the prevention of cancer and lowering of hypertension, the health benefits of bitter leaf go on and on and on.
Almost everybody knows this because it is a well-known remedy for stomachaches. All you need do is to chew the tender stem of the plant like a chewing stick and swallow the bitterness and the ache will stop within few minutes. An alternative is to pound the fresh leaves in a mortar and press out the juice. Add a pinch of salt to three tablespoons of the undiluted juice and drink. You will experience relief in no time.
Research has shown that prostate cancer is common among men who are over forty years old. And one of its known symptoms is difficult and painful urination. Bitter leaf, on the other hand, is very good for this ailment. It increases the flow of urine and reduces the pain, as well as regulates the spread of the cell. To fight prostate cancer with bitter leaf, simply squeeze the fresh leaves in water and take a glassful four times daily while you constantly go for a checkup. You’ll urinate frequently, but don’t worry about that because it is part of the cleansing process.
Bitter leaf soup Imo and Abia style
Pneumonia is a lung inflammation disease caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with pus and may become solid. However, the miraculous plant is powerful enough to combat this condition especially when taken orally as juice. Insomnia is a condition that promotes habitual sleeplessness. And as funny as it may sound, there are a lot of people experiencing this condition.
However, studies have shown that Bitter leaf extract has done wonders for those suffering from sleeplessness. Studies have shown that bitter leaf boosts the chances of pregnancy among women who are finding it difficult to conceive. And this because the detoxification power of bitter leaf helps prevent the pollution of the antibodies that fight diseases, initiate tissue repair and regeneration. This is known to boost the fertility of the ovaries, significantly; as well as eliminating ovarian cyst and premature ovarian failure.
It is recommended that one eats Bitter leaf at least three times a month or more and that everybody grows a plant or two in their backyard as they are very user-friendly and don't require too much maintenance.