Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Blood Builder


Too many people tend to lean on the usual drugs – blood tonic and iron-containing capsules, among others when it comes to replenishing of the blood level in the body.
While not condemning it or doubting the efficacy of these remedies, the employment of leaves (vegetables) will remain relevant for as long as man lives. The vegetable of importance here is the leaf of the fluted pumpkin with the botanical name, Telfairia occidentalis. Ugu (Igbo), Iroko (Yoruba), and Ubon (Efik) are some of the local names given to this highly popular vegetable that has taken the pride of place in replenishing of blood in many homes. It is a blood builder and even the seed has been found to contribute to doing justice to the blood. Ugu has undergone scientific researches in some Nigerian research institutions and its effectiveness as a blood tonic has been proved and confirmed. The plant has been known to boost blood levels up to 90 per cent within a short time. Its effect, according to reports, is rapid and does not have any negative effect either on the short or long term. The University of Ilorin arm of the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry established the haematological activity of the leaves of Telfairia occidentalis in animals. Cases have been reported of patients who resorted to the use of this leaves when they needed blood transfusion. In most of the cases, their blood levels were restored in three weeks of use. Other benefits The use of herbs and herbal products has been on the increase lately that consumers are seeking products that leave little or no side effects in the treatment of disease. Even in developed economies of the world like the US, herbal products can be found on the shelves of supermarkets in various dosage forms – tablets, creams, ointments, syrup, etc. In the country, herbal preparations or direct consumption of vegetables and fruits is commonplace due to a number of factors like: • high incidence of fake, substandard adulterated drugs • slow and non-response of some diseases to current drugs • high cost of drugs and • high poverty level. Due to its use, it is known to contain protein, fat, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, B2, B5, B12 and thiamine. It is found useful in the treatment of anaemia, used as tonic and can expressed as juice and consumed as such. The leaves can be used to prepare savory yam or potato pottage, as side dish in several meals and in preparation of local Nigerian soups like egusi, okra, ogbono and vegetable.

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