Bitter leaf is extremely rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1 and Vitamins.

Ever heard of Bitter leaf? As its name suggests, it is a plant whose main characteristic is its bitter stem and leaves. There also exists a species of the plant which produces a ‘sweet’ leaf. Popular in most of West Africa and named after botanist, William Vernon, its botanical name is Vernonia, it belongs to the family of Asteraceae. Bitter leaf is also referred to as ironweed, a name coined from the intensely purple flowers which later take on a rusty hue. Bitter leaf is able to flourish in a variety of climates unlike other plants which are often naive to certain areas. Although most popularly used for food, bitter leaf has also traditionally been used for its medicinal properties now proven by medical research University of Texas’s studies actually show that the risk of having breast cancer and type II diabetes could be reduced drastically. With around a thousand varieties, the bitter leaf plant’s uses range from antimicrobial to decorative. Some of the most common uses are noted below.

Although most popularly used for food, bitter leaf has also traditionally been used for its medicinal properties now proven by medical research.

1. Stomach Ache: Chew the tender stem and swallowing the juice is a well-known remedy for stomach aches. Alternatively pound the fresh leaves in a mortar to extract the juice. Add a pinch of salt to three tablespoons of the undiluted juice and drink. This version is reported to bring immediate relief.

2. Skin Infections and Other Aliments: For skin infections such as ringworm, itching, rashes and eczema, the pure, undiluted extract of bitter leaf is excellent. Simply apply it to the affected part daily.

3. Good For the Liver: Weighing between 1 and 3 kilograms, the liver is essential for the metabolism of fats and protein and must therefore be well taken care of. Alcohol, sugar and processed foods we often feed ourselves can weaken the liver and make it susceptible to infections. Damage to the liver is often difficult to reverse and bitter leaf has long been used as a toner for this and other vital organs of the organ of the body.

4. Diabetes: As with the liver, bitter leaf helps repair the pancreas as well as cut down sugar levels in the blood. Agitate and squeeze ten handfuls of the fresh leaves in ten liters of water and drink two glasses thrice daily for one month.

5. Insomnia: Bitter leaf extract has been known to work magic for many unable to get restful sleep. Simply take two glasses of bitter leaf solution every night to experience great calm and well-being. You may add a little honey if you wish.

6. Pneumonia: Squeeze the fresh leaves of the plant in water. Take a glass-full thrice daily. Warm, do not boil the solution each time before drinking. Continue the medication for a mouth. To save time a large quantity can be made in one go. Add some honey to preserve the solution.

NB: Bitter leaf extract stored for longer than twenty-four hour loses the bitterness, but the efficacy remains.

7. Prostate Cancer (And other cancer):Prostate cancer is most common among black men over forty years old. Its symptoms include difficult and painful urination, among others. Bitter leaf helps increases the flow of urine and reduces the pain through its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also said to stop the cancer from spreading. Simply squeeze the fresh leaves in water and take a glassful four times daily.

8. Fatigue: Often feel weak and tired? Do you lack vitality and vigor? Squeeze the leaves in water and drink a glass three times daily. Soon you will experience a new lease of energy.

9. Stroke: Bitter leaf solution has a calming effect on the nerves, strengthens the muscles and cleanses the system.

10. Arthritis: Arthritis or rheumatism patients who have tried bitter-leaf solution as described above attest to its effectiveness. It soothes inflamed joints and eradicates the pain.

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