The Wonders of Bitter Leaf

Fresh bitter leaf

Bitter leaf popularly used to prepare soup in the eastern part of Nigeria is now known to be a wonder vegetable with medicinal properties which can be used to treat different ailments such as reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

MANY Nigerians are resorting to the use of natural herbs and plants to take care of their health problems and improve their well-being. One of such popular herbs is the bitter leaf which has undeniable benefits and natural healing abilities. Popularly known as Ewuro by the Yorubas, Shiwaka by the Hausas and Onugbu amongst the Igbos, bitter leaf is used in preparing a famous delicacy in the Igbo land. Apart from this, bitter leaf is well known for its healing potency when it is chewed or juiced raw because cooking reduces its potency and medicinal value.

Bitter leaf is generally considered a liver herb because it stimulates, cleanses and supports the liver and gall bladder. The liver which is one of the most important organs of the body has a lot of vital functions that is needed for normal functioning of the whole system of the body. Without the liver all major process in the body will be paralysed. Without the liver fats will not be digested inside the body to be used as energy. Bitter leaf is said to be very helpful in maintaining the livers optimum health to release bile acid every time people eat fatty foods.

Studies also show that bitter leaf can be used to cure kidney-related complications. Bitter leaf also stimulates bile and hydrochloric acid production, stimulates nervous and immune system function. Interestingly, it also combats fatigue and exhaustion. It is obviously one of the very simple and inexpensive natural herbs which can be used to ensure optimum health and well-being of the body system.

Properly washed bitter leaf
Properly washed bitter leaf

Sarah Abagia, head, Dietetics Department at the National Hospital, Abuja, said: “It is not that bitter leaf can cure diabetes, but it has some sugar controlling influence to a certain degree. Bitter leaf is able to influence some drop in the sugar level. But it is not suppose to be regarded as an entire medication for diabetes. One can take a handful of fresh bitter leaf, pour in a blender, pour the desired amount of water, blend and strain it, then drink while some people take a handful of bitter leaf and eat it too.”

Bitter leaf does not only reduce the blood sugar level drastically, it also helps to repair the pancreas. According to some researchers writing in the Medical Journal of Islamic World Academy of Sciences, the administration of aqueous extract of bitter leaf at a concentration of 500 mg/kg of body weight significantly decreases the level of blood glucose and its efficacy to lower blood glucose level was comparable with that of chlorpropamide which is a standard drug used in the management of diabetes.

Regular consumption of this vegetable helps to regulate the blood’s cholesterol level which is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. In cases of constipation, stomach ache and inflammation of the stomach, bitter leaf is a remedy. Bitter leaf has been widely used and recognised for its efficacy in preventing malaria. The raw leaves are plucked and washed before being squeezed to extract the juice. Drinking the juice alone is an antidote for malaria.

According to a 2005 edition of the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, chewing the stem of bitter leaf helps to prevent Gingivitis which is a tooth-gum problem due to its proven antimicrobial activity. Common skin diseases such as ringworm, eczema and others have been successfully treated with bitter leaf because of its antimicrobial effect. The bitter leaf protects the liver from drug induced damage.

Bitter leaf, if incorporated in the diet, can slow cancer growth and even kill cancer cells. The aqueous extract of bitter leaf can also help in inducing labour and where there is no medical help, blood oozing from fresh wound can be stopped by squeezing fresh, green bitter leaves and dropping it on the wound.

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  1. your write up is very interesting, I never knew that bitter leaf has such powerful medication.

    thanks for educating me on this.

  2. I have really learnt some thing
    new today, i will make bitter leaf my regularly meal now.

  3. I used to suffer from malaria every month. I started taking bitterleaf juice since December and till now I have not had malaria

    • I read you talking about taking bitterlesf evry morning..bitterlesf intake is good fiine.but not evryday.4tablespoons of biiterleaf will serve you for one the saying goes.too much of evrything is can also destroy the for your info.take only 4 tablespoon of bitterleaf for a week.for better results you can add scent leaf too .for infections.

  4. thanks alo for the information, will try it because i have diabetise 2. I always use only diet and no medication.

  5. I known u can slize portion of bitter leaver rinst just like water leaves and add to egusi soup when is still on fire and allow to cook for about 15mins before steering without bringing out any bitter teast.

  6. I started drinking bitter leaf about a month nw, my whole well being has improve, my sexual health is a wow, i nw for has long has 2hr it’s quite amazing 07033491453

  7. I have been drinking bitter leaf juice since 2013. It is very effective. Thanks for the information.

  8. I actually av been taking d juice of this bitterleaf it has really improved my well being .its really wow.


    • I attest to the efficacy of bitter leaf.I discovered I was having excess sugar in my system.After diagnosis,I started diet and early morning chewing of about 3 adult leaves ofvthe plant.Not long after I started to experience serious weakness and dizzyness.One afternoon when it was becoming unbearable,I went for blood sugar test, l was tested and told I was acutely hypoglycamic i.e having very low blood sugar in my system which even could lead to complications.I was given a bottle of coca cola to drink and warned to reduce the excess in take of the leaf.So it is correct bitter leat can reduce excess glucose in the blood thereby reducing diabeties.

  10. So rich an info,i love bitterleaf and since i started taking it i feel much lighter

  11. This article does not contain a single reference to a scientific study; there are no citations. It may as well have been made up completely.

  12. I started drinking bitter leave for diabetes and malaria and I testify of its efficacy. . I manage my blood sugar with bitter leave only for the past eight years. My health has improved drastically. Malaria is no match for bitter leave. Bitter Leave is the magic cure for malaria and the best blood sugar manager.

    • Hi Gayle, I live in Thailand and am using bitter leaf. I am returning to Melbourne and am also trying to find out if I can get the live plant in Australia, so far no luck. . Have you found any? There is a place in W.Aust. that sells the dried leaf, but fresh is better.

  13. Please help me where to get bitter leaf, I am in Durban in Kwa Zulu Natal South Africa, I have enjoyed bitter leaf soup was prepared bay one of our Church member but now she is gone back to Nigeria

  14. Bitter leaf is actually a wonder leaf. I will increase bitter leaf consumption

  15. Hey,this is great. I ate bitter leaf only in food , but now I will drink the uncooked liquid . l have it all over my compound and that makes me a heathy happy man.Thanks for this article.

  16. This morning i took a glass of bitter leaf extract, after about twenty minutes i noticed i was going to the toilet every five minutes for about three times. Not only that my stomach was turning me with severe pain, i was already afraid before i put a call to my younger sister, she ask me not to worry because that’s usually the case with vernonia armygdalina

  17. It is just wonderful to know all this.God really loves Africans,that’s why He put this plant in the tropical forests of Africa.How ever not so many people know anything much about the wonders the biter kola can perform.I think am gonna look for it after here.Thanks

  18. its true of bitter leaf, though not regularly once or twice a month will give you fit at bed to deserve thank you also

  19. Bitterleaf is good, just take it as a juice once a week, you can add to your soup twice a week. when its too much , then bad, pls lets becarefull.

  20. i apreciat ur info. I didnt knw until wen i tried it jst bcoz d leaf is bitter. Hv warned my wife not to use it in egusi or vegetable soup. Bt nw, hv confirmed it. Is gud 4 our health, it reduced constipation, it speed ur d rate of digestion, it increase sexual performance, it combat any skin problem and also put us in a gud health.

  21. i do take a bottle of squeezwd bitter leaf every night before i thing i noticed is that,once its taken and i hit the bed,i sleep like a baby till the next morning

  22. interestingly,i started using this and am experiencing certain symptoms that obviously reflect your research. thank you

  23. Yea… My late grant was a native doctor.. I remember sometimes she use to treat some of her patients with bitter leaf juice, and they always came back to testify of its efficacy.. Bitter is truly a wonder leaf.. I have also used it for treating malaria.. And it worked..

  24. William
    Quite interesting performance health benefits about this bitter leaf. Have planted some in my back yard and will do justice to it from now on. Thanks for this info.

  25. thanks for this information. i have high blood sugar, i will use it to see how it works.

  26. I started taking bitterleaf/scentleaf water for my sugar and it controls it very well. Good write-up

  27. I confirm the efficacy of bitter leaf and also recommend it as well. The moment i took it, I was happy though the day. libido was increased and bloating stopped.

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