Uda seed or Negro pepper is an aromatic spice commonly used in flavouring foods in certain parts of the world, including Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Brazil, among others. The botanical name of uda seed (negro pepper) is Xylopia aethiopica from the Annonaceae family. It is called uda in Igbo language, and eeru alamo in Yoruba language. In some parts of the world, Negro Pepper is also known as grains of selim. This article discusses the nutritional value of uda seed, as well as the health benefits of uda seed.
One thing about Negro pepper is that it is versatile in nature, i.e. its bark, seeds, stem, fruit and leaves can be used for several purposes, ranging from culinary, medicinal, and sexual purposes.
Nutritional Value of Uda Seed
Some of the potent properties found in uda include – flavonoids, alkaloids, cineol, phytosterols, tannins, saponins, carbohydrates, trans-pinocarveol, limonene, linalool, and β-caryophyllene.
A study on the phytochemical composition of Negro pepper revealed that it contains paradol, α-terpineol, β-phellandrene, bisabolene, trans-pinocarveol, linalool, α-farnesene, myrtenol, spathulenol, verbenone, terpeness and terpinene-4-ol.
Health Benefits of Uda Seed
There are so many health benefits of uda seed, based of it’s rich phytochemical composition and nutritional value.
1. Has Anti-inflammatory Purposes
Inflammation is the body’s way of responding to injuries, infections, wounds, and any damage to tissue. The body does this in order to eliminate harmful stimuli, heal and then repaid the affected tissue. Inflammation also occurs in response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, including pathogens, irritants, or damaged cells. Without inflammation, wounds and infections on the body will not be healed, and this may result in critical health condition.
Uda seed is packed with a lot of anti-inflammatory properties, including beta-caryophyllene. Part of the roles this agent plays in the human body include the modulation of diet-induced dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, improves HDL via CB2 receptors, reduces vascular inflammation via both CB2 and PPAR-γ receptors, to name but a few.
2. Packed with Antioxidants
Uda seed contains an abundant amount of antioxidants, all of which synergizes to help get rid of free radicals oxidizing agents in the body. This simply means that this spice can be effectively used for reducing the risk/effect of cancerous tumours.
Some of the potent antioxidants in uda seed include – flavonoids, phenolics, limonoids and polysaccharides. More importantly, it will please you to know that the water extract of uda fruit has a significant amount of phenolic compounds, which in its own capacity contributes to the elimination of free radicals in the body.
3. Great remedy for Dermatological Problems
Uda seeds are proven to be a great remedy for treating skin conditions, including boils, itches, skin eruptions, to name but a few. Are you battling with any of the aforementioned dermatological problems? Uda seed might be what you need.
4. Treats Respiratory System Diseases
Studies reveal that the bark of uda tree contains some potent properties, which are very effective in treating respiratory system diseases, including the common cold, bacterial pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis.
To shield yourself against such diseases, it is best you avoid exposing yourself to harmful environmental substances, such as tobacco smoke, dust, chemicals, vapours, fumes, etc. When you inhale too much of this, it may trigger inflammation in your lungs, which may, in turn, lead to an infection.
5. Prevents/Treats malaria
Malaria is one of the life-threatening diseases in the world and is majorly caused by parasites spread to people via the bites of infected mosquitoes. Report shows that more than 200 million cases of malaria are recorded yearly and that it led to the death of over 500,000 people. Common symptoms of malaria include – fever, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, sweating, cough, to name but a few.
Uda seed is packed with some potent antimalarial properties, meaning it can be used for preparing local remedy for reducing the risk/effect of malaria in humans.
6. Keeps Rheumatism at bay
Also known as rheumatic disorders, Rheumatism is an umbrella term for diseases that cause chronic pain and inflammation in the joints, muscles, or connective tissue. Should in case you are battling with this disorder, it will please you to know that the bark of uda tree has anti-arthritic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used in treating a myriad of rheumatic disorders, including arthritic pain.
7. Relieves Gastrointestinal Problems
Gastrointestinal disorders are health conditions affecting the gastrointestinal tract [oesophagus, stomach, rectum, small and large intestine]. This includes stomach ache, irritable bowel syndrome, dysentery, gastric ulcers, indigestion, flatulence, etc. The leaves of uda are found to be aseptic in nature, meaning that they are capable of relieving the aforementioned internal disorders.
8. Might be used to treat Menstrual Problems
There are quite a few issues associated with menstruation. Some reports have claimed that negro pepper may be useful in treating menstrual issues.
Uda seed when dried are normally used in traditional medicine for enhancing menstrual blood flow, and for treating amenorrhea.
Uda seed and Abortion
Negro pepper has been reported by some people to have the ability to induce abortion of foetus in pregnant women. A study in 2015 showed that an aqueous extract of the Negro pepper can significantly reduce the haemoglobin concentration, increase the bleeding and clotting time as well as reduce the white blood cell count and mean corpuscular haemoglobin in rats. However this does not mean that uda seed can cause abortion.
Although, the effect of Negro Pepper in pregnant women might be similar to alligator pepper, which is also an abortifacient. Although they has been no concrete medical evidence that suggest that negro please can cause abortion.