Benefits of alligator pepper
Ginger, nuts, alligator pepper and whole grains are just some of the many foods that have been touted to have anti-inflammatory properties, among other health benefits.
IT is often said that for every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect. No other group of people best appreciates this saying than the Traditional Africans.
Long before the dawn of modern medicine – where drugs manufactured in laboratories are popular and expensive chemical or synthetic drugs deemed to be the best for our bodies – our forebears have sought natural substance for ailments, to stay fit and healthy.
And they work – talk of home remedies and natural cures, no side effects, no chemicals, inexpensive, plus the pleasure of being able to cure yourself! Yet, some of those common things are still with us till date, such that scientists are now confirming those experiences traditionalist had felt many years ago.
For instance, if you’ve ever taken ginger ale for an upset tummy, you understand the health benefits of ginger. Going back more than 2,000 years in China, the herb has been used to treat nausea, upset stomach and help with digestion and diarrhoea.
Used in stir-fries and Asian cooking, the spicy, pungent underground rhizome of the ginger plant is firm with a striated texture. It may be yellow, white or red, depending on the variety, and is covered with a thin or thick brownish skin, depending on whether the plant was harvested mature or young.
A 2009 study found ginger supplements when taken alongside anti-vomiting medicine reduced chemotherapy-induced nausea in patients by 40 per cent.
“Therapeutically, it’s also used for poor circulation and lower back pain. On an emotional level, it can act as a catalyst if you are procrastinating and lack the drive to take action,” says Laurie Steelsmith, a licensed naturopathic doctor said.
Studies have shown it can also ease muscle pain, eliminate inflammation, help with painful menstruation and migraines, and may even slow or kill ovarian and colon cancer cells.
Nausea and motion sickness: Ginger is well known for its ability to ease nausea, and it’s helpful for motion and seasickness. Women suffering from morning sickness were given beverages with ginger during the first trimester of pregnancy, and when compared with women given a placebo, ginger alleviated the nausea in a large majority of the cases.
Diabetes complications: Studies show ginger may reduce urine protein levels, decrease water intake and urine output, and reverse proteinuria, which is kidney damage caused by too much protein in the urine. Ginger may also protect nerves in diabetics and lower blood fat levels. “Ginger can help increase circulation, thin blood, and lower both blood pressure and cholesterol,” says author Steelsmith.
Arthritis: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage found patients with painful arthritis in the knee who were given ginger vs. a placebo experienced significantly less pain and loss of movement compared to those taking the placebo.
Cold and flu: Chinese medicine practitioners commonly prescribe ginger to treat symptoms of colds and flu. The root acts as an antihistamine and decongestant, two cold-easing effects that can help with symptoms.
Another 100 per cent natural product from Alligator pepper or Grains of paradise (botanically called Aframomum melegueta) has shown promise in resolving erectile dysfunction and delaying ejaculation.
A preparation from Alligator pepper has received a United States patent as a potent aphrodisiac.
Aframomum melegueta is the commonest species of Aframomum present in Nigeria. It has a pungent, peppery flavour. In traditional Igbo society, Alligator is used alongside Kola nut and local clay when offering prayers.
Until now, it forms the basic component of most herbal preparations. Advocates say it helps to other herbs to mix better and enhance their effect. It is used extensively in dishes in West and North Africa. It has a long history of being used medicinally as a digestive aid.