Archives for category: Natures Cure


As a child, I was drawn to the Dongoyaro tree .  I liked the small fruit which  looked like  tiny, yellow marbles and its busy branches with  their lively serrated leaves. Read the rest of this entry »

download efo amunututu

Growing up in Nigeria, there was always a ready source of spinach in the back garden. My favourite was Efo Amunututu translated in Yoruba as the vegetable which “calms your stomach”.

Also known as Malabar spinach, Pasalai Keerai in Hindi,  Amunututu  is a perennial twining vine with juicy, green leaves packed with calcium, iron and a good source of vitamins A, B and C. It’s soft purple seeds made it stand out and quite attractive to my curious eyes as a young child.

images (1) seeds amunututu

This spinach does well in moist, fertile and well-drained soils. It’s best suited to sub-tropical to tropical conditions where the rain and heat of summer suit it perfectly but will also grow with a shorter season in cooler climates.

The favorite in many Asian, Carribean and African dishes, Amunututu  is versatile and can be eaten raw once given a thorough wash.  It’s perfect as part of a green smoothie recipe ; I tend to combine with carrots, broccoli and celery in my morning smoothie.


Amunututu is great lightly blanched with practically any other vegetables. For a light evening meal, I love to toss it in a hot skillet with some tomatoes and fresh shrimps.



Nutritional Values- Amunututu

Fiber 0.6 g
Fat 0.8 g
Calories 27
Water content 92.1 g
Protein 2.0 g
Mineral Salts 1.7 g
Sugar 2.9 g
Calcium 73 Mg
Phosphorus 21 Mg
Iron 10.9 Mg
Vitamin C 28 Mg
Niacin 0.5 Mg
Riboflavin 0.26 Mg

download diabetes buster


1 bitter gourd/melon
4 celery ribs
1 and a half cup parsley
2 cups spinach
1/2 lemon

download bitter gourd

Technically known as “Momordica charantia”, varieties of the bitter gourd are known by different names around the world, including Balsam Pear, Bitter Melon and Karela in Hindi.
In Nigeria, it is known as :

Ejinrin Wewe in Yoruba

Daddagu in Hausa

Iliahia in Igala

kakayi in Igbo 

download balsam pear



In parts of Nigeria and South Africa,  
people drink a glass of bitter gourd juice in the morning to help strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s fighting power against infection.


In the Amazon, local people and indigenous tribes grow bitter melon for food and medicine.

The fruit and/or leaves are parboiled first with a pinch of salt to remove some of the bitter taste and then added to beans and soup for a bitter or sour flavor.


Bitter gourd is a popular vegetable in India well known for it`s ability to lower blood glucose in diabetics.

Bitter gourd has been used to treat diabetes in traditional medicine and is now commercially available as tea (from fruits or leaves), juice, extracts, and pills.


Patients deficient in the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase gene should avoid consumption of bitter melon preparations due to the presence of vicine in the seeds.

Documented adverse reactions include stimulating menstruation and inducing abortion. Avoid use.

See here for more info:

download moringa tree

The Moringa tree is another of the many medicinal plants I grew up with in Nigeria.

As a child, I did not know its name or indeed its potential value, I was simply  fascinated by the giant pods of the Moringa tree. When dried and hardened in the hot tropical sunshine, these pods made the perfect rattles for noisy games.

images (1) moringa pods

For many who use Moringa powder as part of their daily dose of health supplements,  It is the”cure all” for all diseases. From its bark to the pods and leaves, every bit of this plant is good for you.
Moringa has recently been linked to the natural  treatment of   diabetes. See

Products used everyday across the world include: Moringa oil, capsules of dried  powder, body creams  and ointments.

images (1) moringa tabs

Native to the Himalayas and now grown practically everywhere in the world the common English names for the Moringa tree include: Drumstick Tree, Horse Radish tree, Benoil tree and simply Moringa.
In Nigeria it is called:
Zogale, Bagagruwa Maka in Hausa
Ewe Igbale, ewe ile, adagba maloye, igi agunmaniye in Yoruba
Okwe oyibo, odudu oyibo, okochi egbun in Igbo

1. Fresh Moringa leaves rubbed against the temple can relieve  headaches.
2. Poultice of fresh Moringa leaves can be used to stem bleeding from shallow cuts.It produces an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect when applied to wounds or insect bites.
3. Extracts of Moringa leaf can be used against bacterial or fungal skin infections.
4  Moringa powder is  high in Iron so used for “tired blood” and anaemia.
5. Dried Moringa leaf tea is used treat diarrhoea.
6. Moringa is also used to increase sex drive as a natural aphrodisiac.
6. Moringa leaves contain a lot of vitamins and minerals when dried.

The immature green pods (drumsticks)are prepared similarly to green beans, while the seeds can be removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts.The leaves are rich in iron and can be cooked like spinach. Dried leaf powder is used as a seasoning- a bit like dried thyme.

Clearly, Moringa Oleifera is a remarkable plant. There is a financial incentive for people looking into farming as a viable option.

Springing up all around Nigeria is an industry; a growing community of young entrepreneurs, researchers and farmers tapping into Moringa farming.

The clip below is inspiring. It tells a story of a great opportunity to be part of the swelling industry around the Moringa plant. Yes, It requires an investment of passion, time and resources. However, the benefits to humanity of this  “tree of life” are substantial.

Read more here about how to prepare Moringa leaf tea and other recipes using the Moringa plant


The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”     Ann Wigmore


Calories: 163 | Fat: 1g (grams) | Protein: 4g | Carbs: 38g | Calcium: 7% | Vitamin A: 9% | Vitamin C: 93%

This fruit and veg smoothie is perfect as a morning fluid breakfast if you are on a raw food detox or fluid detox or simply looking for a healthy alternative to your usual breakfast.

The Star fruit is refreshing and light. It often reminds me of cucumbers and if you do not have Star fruits readily available, cucumbers will do just as well.  Both Star fruits and cucumbers are an excellent accompaniment in a vegetable smoothie packed with the power of nature`s amazing nutrients.

Star Fruit straight from the tree- ready for juicing. Ile-Ife

Star Fruit straight from the tree- ready for blending.

To make the smoothie, I tend to  use mild greens like  Tete (Spinach), Amunututu or a few Ugu leaves (Ugu is a stronger leaf….use sparinly!)

Fresh Ugu leaves

Fresh Ugu leaves

A slice of Raw Ginger

Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few. Ginger is absolutely essential to ensure you get the benefits of this combination of raw ingredients.

download ginger leaves

Making the Smoothie

To remove the seeds of the start fruit,  simply cut the fruit lengthwise along each of the five sides. The seeds are located on either side the the five points and can easily be removed with a knife or your fingers.  I use the peel which is quite edible, you may strip off the skin on the ridges which can be quite hard. Personally, I wash, chop and blend! Enjoy. 

Creamy Starfruit-Banana and Spinach Smoothie

1 large starfruit, deseeded
1 banana, peeled
2 cups fresh baby spinach (or Ugu leaves, mustard leaves or kale)
8 ounces of filtered water ( or freshly squeezed orange)

Calories: 163 | Fat: 1g (grams) | Protein: 4g | Carbs: 38g | Calcium: 7% | Vitamin A: 9% | Vitamin C: 93%


download ginger leaves

The weather is getting cold and I have to say- out comes the Ginger, Lemon and Honey. Being a teacher, my voice is one of my most important tools. Keeping my throat soothed and looked after is a must to see off those tickly coughs right through the winter into Spring.



images (1) drink


Ginger, Lemon and Honey Syrup Recipe


Fresh juice- 2-3 lemons or a good sized couple of limes
1″ piece fresh ginger root
1/2 to 1 cup honey




Grate the ginger
Add the lemon juice
Add honey- cool enough to sip ginger bits and all

download ginger leaves


Also called Graviola, Guanabana, Custard Apple and Brazilian Paw Paw, Soursop is a large, spiny, green tropical fruit.

Lovely Soursop cut in half- fleshy,sweet and very,very nice.

Lovely Soursop cut in half- fleshy,sweet and delicious

I remember the soursop fruit well.
I recall my mum telling me that soursop was brought  into Nigeria by the West Indian women who emigrated to Nigeria after Independence.

Well, whatever the case, I can definitely remember soursoup trees in the many West Indian homes I visited as a child in the city of Ibadan.

Check out soursop juice- fantastic with some ice cubes on a hot day

Check out soursop juice- fantastic with some ice cubes on a hot day

It`s sweet,  creamy pulp just oozed goodness when ripe and ready for plucking off the tree.

Soursop tree in the tropical sun

Soursop tree in the tropical sun


Beyond just being a great fruit to feast on, soursop contains fatty compounds called acetogenins.

Soursop’s acetogenins are the compounds that have been most studied, especially for their potential to prevent or slow the growth of cancer.

It`s Saturday…all day.
Chill and relax with this pineapple and soursop smoothie!

Pineapple and Soursop Smoothie Teat

A cup of soursop pulp or graviola
Half cup of pineapple into cubes
½ c. orange juice
2 Tbs. honey (optional)
4 to 5 ice cubes
Place all ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth.

Pineapple and Yummy Soursop in a delish smoothie

Pineapple and Yummy Soursop in a delish smoothie


Read more about the health benefits of soursop here.

images (1) juice

Considering how hugely beneficial and versatile they are, you could do worse than pay more attention to these tasty rubies; tomatoes are really  full of  amazing nutrients.

download tomato africa


Did You Know?

1. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as A, C, E, iron and potassium, which help to nourish the skin.

2. Homemade tomato facial masks are popular particularly for oily and blemish-prone skin.

3. Fresh tomatoes contain only 5 mg of sodium and 237 mg of potassium an important constituent of cell and body fluids.


images (1) niger tomatoes

4. Tomatoes are high in gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), a compound that can help bring down blood pressure.

5. Tomato is a natural antiseptic agent because they contain nicotinic acids. This is useful in fighting off viruses and infections.

6. In South America and parts of Asia, people use fresh juice extract to stop excessive bleeding from wounds.

7. Tomatoes have been used with positive results, in tests against cancers of the cervix, stomach, mouth, colon, and even rectal cancer.



Tomato facial for Oily skin


1 Tomato
1 Lemon/lime
2 tbsp. Oatmeal
1 tsp. honey

download mask tomato

Combine all the ingredients and blend into a smooth paste.
Smooth the mixture onto a cleaned face. Be careful to keep the mixture from getting into your eyes
Leave on for 15-20 minutes and wash off with warm water. Apply light moisturizer.

A healthy you must binge on tomatoes now and again. Remember that the deep red color in tomatoes comes from the carotenoid pigment Lycopene an antioxidant which helps to clean up damaging free radicals in the body that can harm your cells. Studies have shown that this helps to fight cancer.



2672_63_38 efinrin

 EFINRIN  (Achyranthes Aspera )

Ewe Efinrin – Achyranthes aspera (Amaranthaceae)  common names: chaff-flower, prickly chaff flower, devil’s horsewhip  and Apamarga is an important medicinal herb found throughout Nigeria. This is a powerful herb and has been used for 100s of years to treat many ailments in the subcontinent of India.   It has edible leaves and seeds it can be used as a substitute for spinach which is in the same family. It has been naturalized in southern Europe and grows in East Asia through to Australia.

Efinrin grows wild in Nigeria and I have come across this plant many times  on road sides, field boundaries and in private back gardens. I was amazed to find out the range of uses of this interesting plant.

 download (2) efinrin

Top  Uses Of Efinrin


  1. For Renal Dropsies

Make a decoction by adding 2 oz. of the plant to 1.5 pints of water. Boil for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain. This is a good diuretic. Useful for renal dropsies.

Dose: one to two ounces of the mixture two or three times daily.

  1. For stomach ache and bowel complaints, piles, boils, skin eruptions etc.

Use the leaf juice.

  1. For diarrhea and dysentery

A decoction of powdered leaves with honey or sugar candy is useful in the early stages of diarrhea and dysentery.

  1. For Fevers

Grind fresh leaves into a paste. Mix it with jaggery or black pepper and garlic. Form it into pills. This is a good antiperiodic especially in quartan fevers.


download (2) efinrin

  1. For Cough

A pinch of the root-powder with a pinch of pepper powder and honey is a remedy for cough.

  1. For bites of poisonous insects, wasps, bees etc

Rub the leaves into a paste with water. Apply this into the affected area.

Grind the flowering spikes of the seeds into a paste with water. Apply externally to the affected region for bites of poisonous snakes and reptiles.



Links for more info


download dongoyaro seedsI  was drawn to the Dongoyaro tree as a child.  I liked the small yellowish fruit  which  look like  tiny apricots and the busy branches with  their lively serrated leaves. It also fascinated me as  I heard my aunties speak almost in awe of the Dongoyaro tree and its  potency  to cure all–  especially the use of its leaves in the  traditional treatment of malaria.

Today, among traditional healers  in Okeigbo, South west Nigeria, Azadirachta indica (Dongoyaro) continues to be  used with other  herbs in  malaria therapy.

A few years ago, on a trip to Malaysia, I discovered  a face mask which seemed like the new best thing in town.It worked a near miracle on reducing my acne and breakouts.

A Neem face mask;  I was super impressed.Imagine my pleasant surprise when I joined the dots…- the Dogonyaro tree and the Neem  tree are one and the same.

Grown throughout India, and known as the  one tree pharmacy’, extracts  from the Neem tree have been used in Ayurvedic preparations  for thousands of years to maintain health and overall well-being. The roots, bark, gum, leaves, fruit, seed kernels and seed oil  of the Neem tree are all used  for both internal and topical use.

Top 10 Benefits of neem – Neem Benefits – Health

For more information on benefits of Neem see here.

Buy Neem products online here.

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