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THE BENEFITS OF BITTER LEAF AMONG THE RURAL DWELLERS IN NIGERIA

THE BENEFITS OF BITTER LEAF AMONG THE RURAL DWELLERS IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1          Background to the Study

Bitter leaf is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Vernonia which has about 1,000 species of shrubs (Muanya, 2013). It belongs to the family Astaraceae.

 

Moreover, it is vegetatively cultivated by stem cutting at an angle of 450C and popular in most of West Africa countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Congo Democratic Republic. It was named after an English Botanist William Vernon. It is also referred to as ironweed. V. amygdalina is frequently found in gardens (Schiffers, 2000).

 

It can adapt to a variety of climates unlike other plants that are native to certain areas. It is grown in many countries, in savannah zones and cultivated fields (Ibrahim et al., 2010). Although most popularly used for food, it has also, been traditionally used for its medicinal properties (Swee et al., 2010).

 

True to its name, bitter leaf is bitter to taste but surprisingly delicious in meals (Abosi and Raseroka, 2003). Bitter leaf is called Omjunso in East Africa especially Tanzania, Onugbo in Igbo-Eastern Nigeria and Orugbo among the Itsekiri and Urhobo tribes in Nigeria, Ewuro (Yoruba), Etidot (Ibibio), Ityuna (Tiv), Oriwo (Edo), Chusa-doki Shiwaka (Hausa).

Botanically, bitter leaf is a shrub or small tree that grows in tropical Africa. It attains the height of 2.5m with petiolate leaf of about 6mm in diameter that is elliptic in shape (Ijeh and Ejike, 2011).

The branches are brittle and break off easily. The leaves are elliptical and up to 20cm long. The leaves are oblongate lance-like in shape, veined are bear, soft hairs on the underside. The bark is green or brownish dark with rough surface. The leaves are green with characteristic odour and bitter taste.

The flowers are white, small, tiny and clustered. The small fruits have slightly hairy small nuts inside.

 

THE BENEFITS OF BITTER LEAF AMONG THE RURAL DWELLERS IN NIGERIA

1.2. Statement of the Problem

Malnutrition/hunger as described by the United Nation is the single most related cause to most of the Millennium Development Goals. (UNDP, 2011).

The number of people affected by malnutrition and its related conditions is about 925 million people worldwide according to Svedberg in 2000.

 

Appropriate cooking and the correct combination of foods is a very important factor that if considered and practiced well will help to reduce malnutrition and its related diseases.

 

Provision of a medicinal/nutritious plant for use as a meal and medicine is a giant step that takes care of about half of the conditions that promote good health as illustrated by many health models.

 

This is due to the many nutritious benefits, medicinal effects which translate into better health and the fact that the growth of this plant that can grow into a tree is a step toward environmental rehabilitation.

Its handling and storage would affect large scale production and export for the consumption of many.

 

1.3          Justification

This study seeks to find out more information on the benefits of bitter leaf as well as the storage methods on which we would delve more into drying methods such as air drying, solar drying and oven drying to find out whether drying has effects on the nutritional and medicinal qualities of the plant.

Literature available on bitter leaf is inadequate and hence this research seeks to add to the pre-existing information.

Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email: admin@projectboss.com.ng

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