Monodora myristica, aka ehuru (African nutmeg)

Last week on this blog we discussed the best pepper soup recipe and for those of us who appreciate a knowing of what they eat, this post is going to expose to us the basic health and nutritional value of ehuru, our African nutmeg.

De shelled African nutmeg

AMAZING HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF MONODORA MYRISTICA (aka AFrican Orchid Nutmeg, Calabar Nutmeg, Jamaican nutmeg. Ariwo in yoruba, ehuru in ibo or gujiya dan miya in housa.

Monodora myristica, which is popularly known as ehu is the spice responsible for the aromatic flavour and taste behind grandma’s old fashioned recipes. Some local african delicacies like nkwobi, abacha, isi ewu, ugba, ofe akwu, banga soup, afia efere, afia oto, pepper soups, etc confess to this fact and other assorted food types such as vegetables, confections, sausages, sauces, meats and puddings are not left out either.

It is a tropical plant of West African origin. Different tribes in Nigeria has different names for Ehu seeds. The Yoruba’s call it ariwo,  Hausa’s call it, gujiya dan miya, the ibos call it Ehu, Ehre by Urbobos and iwun for the efiks. The African Orchid nutmeg other names include African nutmeg, Ehuru, Ghana seeds, Jamaican nutmeg, calabash nutmeg etc.

African nutmeg comes in a shell that is usually removed to get the seed. The seed is then ground and added to soups pepper soup or stew as spice. Ehu seeds produce stronger aroma and taste if they are roasted moderately before use.  Due to the strong flavor and aroma of this spice, A little quantity is usually enough so that the flavour does not over power other condiments of your food. The brown  seeds are encapsulated in aromatic pulp, the leaves can serve as manure when decayed while the tree can be cut and used as firewood or for carpentry works.

Nutritional benefits of our ehuru

African nutmeg is rich in several important micro nutrients that are needed in the body like; potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and vital B-complex vitamins, including vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and many flavonoid anti-oxidants that are essential. 

African nutmeg contains essential oils which is responsible for its aroma and flavor.

The Amazing health Benefits of iwun  Seed 

🌰Cures Headache

Monodora myristica seeds extracts can be used for treating headaches and cold.

🌰Relief of Stomach Pains 

The seeds are used in the treatment of digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea. They stimulate digestion and relieve stomach pain, cramps or disorder

🌰Management of Sickle cell anemia

This  seeds has been listed as part of foods that help alleviate problems associated with sickle cell anemia.

🌰Beneficial for Newborn Mothers

The  seeds are used for preparing special hot soups ntung  ’, for newborn mothers for easy control of uterine hemorrhage. It is also believed that adding these two spices in their soups helps the newborn mother’s milk to start flowing normally immediately after childbirth. Basically, the seeds can be ground and used as a postpartum tonic.

🌰Essential Oil Constituent

The leaves of the African nutmeg (iwun  seeds) contain an essential oil that comprises of α-pinene, β-caryophyllene and α-humulene. Moreover, the essential oil of the African nutmeg is made up of fundamental compounds such as pinene, α-phellandrene, limonene, α-pinene and myrcene.

🌰Constipation Relief.

The  seeds act as a stimulant thus can be ground and used to prepare soup that helps to relieve constipation. They  can also be used for treating stomach ache.

🌰Hemorrhoids Treatment

The bark of monodora myristica can be used to treat haemorrhoids otherwise known as pile.  Haemorrhoid are swollen veins in the lower part of the rectum and anus. They cause severe pains, severe itching and difficulty sitting.

🌰Antimicrobial Properties

Researchers reveal that the monodora myristica extracts possess antimicrobial properties against microorganisms.

🌰Oil Content

The pulp of the ehu seeds contains essential oil such as; dipentene, pinene and camphene. These types of oil can be used industrially for manufacturing perfumes, soaps and washing detergents. The oil can also be used as cooking oil.

🌰Treatment of Rheumatism

African nutmeg (iwun  seeds) can be used to make an ointment that can be used for treating rheumatism.

🌰Treatment of Arthritis

According to researchers, Monodora myristica can be used for treating arthritis.

🌰Culinary Purposes.  Iwun seeds can be ground into powdered form, which is used for spicing and flavouring food such as pepper soup.

🌰Diabetes Treatment

African nutmeg can be used for treating diabetes mellitus.

🌰Anti-sickling Properties

According to researchers, the  seeds have been proven to possess anti-sickling properties.

🌰Diuretic Properties

Studies also reveal that this  seeds contain diuretic properties and can also be used for treating mild fever.

🌰Treatment of High Cholesterol level

Researchers reveal that the seeds (M. myristica), contain cholesterol lowering ability thus can be used for treating individuals with high cholesterol level.

🌰Ornamental Benefits

Because of the orchid-like flowers of the African nutmeg, the tree can be used for ornamental purposes. The seeds can also be used for making beads and necklaces.

🌰Insect Repellent

The seeds and leaves of African nutmeg act as insect repellent to drive away live and fleas infestation.

🌰Sore Treatment

The seeds and leaves of African nutmeg (iwun seeds) can be decocted or infused, which is used for treating sores and wounds.

You can see that the nutritional and health benefits of this spice is imence and hence can not be ignored or by-passed in our recipes. We encourage you to include ehuru as your personal style in your cooking to avail yourself of its goodies.

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