Pepper Fruit (Dennettia tripetala) existence is one of the plants that make up the global green planet, Plants are viewed to be the first living organisms on the earth. Remove plants, the environment and human life on this earth cannot survive.
We grow house plants (like the umbrella plant called magnolia tripetala) in our homes for shelter, garden plant, indoor plants, roadside plants, outdoor plants, etc. Their presence is unavoidable for clean air, food, and water in this world.
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Plants are beneficial to our well-being and to our economy. People in many countries rely on plant products for their livelihood and income. Some plants contain some chemical compounds vital for the metabolic performance of our body systems. One of these beneficial plants is the Dennettia tripetala, the botanical name of pepper fruit.
History of Dennettia Tripetala
Dennettia tripetala Wikipedia defines Dennettia tripetala tree as the botanical name of a plant whose fruits are called pepper fruits. It’s native to West Africa including Nigeria where the fruits are called nkarika in Efik, obi ata or igberi in Yoruba, mmimi in Igbo, and Ibibio, imako in Urhobo and aki in Bini.
Dennettia tripetala tree thrives mainly in the Savannah and rain forest zones while the fruit usually ripens between April and May.
What Is Pepper Fruit?
Pepper fruits are the most commonly used parts of this tree because they are eaten due to their peppery taste and the stimulation effects. The tripetala fruits are also used in cooking. The fruits are usually green but turn to red, pink or orange as they mature. They have a spicy, hot and peppery taste due to the volatile components that are present in the fruits.
In Igbo land, pepper fruits also called mmimmi are usually plated up and served with garden egg, bitter kola, kola nuts, and palm wine during coronations, traditional marriages, naming ceremonies, cultural ceremonies, new yam festivals and other events.
Mmimmi is mostly chewed fresh but can also be used for food preparations and for preparing herbal medicines. Both the green pepper fruits, red pepper fruits, pink pepper fruits, leaves, roots and barks of the Dennettia tripetala tree are notable by their strong pungent, spicy and peppers taste, and smell.
Health Benefits of Dennettia Tripetala (Pepper Fruits Benefits)
The health benefits of Nigerian pepper fruits are many and they include:
Helps Treat Infantile Convulsion
The Pepper fruit oil extract holds a compound named 1-nitro-2-phenol ethane which has an anticonvulsant and hypnotic effect that can heal infant convulsion effectively.
The leaves are used for this health condition. It is squeezed and the liquid content drain for oral treatment of convulsion in infants.
Serves as a Postpartum Tonic
Pepper fruits are used as one of the ingredients for the preparation of pepper soup for women who have just given birth. The fruit seeds are vital for preparing food for newborn mothers without delay after childbirth as the spice aids in uterus contraction.
Helps In The Treatment of Typhoid
The healthy fruits and leaves can be used for making herbal medicines for treating typhoid.
Cures Kidney And Liver Damage
This African fruit improves the damage in liver and kidney, which is related to the impact of multiple exposures to carbon tetrachloride.
Treats Gastro-Intestinal Diseases
The leaves, roots, and fruits can be used for producing herbal medicines for treating diarrhea, stomach upset, and vomiting and worm infestation.
The essential oil from the fruit contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. As a result, the oil can be used for reducing body inflammation and pain.
This African fruit is useful for fighting viruses such as cold, cough and fever.
Acts As an Insecticidal Property
Hexanolic extract from Dennettia tripetala fruits is latent as an insecticidal property.
Controls Blood Sugar Level
It controls blood sugar level, due to its antihyperglycemic properties.
Pepper fruit seed can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) considerably up to 25% in people suffering from glaucoma. It’s evident that it can be used in managing and preventing glaucoma.
Treats and Prevent Prostate Cancer
Mmimmi extract benefits; hinder the growth of prostate cancer cell. The juice was found to possess growth-inhibitory and cytotoxic effects on the prostate cancer cell lines in vitro.
Rich in Antioxidants
These medicinal fruits contain important antioxidants such as ascorbic acid and flavonoids. These anti-oxidants fight against free radicals that have the tendency to cause sicknesses in the body system.
The anti-oxidant property applies to the unripe green pepper fruit since it was revealed that the antioxidants in the fruits decrease as they are ripe while the phenolic content increases.
Phenolic compounds, also have some properties, as it exhibitions antioxidants, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic properties in the body.
This helps in the prevention of cancer because of its ability to prevent oxidation and inflammation.
Pepper fruit seed has an ethanol extract which contains anti-ulcer properties owing to the presence of flavonoid in the fruit and this ethanol extract from the seed helps in terminating stomach ulcers.
The leaves, fruits, and root of pepper tree are medicinal. They can be used to treat stomach upset, stubborn worms and other gastrointestinal issues.
In some parts of Nigeria and other local areas where this amazing fruit is grown, it has served many medicinal purposes.
Although not yet scientifically proven but it has been used by locals to relieve many health conditions such as the ones mentioned above and more.
Summing up, pepper fruit importance are many. Dennettia tripetala contain fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamins A and C.
The leaves, roots, barks, and fruits are the parts that are usually used medicinally because of the following medicinal properties:
- Mildly laxative
Different Dennettia tripetala parts are also used to:
- Assist uterine contraction after childbirth
- Lessen motion sickness and nausea
- Treat typhoid and malaria fevers
- Eradicate intestinal parasites and worms
- As a remedy for coughs and other respiratory issues
- Heal toothache and used as a mouthwash
- Nurse stomach ailments including ulcer
- Treat infections
- Cure convulsions
- Get rid of insects and pests
In conclusion , Dennettia tripetala might be neglected by many since it is not as sweet as other fruits but It has lots of nutritional and health benefits. Henceforth, it is better to be taken in moderation in order to gain all that it offers.
This write up is for awareness purposes. Please always consult your health care provider before taking any health decisions.