Bitter Leaf Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

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Bitter leaf is a tropical plant that grows in some parts of Africa. It is majorly grown in the western and southern parts of Nigeria and is planted with the stem during the rainy season.

It is well-known for its bitter taste and is often referred botanically to as Vernonia amygdalina (VA).

Apart from the scientific name, it is also known under many names such as onugbu in Igbo, efo ewuro in Yoruba, shakwa shuwaka in Hausa, and etidot in the Cross River State of Nigeria

Like the name suggests bitter leaf is so bitter that just touching the leaves can leave your hands tasting bitter for many hours.

Because of this, many people cannot withstand the thought of drinking bitter leaf juice/water.

But remember that the best medicines come with a bitter taste and bitter leaf ranks high among them.

Bitter leaf is used in preparing a popular Nigerian soup called bitter leaf soup (ofe onugbu) in Igbo land and many other local cuisines.

Bitter Leaf Business

There is no restaurant or eatery you will go to in Nigeria without them having bitter-leaf soup. In short, it is a business and those in the bitter leaf business are smiling to the bank.

Apart from eating it as a food, the bitter-leaf vegetable is also used in the pharmaceutical industries for its extracts.

This means that you can sell bitter leaves to these pharmaceutical industries and make money. To prepare the leaves for cooking, you need to wash them first.

The sad part is that almost all the nutrients are washed off from the leaves. Even the leftovers are further lost to the cooking process:

But the truth is, without washing it for cooking, the bitterness will not allow you to eat the food. Some wash it without washing off all the bitterness, thereby leaving it with a kind of bitter-sweet taste.

Bitter Leaf Tea

Bitter leaf tea is an extract from the bitter leaf itself. It has numerous medicinal values and benefits to human health and lifestyle.

It is good in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems and generally protects the body from damage to cells, tissues, and organs.

Bitter leaf juice/water on its own is bitter and a turn-off for a lot of people.
So to reduce the bitterness of the bitter leaf juice, firstly, blend it with spinach or Ugwu (fluted pumpkin). The same method applies to bitter leaf smoothies.

If you still find it very bitter, then add some sweeteners like sweet fruit juices to it, such as apples, pineapple, or oranges.

It is important to note that it is better to consume bitter leaves raw without washing off their bitterness in other to enjoy its miraculous maximum health benefits.

Nutritional Facts about Bitter Leaf

Bitter leaf is an herb plant. According to herbpathy.com, this plant has a botanical name, Vernonia amygdala.

It contains a lot of useful nutrients. This is a full list of its nutrients; alkaloids, anthraquinones, ascorbic acid, calcium, chlorogeni, cooper, coumarins, essential oil, flavonoids, folic acid, iron, liganans, minerals, myricetin, phenolic acid, phosphorus, potassium, protein, saponins, sesquiterpenes, steroids, tannic acid, terpene, vitamin C, vitamins, xanthones, and zinc.

Bitter leaves themselves; the roots and the plant, in general, are highly medicinal and exhibit certain nutritional benefits in the human body.

Aside from using it for cooking, most people are unaware of its other miraculous health benefits.

Health Benefits of Bitter Leaves

From treating malaria, fertility, typhoid, diabetes, Hepatitis B, diarrhea, tuberculosis, gallstones, and kidney disease, to the prevention of cancer, correcting the hormonal imbalance, and lowering high blood pressure, the health benefits go on and on.

  1. Helps to Clear Fever

Firstly, bitter leaves contain flavonoids which have powerful antioxidant effects in treating several health issues such as feverish conditions.

Antiseptic contained in the bitter leaf is very effective to reduce the heat inside the body. Bitter leaf nutrients like andrographolide lactones, glucosides, fiterpene, and flavonoids can decrease body tension and of course, serve, to reduce fever.

A glass of this herbal juice helps to combat malarial symptoms and reduce fever effects.

  1. Soothes and Cures Pile.

Secondly, taking a cup of juice a day is a great way to detoxify the body from harmful toxins. The juice aids in increasing breast milk production in nursing mothers.

  1. It relieves stomach ache

Thirdly, it is a renowned remedy for stomachaches. All you need do is to chew the tender stem of the plant like a chewing stick and swallow the bitterness and the ache will stop within a few minutes.

Alternatively, you can pound the fresh leaves in a mortar and press out the juice. Add a pinch of salt to three tablespoons of the undiluted juice and drink. You will experience relief in no time.

  1. It fights prostate cancer

Fourthly, research has shown that prostate cancer is common among men who are over forty years old. And one of its known symptoms is difficult and painful urination.

It is very good for this ailment because it intensifies the flow of urine and reduces the pain, as well as regulates the spread of the cell.

  1. It fights pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs and this miraculous plant is powerful enough to combat this condition.

  1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a condition that promotes habitual sleeplessness.

However, studies have shown that Bitter leaf extract has done wonders for those suffering from sleeplessness.

  1. Enhances fertility

Studies have shown that it boosts the chances of pregnancy among women who are finding it difficult to conceive.

And this is because the detoxification power help prevents the pollution of the antibodies that fight diseases, and initiate tissue repair and regeneration.

  1. Aids in Weight Loss

The components in leaf juice make it great therapy for burning off that extra fat you have been looking at getting rid of. A daily dose of the juice in your diet can eliminate bad cholesterol and reduces excess calories in the body

  1. Detoxifies the Body

The juice extracted has detoxifying properties that help in mopping off impurities from the body.

This effect also helps to get rid of toxins in the liver, kidneys as well as lungs, and the entire human body.

  • Treats Diabetes

Bitter leaves have versatile curative and medicinal properties which can treat and manage certain health conditions.

Scientifically, it has been proven that bitter leaf contains plant compounds that contribute to its bitter taste and play a pivotal role in moderating the blood sugar level and promoting normal insulin function.

This compound hinders the rising of glucose in the blood which leads to the risk of diabetes.

  • Laxative

Above all, you can use it as a laxative. Taking bitter leaves or extracts may help soften your stool and relieve constipation.


Mature Vernonia amygdalina (Bitter leaves) is safe for consumption by humans either by cooking or eating it fresh.

Please consult your doctor before consumption if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Bitter Leaf Side Effects

It is safe to consume in moderation or in the right amounts.

Side effects that may arise in the form are loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, headache, runny nose, and fatigue.

This article is for educational purposes only, Always seek medical advice before you try anything new.


Does bitter leaf help sexually ~ Is bitter leaf Good sexually? Is a Bitter leaf good for men?

Bitter leaf boosts fertility, fights prostate

According to Dr. Grace Johnson, a specialist, bitter leaf boosts reproductive system activities, balances hormones, and aids in the discharge of healthy eggs, which is why it works so well for fertility and combats prostate cancer.

What benefits can bitter leaf capsules offer?

Bitter leaf use on a regular basis aids in controlling blood cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

The leaf can also be used to treat parasite-induced diseases including malaria as well as fever, feverish conditions, joint pain, various intestinal complaints, stomach aches, and stomach aches.

What is bitter leaf?

The plant Vernonia amygdalina, often known as bitter leaf, is a shrub or small tree that, when fully developed, can grow to a height of 23 feet.

Bitter leaf tree has bark that is flaky, rough, and grey or brown in color.

The herb is a native African plant that is found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Bitter leaf and garlic – Can I mix bitter leaf and garlic?

One malt drink, a handful of bitter leaves, and one garlic clove are all that are required.

Combine your garlic clove and bitter leaf. By chopping the garlic clove into tiny pieces for easier blending, you may accomplish this quickly.

If you don’t have a blender you can use mortal or stone to do it manually.

Bitter leaf in English

Amygdalina is commonly called bitter leaf in English because of its bitter taste.

What is bitter leaf in Nigeria?

The vegetable known as bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) is used to make the well-known soup known as bitter leaf.

In Nigeria, the Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba people refer to it by the names Onugbu, Shiwaka, and Ewuro.

Despite this plant’s long history, only a small number of individuals are aware of its therapeutic benefits.

Does bitter leaf help in weight loss – Can bitter leaf make you lose weight?

Aids in Losing Weight

Bitter leaf juice is a terrific therapy for burning off the extra fat you’ve been trying to get rid of thanks to its ingredients.

Bitter leaf juice can help you lose weight and lower your bad cholesterol when you add a daily serving to your diet.

Importance of bitter leaves in the body

Bitter leaf consumption on a regular basis aids in controlling blood cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

The leaf can also be used to treat parasite-induced diseases including malaria as well as fever, feverish conditions, joint pain, various levels of intestinal complaints, and stomach aches.

What ailment can bitter leaves treat?

Bitter leaf consumption on a regular basis aids in controlling blood cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

The leaf can also be used to treat parasite-induced diseases including malaria as well as fever, feverish conditions, joint pain, various intestinal complaints, stomach aches, and stomach aches.

What are the benefits of drinking bitter-leaf juice?

Health benefits of drinking bitter leaf juice

  • Cures Insomnia
  • Tones up the liver and the kidney
  • It helps pregnant and lactating mothers
  • Aids to protect the body against pollutants
  • It helps cure memory loss
  • Detoxifies the whole body
  • Helps prevents and cure diseases
  • Controls the synthesis of female hormones
Is daily consumption of bitter leaf healthy?

Bitter leaf is useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal tract illnesses as well as stomach distress, diarrhea, and dysentery. Two cups of bitter leaf juice consumed every day can aid with stomach issues.

The effects of bitter leaf on the body

Bitter leaf also aids in the cleansing of several of the body’s most important organs, including the kidney and liver.

Additionally, eczema, ringworm, and other skin problems are treated using bitter leaves.

Is drinking bitter-leaf water on an empty stomach a smart idea?

According to numerous research, sipping bitter leaf water on an empty stomach boosts the bitter leaf’s efficiency by 30%.

Is Bitter leaf good for the kidney?

Nigerian researchers have shown how bitter leaves can protect the kidneys, liver, and heart from harm.

Bitter leaf is a member of the Compositae plant family and has the botanical name Vernonia amygdalina.

Onugbu is the Ibo name, and ewuro is the Yoruba name. It is a little shrub that thrives mostly in tropical Africa.

Can I consume raw bitter leaves?

Due to its bitterness, fresh bitter leaves can be chewed or their juice can be consumed to lower blood sugar and regulate blood pressure.

It is accurate because bitter leaves contain andrographolide, which lowers blood sugar levels and lowers the chance of developing diabetes

Is bitter leaf beneficial for blood pressure?  Is bitter leaf good for BP?

In tropical Africa, the bitter leaf has long been used in traditional medicine as a popular vegetable for the management and prevention of diabetes and hypertension.

Can bitter leaf lower blood sugar levels?

Researchers recently compared bitter leaf and smell leaf extracts, and they discovered that bitter leaf extracts had greater blood sugar-lowering effects than scent leaf extracts, even though they combined to have greater efficacy.

Can bitter leaf improve immunological function? Boost the immune system?

The numbers of white blood cells and CD4+ were increased by bitter leaf water extracts, which improved immunological response.

This extract has the potential to boost CD4+ cell counts, making it an adjunct to antiretroviral therapy in HIV-positive patients.

Can you boil bitter leaf and drink it?

Some illnesses can be treated by boiling bitter leaves. You can ingest bitter leaf in a variety of ways to maximize its benefits and improve your health.

Some people enjoy making and consuming bitter-leaf water. Others add chopped fresh greens to their meals every day.

Do bitter leaves boot ovulation?

According to dietitian Grace Johnson, the bitter leaf can increase fertility due to its capacity to enhance reproductive system performance, regulate hormones, and aid in the discharge of healthy eggs from the ovary

Can I drink juice from bitter leaves at night?

Those with sleeplessness can be helped by drinking the juice of bitter leaves.

Drink two glasses of bitter leaf juice every night, and your body will be so tranquil that you will have no trouble falling asleep.

Bitter leaf juice’s astringency lowers blood sugar and regulates blood pressure.

Can kidney stones be cured by bitter leaf?

Bitter leaves can support these organs’ optimal performance by helping to maintain their homeostasis.

As it encourages urine flow, the bitter leaf has also been traditionally used to treat kidney stones. Additionally, it can stop the progression of fatty liver disease.

How toxic is a bitter leaf?

Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) extracts are harmless and have no known adverse effects in either people or animals.

However, scientific research recommends against consuming bitter leaves in large quantities because doing so makes them toxic and dangerous to human cells.

Can diabetes be cured by bitter-leaf water?

Like those, a mixture of raw onion, bitter leaf, and honey is likewise not a cure for either type 1 or 2 diabetes.

You can find out if you have diabetes and what kind you have with a quick blood test, and doctors advise that you monitor your blood sugar levels frequently.

Bitter Leaf benefits
Bitter Leaf benefits


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