Spices in Ghana | Local Names of Spices | Natural Spices

Do you want to know Spices in Ghana, their local names, and their uses? If yes, then read on.

The West African country of Ghana is home to a wide range of indigenous plant species and herbs, many of which are used for medicinal purposes or as a spice for cooking.

Spices in Ghana – Besides her historical heritage, spectacular scenic beauty, and rich cultural diversity, Ghana is also home to some of the best collections of top dishes.

Local Names of Spices in Ghana
Local Names of Spices in Ghana

Part of the secret of Ghanaian delicious food is its spices. Spices add flavor to food and give off a delicious aroma and there are a lot of local Ghanaian spices.

These spices not only add a special flavor to food but are also full of amazing health benefits.

The magic touch behind most of the great tasting foods in Ghana is because of the remarkable spices added to them

Some of the Spices in Ghana, for example, Cola have received global attention for their uses in worldwide distributed foodstuffs.

Other Ghana’s spices, like the melegueta pepper, have been traded in history, but are mainly used within the Republic of Ghana and the neighboring countries.

The dishes prepared here in Ghana and Africa are very tasty as they come in very fragrant because of the natural spices and herbs used.

It is no longer news that Ghanaians can choose locally prepared dishes on any given day. If so! Then there must be a secret behind this.

The secret behind all the meals lies in the natural SPICES used. Local African spices have done great things for traditional dishes and have probably helped us stick to our local food.

List of Spices in Ghana 2021

Aridan (prekese)

The Akan word for prekese is aridan.

It is usually burnt right on the coal pot before it is used. It gives off a pleasant aroma.

Melegueta Pepper

The melegueta pepper (Aframomum melegueta) is known in other parts of the world as grains of paradise, guinea pepper, and alligator pepper.


It is also known as ‘stinking fish’ Momone is prepared by fermenting a salted fish nearly to rot in (salt solution) or brine for some days.


Potash is also known as Potassium Carbonate (K2C03) is by tradition known as Kanwu or Kaawe.

Kanwu is used to make waakye.

Waakye leaves

Waakye leaves are the native name for sun-dried leaves or stalks of red sorghum or hibiscus leaves.


Kpaposhitↄ is the traditional name for petite belle pepper.

This spice is used while it’s still green. It is ground and it’s ready to serve with kenkey or banku or other meal.

Turkey berry

Turkey berry is locally or traditionally known as Kwahu Nsosuaa in Twi.

African bird pepper

African bird pepper is locally known as Misewain in Twi, Akweley Waabin in Ga can also be called Malagueta pepper or Piri-piri or African Devil.

Negro Pepper

Negro Pepper is traditionally known as Hwentia in Twi.

It is also Senegal pepper or Ethiopian pepper or Moor pepper.


Mondia, also known as White’s ginger (Apocynaceae),

African nutmeg

African Nutmeg is traditional Wedie Abain or Awerewain in Twi or Ehuru in Igno. When used in stews, give some nice aroma and delicious taste.

Guinea pepper

Guinea pepper is traditionally known as Efon Wisa in Twi. This spice also has medicinal purposes.

Black Peppercorns / West African Black Pepper/Tailed Pepper – The twi name is Esoro Wisa and Wire Din in Ga

Other local Spices in Ghana include:

  • Salt petre (kanwe)
  • Bay leaves
  • Turmeric
  • Oregano
  • Chilli pepper
  • Cloves – Cloves are known as dadoa amba or pepre in twi, or mbrego amba in fante.
  • Dawadawa
Spices Shop in Ghana

Natural spices can be bought from any local market in Ghana

Twi names for Spices in Ghana

The spices in Ghana and their local Twi names at present. Below you will see the summary of almost all Ghanaian spices and their corresponding English names.

Spice Twi name
Negro pepper  Ahwentia or hwentia
Bay leaves
Red bell pepper Kpakposhitor
Ginger akekaduro
Cloves Dadoa amba or Pepre
Black pepper  Esoro wisa
White pepper
Stinking fish Momone
Basil leaves Akoko mesa
Anise seeds/Fennel seed Nkitinkiti
African locust beans Dawadawa
Scotch bonnet pepper Kpakposhito
Alligator pepper/guinea pepper Efom wisa
Mint leaves Nunum




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