Uziza, scientifically known as piper guineense, is often used to make native delicacies – pepper soup, egusi soup and lots more. A special broth of the uziza seed is consumed by women especially of the Eastern Nigeria, after childbirth to enhance uterine contraction and expel retained matter from the womb.
While much emphasis is on the leaves, amazingly, all parts of this plant – the leaves and the seeds – have numerous medicinal, dietary, insecticidal, and health benefits.
The wealth of oziza
The leaves and seed are rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, C and minerals – calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. The antioxidant – flavonoids – in uziza prevents oxidative cell damage and has strong anticancer and anti-ulcer activity and protection against the different levels of carcinogenesis.
The leaves and seeds serve as traditional medicine used in treating certain ailments. They are good pain relievers recommended for patients suffering from rheumatism due to the analgesic properties.
They stimulate digestion and appetite. The leaves are employed in the treatment of both male and female infertility resulting from hormonal imbalance.
They have anti-hemorrhoidal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antimalarial, anti-hypertensive, and anticancer effect. They are also natural insecticides. They have larvicidal effects at high concentration on mosquito larvae.
They alleviate nausea and vomiting, lower blood fat and indirectly normalise blood flow and heart function. They are used for treating bronchitis, intestinal disorders such as indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, cholera and dysentery, and inflammation of mucous membrane.