‘Usu’ (Pleurotus tuber-regium) is an edible underground tuber of the edible mushroom which grows on dead trees or wood. It is found in the Eastern part of Nigeria and commonly known as “Usu” or “Ero-Usu.” It is called “Katala” in Hausa, “Umoho” in Igede, and “Awu” in Igala.
Usu is used as a soup thickener and also milled with melon seed (egusi) to make egusi balls – “Akpuruakpu Mgbam” (an exotic delicacy of the Ngwa tribe in Abia state).
Usu has a dark brown colour on the outside which is peeled to reveal a white colour. It is hard and usually soaked in water before grinding.
Usu is highly nutritious. It is rich in protein (which accounts for about 64% of the total mass), carbohydrates, fibers, Minerals – calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium. It is moderately rich in alkaloids, flavonoids and tannins.
Usu is healthy. It protects the heart and liver from harmful toxins and chemicals and boosts the immune system.
It has anti-diabetic properties. It regulates blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol level in the blood. It is an antioxidant and fights the harmful effects of free radicals causing chronic and degenerative diseases.
It has anti-inflammatory and anti-pathogenic properties which help to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.
It has anti-mutagenic action that protects the body cells from tumors and cancers.
Sources: Health Bubbles,
- Ikewuchi, C.C., Ikewuchi, J. C. (2009). Chemical profile of Pleurotus tuber-regium (Fr) Sing’s Sclerotia, Pacific Journal of Science and Technology, 10(1):295-299