Procreation is a biological function specially endorsed by God for the continuation of the human race. While childbirth is often considered a blessing, birth control is adjudged a necessity. It allows the mother to recover sufficiently; it also gives both parents the time to nurture and rear their child. The search for an effective method of birth control is not a recent development. It is as old as human existence. Even though the pre-colonial practice of polygamy allowed new mothers to enjoy a long period of postpartum abstinence, mothers, in adherence to the Igbo saying, nkwucha aburo ujo (preparation doesn’t connote fear), sought and used natural contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancy.
In the twenty-first century, the dawning realization that smaller families are easier to manage has made couples even more determined to control their reproductive abilities. As was the case in the pre-colonial era, women often take the family planning initiative. Quite a good number of them use orthodox contraceptives. While some complain that it is unreliable, others complain of side effects which range from weight gain and depression to low sex drive, heavy menstruation, amongst others. Since giving up contraceptives is not an option for women of childbearing age, they have turned to nature trusting it to provide an uncomplicated solution to their problem.
Uda, also called Negro pepper, African pepper, Guinea pepper, spice tree and West African pepper, is native to the lowland rainforest and moist fringe forest in the savanna zones of Africa. It is largely found in West, Central and Southern Africa. Uda is a local spice used for flavouring foods like soups and porridge yam. It is allegedly rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E and folic acid. Its use for medicinal purposes is well known too. Uda is used in the treatment of stomach ailments, menstrual disorder, and nasopharyngeal infections. Uda water is cheap, allegedly effective and has no side effect. Incidentally, most people are ignorant of its use as a contraceptive.
Uda water is easy to prepare. With a reasonable quantity of the uda seed, the contraceptive is almost ready. 100cl of water is brought to boil in a pot. Then the seeds are blended and poured into the pot of boiling water. After five minutes, the heat is turned off and allowed to cool. It can be preserved by refrigerating. When a glass is taken before or after sexual intercourse, it is believed to prevent conception.
[Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only, and not as a substitute for professional medical advice.]
Marika Podda Connor, “The Benefits of Child Spacing,” A Community Health Education Programme with Somali Migrants in Malta, 2011.
Earnest Oghenesuvwe Erhirhie and Goodies Emuesiri Moke, “Xylopia Aethiopica: A Review of its Ethnomedicinal, Chemical and Pharmacological Properties,” American Journal of PharmTech Research, 2014.
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