Oha leaf botanically known as Pterocarpus mildraedil is a common vegetable consumed mainly by the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria. It is used in preparing soups and other foods requiring vegetables. Many are fond of this vegetable because of its taste when used in soups, the uses of oha goes beyond taste. My interest is in its numerous health benefits.
Oha leaves are known to contain hydrogen cyanide and oxalate but in low levels which are not harmful to humans.
Oha leaves contain minerals like, magnesium, calcium, potassium,copper, iron, zinc and manganese.
It is a source of vitamins A, B, and C source of amino acids like lysine, glutamic acid cysteine while still maintaining its low sodium status.
Here are 16 Health benefits of Oha leaves
1. Diarrhea Management:
Oha leaves is a source of the mineral zinc, which is important for a healthy immune system. Contains ingredients that helps repair and protect the intestinal mucosa.
The vegetable is rich in fibre which helps with constipation, unlike the fibre in some vegetables like pumpkin leaves which have strong and difficult-to-digest strands, the fibre in oha leaves are soft and easy to digest. It helps to improve the overall digestive function and heal the gut as well.
3. Helps treat Anaemia:
It contains iron. This mineral is important to our overall wellness. Plays an important role in red blood cell formation to create haemoglobin. This benefit is even supported by the presence of vitamin C which helps in iron absorption.
4. Help with healthy joints and arthritis
Oha leaves is a source of the uncommon mineral Manganese. Manganese play very important role in cartilage formation and lubricating fluid in the joint. The presence of this mineral in the body will help present and alate joint disease like arthritis.
5. Good For Heart health
The Presence of potassium in Oha leaves helps maintain the normal contaction of the heart. It will help the heart contract well and blood effectively pumped to all parts of the body.
6. Reduce Muscle Cramps:
Magnesium in the leaves is a muscle relaxant. This helps reduce muscle cramps
7. Improve Brain Function:
Glutamic acid in oha leaves is a important non essential amino acids which helps maintain the normal function of the brain as a neurotransmitter
8. Helps build muscle mass:
Oha leaves can help build muscle mass with the presence of cysteine amino acids content, Cysteine helps the body build protein which is used for the development of muscle mass.
9. Helps with Blood Pressure
This is a low sodium vegetable which is beneficial for hypertensive persons and individual with high blood press. Additionally, the potassium in Oha leaves can also help control blood pressure through its mechanism in regulating muscle contraction.
10.Improves Eye Health
It is a source of vitamin A which helps maintain better sight and strong immune system
11. Reduces Inflammations
Oha leaves also have positive effect on various inflammatory diseases such as ostheoarthritis, tonsilitis etc, consuming ora leaves either as soup or other forms will bring relief. The leaves contain a bioactive compound polyphenol which is responsible for the inflammation process.
12. Helps Alleviate malaria symptoms:
Eating soups cooked with this vegetable during malaria attacks helps in restore key organs that helps with a strong immune system such as the stomach, the heart, liver, iron supply etc. when all vital organs are working well, malaria cannot have a place.
13. Help Protect the Nervous System:
The presence of vitamin B group helps with the nervous system. Helps protect nerves from damage.
14. Boost the energy especially for athletes
The presence of lysine in the leave helps boost energy especially for athletic performance. The substance is needed by the body for a sustained energy production.
15. Maintain alkaline balance of the entire body
The green colour in the leaves gives the alkaline effect to the entire body which helps in balancing the body PH
16 Helps with Collagen Formation
Collagen is required in maintaining a healthy skin. Oha leaves contains the mineral copper in good amount to help with collagen formation. This gives us a healthy glowing skin.
The soup is prepared using local condiments like locust beans(ogili), any thickner of your choice(ede, achi wee diri gaba)you can as well use ground oats say one or two tablespoons for a medium sized pot depending on how thick you want it, you can use Pam nut, boil and squeeze out the oil, Palm oil can also be used in place of this but moderately, stock fish, crayfish, meat, fish etc are protein buffers you can choose from to make your oha soup. It is better to add it when the soup sauce is ready and tasty so as not to overcook your oha leave. other ingredients include pepper, black pepper, uziza leaf and seed and any other condiments that you love to add to your soup.