English Name: Bush buck; Local Name: Utazi (Igbo), ‘arokeke’(Yoruba); Botanical Name: Gongronema latifolium
Utazi leave is a very sharp-bitter-sweet and is used in small quantity in preparing soups like nsala, ugba sauce, Yam and also in garnishing dishes like abacha ncha, isi ewu, nkwobi e.t.c. It is also used locally in the treatment of cough, intestinal worms, dysentery, dyspepsia and malaria. It is also taken as a tonic to treat loss of appetite and also In the treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure.
RECIPE FOR UTAZI SOUP
- 1½kg Beef
- 1 small size Smoked fish
- 1 medium size Stockfish head (cooked)
- 1 small bunch Utazi leaves
- 1 small bunch Uziza leaves
- 4 medium size Fresh pepper
- 1 small Onion
- 3 medium size Cocoyam(Ede ofe)
- 2 tablespoons Crayfish (ground)
- ½ cake Okpaye (locust beans paste)
- 2 cooking-spoon Palm oil
- 2 maggi cube
- 1½ litres Water
- Salt to taste
Gongronema Latifolium is widely used in West Africa for medicinal and nutritional purposes. In Southern part of Nigeria, where it is commonly grown, the Igbos call the plant Utazi, the Yoruba known it as Arokeke, Efik and Ibibio call it Urasi. Parts used fruits, seeds, leaves root and bark.
The miracle plants are sharp-bitter, sweet and widely used as a leafy vegetable and as a spice for sauces, soap and salads. The leaves are used to spice locally brewed beer.
Medicinal uses of the whole plant (the leaves and sterms) is used in the home treatment of digestive problems, such as loss of appetite, dyspepsia, colic, stomach ache, constipation, dysentery and intestinal worms and also for the treatment of cough and malaria.
Utazi leaves are also used to rub on the joints of small children to help them walk. The boiled fruits in soap are eaten as a laxative. In Nigeria, a leafy sterm infuson is taken as a remedy for asthma. A decoction of the roots, combined with other plant species is taken to treat sickle cell anaemia.
A moceration of the leaves in alcohol is taken to treat bilharzia, viral hepatitis and as a general atimicrobial agent. Properties experience has shown that the whole plant exhibits the following herbal actions – analgesic, antitimor, broad spectrum, anti-microbial (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parastitic and anti-viral) anti-pretic, antioxidant, anti-inflmmatory, anti-ulcer, anti-sickling, anti-asthmatic, mild expectorant, hypoglycami, hypolipidemic hepatoprotective, digestive tonic and laxative properties.
In Southern part of Nigeria, especially among the people of South East and South South, the leaves of this herb are used commonly for nutritional purposes, including as a spice and vegetable to garnish some special local delicacies such as Isiewu (goat head) Nkwobi, Abacha/Ugba (African Salad), Ofe Nsala (white soap), unripe plantain porridge etc, because of its sharp-bitter and sweet taste.
In many restaurants where people enjoy Isiewu, Nkwobi and Abacha/Ugba (African Salad) with palm wine or beer, the leaves are usually added to these delicacies to help prevent drunkenness or hangover.