Locust Beans, Health Benefits and Side Effects

Locust beans widely used as seasoning or condiment in soups and stews in Nigeria is blessed with so much health benefits. It is called Iru by the Yorubas, Dawadawa by the Hausa and ogiri okpei by the Igbos. Locust beans, one can say has been the choice of seasoning for mothers which has stood the taste of time. 

It's botanical name is Parkia biglobosa, from the family of Mimosaceae, of the order Leguminisae. It is grown primarily for its pods that contain both a sweet pulp and valuable seeds, but research shows almost every part to be beneficial.

Uses of Locust Beans

In Nigeria, people rely on locust beans as a source of food, traditional medicine and remedy for several ailments.

Benefits of Locust Beans

Source of Antioxidants: Locust beans is packed with polyphenols, which has a free radical reducing ability and is an antioxidant for detoxifying the body.

The anti-oxidizing properties of the fruit extracts of locust beans are very similar to that of ascorbic acid.

Highly Nutritious: The fermented form of locust beans is rich in protein, the seeds contain about 39% protein, 27% fats, and 16% carbohydrates. The beans seed is also rich in calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and B-vitamins like thiamine making it a wonderful alternative to animal protein. 

Improves Good Eyesight: Locust beans is a good source of vitamin A, prevents blindness. It does this by providing the cornea with antioxidants that help reduce the risks of eye infections. Eating a lot of locust beans helps you maintain a clear vision. 

Treats Hypertension: The seeds of locust beans contains antihypertensive properties. Studies have shown that locust beans consumption, have both preventive and corrective effects on hypertension. The leaves of locust beans also contain procyanidin, another component proven to be effective in lowering blood pressure in humans.

Improves Diabetes: Locust beans are capable of reducing the risk of diabetes, as such health professionals always advice diabetic patients to consume more of African locust bean to reduce their blood sugar level as well as even non-diabetic individuals for the prevention of diabetes and other coronary heart diseases. 

Treatment for Diarrhea: Foods rich in tannin are frequently proposed for the treatment of diarrhoea. Locust beans is a great source of tannin, such that the seeds, roots, stems, barks, fruits, flowers and leaves can be used for treating gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhoea and ulcer.

Treatment of Skin Infections: The root, bark and leaves of the African locust beans can be infused, soaked and used for bathing by individuals suffering from skin infections. The dermatological benefit of this plant, has be noticed some the time of old.

The pulverised bark of the tree is also used in wound healing.

Cholesterol Control: consuming a good amount of African locust bean will definitely help you against heart sicknesses like stroke. Cholesterol which can cause some blockage within the blood vessels can lead to heart issues. Eating locust beans can help your body control the amount of cholesterol found in our bodies.

Improves Gum Health: So many bacteria live in the mouth, both the harmful and beneficial ones. Consuming locust beans is one of the best way to keep the gums healthy. Locust beans have qualities that aid in the healing of oral ulcers and the relief of receding gums, as well as limiting the growth of germs that cause tooth decay.

Side Effects of Locust Beans

Not much side effects have been known, but one huge side effects of locust beans is that they can cause purging. Consuming much quantities of locust beans may be dangerous to your health, it is advisable you eat it in moderation. 

Locust beans is preserved locally with salt, so monitor the quantity of table salt you will add to the meals when using it.

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