Alligator Pepper: Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects
Alligator pepper, also known as Grains of Paradise, is a ginger species whose seeds and leaves are utilized for medicinal, culinary, and traditional reasons. Its scientific name is Aframomum melegueta. This amazing plant’s therapeutic benefits include boosting the immune system and lowering the risk of certain health disorders, as well as being used as a spice to season a range of cuisines. Alligator pepper is a costly spice in Nigeria. In Igbo, alligator pepper is known as ósè j. In Yoruba, it’s known as stare, and in Hausa, it’s known as Chitta.
The uses of alligator pepper, as well as its health benefits and side effects, will be discussed in this article.
Because of the pungency and spicy scent, it contributes to soups and stews, alligator pepper is mostly utilized as a popular ingredient in West African cuisines.
Traditional uses for alligator pepper include entertaining guests, making local herbs, preparing special prayers, and more.
Alligator pepper is thought to have spiritual properties. In Yoruba culture, for example, as part of the usual baby-welcoming procedure, babies are given a small quantity of alligator pepper to taste. In Nigeria, the local spice is also used at traditional meet-and-greets.
Alligator pepper and kola nuts are used in naming ceremonies and presented to visiting guests in Igboland.
Alligator pepper is used in religious rituals in many other West African cultures. It’s also used in some West African tribes’ cultural ceremonies. However, we’ve come to discuss the health benefits of alligator pepper. But first, let’s take a look at the nutritional value of alligator pepper.
Alligator Pepper Nutritional Values
Gingerols, a chemical compound found in both alligator pepper and ginger, are present in alligator pepper. Saponin, tannins, flavonoids, alkaloids, oleanolic acid, terpenoids, and phenolic compounds are among the phytonutrients found in it.
Alligator Pepper’s Health Benefits: 1. It’s High in Antioxidants
Phytonutrients such as terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, saponin, and phenolic compounds are abundant in alligator pepper seeds, all of which are helpful to human health.
To be more specific, phytonutrients are plant-derived chemicals with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the fight against harmful free radicals that damage tissues throughout the body, lowering the risk of diseases such as asthma, coronary heart disease, cancer, and heart attacks, to name a few.
Additionally, the phytonutrients in Alligator pepper aid in the prevention of eye diseases including as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, as well as enhancing your immune system and overall health.
Aside from the aforementioned uses, alligator pepper seeds extracts are also used in some regions of the world to treat gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain, diarrhea, ulcers, and intestinal worms.
2. Enhances sexual prowess
Multiple studies have found that alligator pepper has aphrodisiac properties, which aid in the stimulation of sexual desires and the treatment of a variety of sex-related issues. Alligator pepper can treat erectile dysfunction [inability to get and keep a firm enough erection for sex as a result of decreased blood flow to the sexual organ, surgical complications, hypertension, injuries in the pelvic area or spinal cord, hormonal disorders, diabetes, and other factors], premature ejaculation, erectile impotence, and other conditions with these properties.
Furthermore, alligator pepper aids in the enhancement of sexual life by increasing blood flow to the penile area and numbing the genital area in the central nervous system, making sex more delightful and long-lasting.
In a scientific investigation conducted in Cameroon, alligator pepper was found to increase libido in rats. It demonstrates that the spice improves male fertility.
3. Aids in the treatment of fibroids
According to studies, about 40% of women have fibroid before menopause, which can be caused by a variety of factors such as excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, being overweight, genetics, and hormonal changes, to name a few.
Lower back pain, increased urination, prolonged menstruation, enlarged abdomen or uterus, constipation, pain during sex, miscarriages or infertility are all frequent fibroid symptoms.
However, one of the advantages of alligator pepper is that it includes components that are very efficient in treating this muscular tumor, and as a result, alligator pepper is used as a natural therapy for fibroid, particularly in Nigeria and other African countries.
Aside from regular use of alligator pepper, you can also combine eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, eating low-sugar meals, eating fresh fruits, and consuming foods high in beta-caterone, folate, Vitamins C, E, and K to reduce the appearance of fibroid.
In addition, studies show that combining alligator pepper with coconut, ginger, and West African black pepper can help women reduce and eliminate fibroids.
4. Helps to alleviate hypertension
Heart attacks, kidney failure, heart failure, and stroke – all of which are caused by hypertension and high cholesterol levels – have claimed more lives in Nigeria and other nations across the world than any other disease.
On the plus side, alligator pepper is high in amino acids and has antihypertensive properties, which can help lower blood pressure and regulate cholesterol levels, lessening the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another reason why alligator pepper is an excellent hypertension treatment is that it is natural and has little to no side effects, unlike many other pharmaceuticals that can be harmful to your health.
5. Helps to Heal Wounds
Another important feature of Alligator pepper is its capacity to heal wounds.
Because of their antioxidant and antibacterial properties, alligator pepper seeds extracts are high in alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannin, which have been shown to be useful in promoting and enhancing wound healing.
As a result, alligator pepper is utilized in various nations [including Nigeria] for wound healing, burn treatment, infection prevention, and soothing inflamed mucous membranes. Simply smash the seeds and apply them to the affected region.
Similarly, Doherty, V. Funmilayo et al. at the Biology Department, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos state hypothesized that the seed extract of alligator pepper inhibits the growth of common disease-causing germs such as Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and even Klebsiella pneumonia in a study [“Antimicrobial Activities of Afram
6. Treats Malaria
Alligator pepper’s health advantages are not restricted to the above; it can also be used to treat or prevent malaria, one of Nigeria’s most common ailments. As a result, the leaves of alligator pepper are employed in the preparation of natural therapies for malaria in some nations and states, and they are quite effective.
7. Digestive Disorders Treatment
Alligator pepper seed extracts can be used to treat a variety of stomach issues. Ulcers, diarrhea, and stomach pain can all be treated using the nutritional value found in alligator pepper seeds.
Health Benefits of Alligator Pepper
Alligator Pepper’s Negative Effects
There are a few drawbacks to eating alligator pepper. The effect of alligator pepper on pregnancy is one of them. In 2009, researchers investigated the effects of alligator pepper on first-trimester pregnancy in Sprague Dawley rats. Alligator pepper had a negative influence on the rats’ first-trimester pregnancy, according to the study. According to the research, pregnant women should avoid eating alligator pepper, especially during the first trimester.