Ewedu (Jute leaves), despite being one of the cheapest soups popular among Nigerians, especially in the South-Western states, is a highly nutritious common staple, with many benefits for women. Once dismissed as the “broom soup,” which some people considered unhygienic because of the way it is prepared, the humble jute leaves, locally known as Ewedu, have emerged not only as a culinary delight, but also as a historical remedy for skincare and hair health.
According to Ahmed and Sarkar (2022), in a study “Review on jute leaf: A powerful biological tool”, as Ewedu has more than 80 compounds. Nestled predominantly in Nigerian cuisine, Ewedu, scientifically labeled as Corchorus olitorius, has woven itself into the fabric of traditional practices with its multifaceted benefits. Corchorus olitoriuis is a potential medicinal product for treating many diseases (Nasreen & Ahmed, 2022) on the potential healing powers with jute-plant). According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup (87 grammes) of cooked ewedu leaf provides nutrition facts such as: Calories: 32, Protein: 3 grammes, Fat:0.2 grammes, Carbohydrates: 6 grammes, Fiber: 2 grammes, and Sugar: 0.4 grammes.
In Hausa, Ewedu is known as Rama; malukhiyah in Egypt, molohiya in Isreal, krain krain in Sierra Loene and mrenda in Kenya. Ewedu is used to produce soup (taushe) or mixed with kuli kuli (groundnut cake) to form a dish known as kwado in Hausa. Research has shown that the Ewedu leaf has different varieties that possess vitamins and antioxidants that are of immeasurable nutritional and therapeutic value to our body system. These vitamins are crucial in protecting the body from degenerative diseases such as cancer. Ewedu’s journey which often begins with getting the leaves off the stem, blending a bit or cutting into smaller bits with a knife, then cooking in boiling water with few ingredients; often gets served hot and freshly-green on dishes.
Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, Ewedu has long been celebrated for its nutritional prowess through:
1. Nutrient-rich anti-acne powerhouse
Ewedu transcends its humble origins to combat skincare woes, according to Nigerianfoodiehub. Bursting with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, it is a warrior against acne outbreaks. According to the National Institute of Health, ewedu can be used as face masks and in beauty products, as its extracts work magic on irritated skin, reducing redness and combating oxidative stress for a radiant complexion. The extracts of the leaves are also known to be added to beauty products such as creams and serums.
2. Nourishing hair and locks with Ewedu
According to a study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine, Ewedu’s benefits transcend skincare and extend to hair health. Enriched with vitamins A and C, essential for hair growth and maintenance, Ewedu is hailed as an elixir for lustrous locks. Traditional wisdom suggests that incorporating Ewedu into one’s diet can fortify hair strands, promoting strength and preventing common issues like breakage and split ends.
3. Hormone harmony for women
Pharmanews, Nigeria’s leading health journal report that Ewedu extends its benefits to hormone stabilisation, particularly during premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as it contains Vitamin E which is beneficial for reducing pains. Say goodbye to emotional roller coasters as this green superhero tackles the challenges of premenstrual syndrome, ensuring a smoother menstrual cycle (Fabwoman). Researchers even recommend its inclusion for women navigating the phases of menopause. Similarly, this vegetable is powerful in overcoming the problems of PMS disorders and keeping the menstrual cycle regular.
4. Ewedu for blood pressure
Ewedu goes beyond the kitchen to stabilise blood pressure, according to HealthlineNg. According to a study, the Omega 3 content in ewedu can help lower cholesterol levels in the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease, thus preventing hypertension.
5. Ewedu for total wellness
As the world embraces holistic approaches to health and wellness, Ewedu is gaining recognition beyond its cultural roots. According to research, the green slimy soup beyond good looking, also helps to improve eye health, strengthen bones and teeth, promote weight loss, and even prevent cancer.