Pepper fruit is an essential plant in West Africa. It’s Botanical name is Dennettia tripetala. It is very common in Nigeria. However, in Nigeria the Igbo people refers to this pepper fruit as mmimmi. The Yoruba know it as Ata Igebere or igberi. In the Niger delta, it is called Imako. The Bini people call it Ako, and so on. This goes to show how popular it is among the Nigerian populace.
The pepper fruit usually comes to play during festive and traditional occasions in Igbo land, where it is served alongside kolanut, alligator pepper, garden egg and other details.
How the pepper fruit looks
- It has a greenish appearance when still unripe, however as it ripens, it tends to go from bright pink to red.
- The pepper fruit got its name from its peppery taste. It has a pungent smell, and is very spicy.
- Pepper fruit usually ripens around April or May.
- Although the pepper fruit is very hot and peppery, it is usually chewed raw. But this does not mean it cannot be used as spice during food preparations.
The leaves of the pepper fruit are identified by the pungent and spicy scent. Even the leaves of the Dennettia tripetala plant are not left out as they are used in making different herbal medicines.
Health Benefits of the pepper fruit – Dennettia tripetala
Pepper fruit contains ethanol. This element makes it ideal for the prevention of ulcer.
Reduces Glaucoma Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
According to a study, pepper fruit can substantially lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with glaucoma by up to 25%.
Pepper fruit is rich in vitamins c, especially the unripe one. Ascorbic acid is known for its immune-boosting quality. Therefore, consuming pepper fruit is beneficial to the body system.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants such as ascorbic acid and flavonoids are abundant in these medicinal fruits. These antioxidants combat free radicals, which have the potential to induce illness in the body.
Because of its strong aroma and peppery smell, grounded seeds of the pepper fruit can be used as flavoring for pepper soup, white soup, oha soup, yam pottage and the likes. It is also added to zobo drink to make it spicy.
However, their is also the bell pepper fruit or vegetable and black pepper fruits extract.
The pepper fruit helps to contract the uterus. New and nursing mothers include pepper fruit in their meals because of this reason. It is a major ingredient in making pepper soups and other hot, spicy food prepared for new mothers.
Pepper fruit induces uterine contractions, which is beneficial to nursing mothers.
Treats infant convulsions
The pepper fruit contains a certain element that cures convulsions in infants, especially when the oil is extracted from the seed. The pepper fruit leaves are even more beneficial in this case. Traditionalists have been using this plant for this purpose since centuries back.
Medicinal Benefits of Pepper Fruit
Pepper fruits and leaves may be combined to make traditional medications for cases like
They are also useful in the prevention and treatment of a variety of illnesses.
Dennettia tripetala are often used to:
- Get rid of mosquitoes and rodents.
- Reduce motion sickness and fatigue
- Assisting uterine contraction during childbirth
- Treats malaria fevers and Typhoid
- Helps relieves cough and other breathing problems
- It may be used to treat toothaches and as a perfect mouthwash.
- Relieve digestive problems such as ulcers
- Helps cure convulsions
- Eliminate worms and Intestinal parasites
Pepper Fruit Side Effect
When eating pepper fruit, people who are allergic to it can feel irritation. Excessive consumption of pepper fruit can cause digestive issues.
It may also cause complications for pregnant women, including induced or premature labor, especially during their 1st trimester.