Health Benefits of Locust Beans (Iru), Nutritional Value and Uses

Locust Beans

Health benefits of locust beans, (Iru, Dawadawa, Ogiri Okpei) Nutritional Value and Uses

The locust bean, also known as iru in Yoruba, in Hausa Dawadawa, and ogiri okpei in Igbo, is a local seasoning or condiment used in soups and stews. African locust bean, with the botanical name Parkia biglobosa, is indeed a very popular soup condiment around the world.

African locust beans are valued for their fruits, seeds, pods, nuts, leaves, and essential oils.

Dawadawa Bean seeds are nutrient-dense condiments that can help with malnutrition, anemia, diabetes, and hypertension.

However, Parkia biglobosa tree is an African leguminous plant. It is a member of the Parkia species and belongs to the Fabaceae family.

Similarly, the leaves, fruits, and pods grow on the tree. When immature, each pod contains roughly 25–35 seeds, which are usually green.

Even though the fruit pulp and seeds are popular for culinary purposes, the tree’s other parts, such as the stems, bark, and roots all have important roles in African traditional medicine. Since they are all commonly use for the treatment of malaria, diarrhea, Diabetes, and wounds.


The nutritional contents of locust beans (Iru, Dawadawa, Ogiri Okpei)

It also revealed that locust beans were high in ascorbic acid, saponins, and phenols. Locust beans have a high nutritional value, indicating that they are a good source of macro and micronutrients.

The locust bean seeds are also used as cattle and poultry feed.

Lipids, proteins, carbs, fats, and calcium are all abundant in locust beans.

It also has a high concentration of vital elements like ascorbic acid, potassium, tannin, phytate, and phosphorus. Tannins can also hinder iron absorption in the blood, which can lead to a variety of health issues.


Health benefits of locust beans, (Iru, Dawadawa, Ogiri Okpei)

The African locust bean tree is a miracle tree. The following are some of the potential health benefits:


Helps Controls cholesterol levels

Consumption of locust beans on a regular basis is said to be one of the most natural ways to lower cholesterol levels. This is due to the natural condiment’s antioxidant and hypolipidaemic qualities, which interfere with the body’s cholesterol’s ability to maintain a healthy balance. The gum from locust beans helps decrease cholesterol levels.


Treats hypertension

Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the pressure of blood pushed through the arteries is higher than normal. One feature of this illness is that it is a silent killer, which means you may not be aware of your condition for years unless you have regular checkups.

The effects of fermented locust beans on blood pressure are due to their high antioxidant content.

Locust bean consumption has been linked to the prevention and treatment of hypertension. This is because the condiment’s seeds have been discovered to have antihypertensive characteristics. Locust bean leaves also contain procyanidin, a component that has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people.


Gum health is enhanced.

Bacteria abound in the mouth. While some are safe, others might cause infections in the teeth and gums.

Consuming locust beans, on the other hand, is one of the best strategies to prevent/treat gum infections.

These natural condiments 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.

Locust bean bark is steeped, soaked, and likewise boiled to make a local mouth wash for soothing and relieving toothache.


Promotes healthy vision

Locust bean is high in Vitamin A, which helps with eye health, bone growth, and immune system function.

One of the vital elements your eyes require is vitamin A, which is found in locust beans.

Simply increasing your intake of locust beans can lower your risk of developing eye problems such as night vision, cataracts, and xerophthalmia.

Locust beans contain vitamin A, which also helps to lower the risk/effects of eye infections, myopia, minus eyes, glaucoma, and other eye conditions.


Remedy for diarrhea or Diarrhea treatment

Diarrhea happens when the frequency, looseness, and volume of your feces all rises suddenly.

Locust bean contains tannins and pectin, both of which are frequently advised for diarrhoea sufferers.

Recent research found that the leaves, roots, bark, and fruit of the African locust bean may be made as a local medicine for a variety of health ailments, including fever, diarrhoea, stomach disorders, boils, and burns.

Diarrhoea, skin irritations, pneumonia, leprosy, inflammation, bronchitis, parasitic worms, and a variety of other ailments can all be treated locally using locust bean bark.


Diabetes Prevention/Treatment

Locust beans can help you from developing diabetes. The aqueous and methanolic extracts of locust beans have been found to have a significant link with cholesterol levels in recent research. That is, the natural condiment helps to raise ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels while lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels.

Not only are locust beans beneficial for preventing diabetes problems, but they also aid in weight loss and reduce the incidence of ischaemic heart disease.


Excellent during pregnancy

African locust bean is high in protein, calcium, iron, and other nutrients that are necessary for a baby’s normal growth and development.

Consumption of dawadawa (iru) during pregnancy may aid in the prevention of gestational diabetes and anemia.

It is highly suggested for vegans and vegetarians as a rich source of protein and calcium.


Aids in the prevention of anemia

Anemia is a blood disorder characterized by a lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin, which causes fatigue and pallor.

Because fermented locust beans are high in iron and other important nutrients, including them in your diet can help you avoid becoming anemic.

Furthermore, one study found that combining African locust beans with other indigenous foods can help youngsters avoid anemia and malnutrition.


Has a high level of antioxidant

Antioxidants are substances that protect your body from free radicals, which can cause diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses.

Antioxidants such phenols (catechins) and flavonoids are abundant in Dawadawa (Iru).

These chemicals are responsible for their anti-oxidant properties, which aid in the prevention of metabolic disorders.


Fertility and locust beans

Many individuals have wondered if there is a link between locust beans and fertility on the internet. There isn’t much scientific evidence that locust beans can help with fertility. Foods with a high protein content (especially plant-based protein), such as locust beans, can boost fertility.


How To Make Locust Beans – How to Prepare Iru

The Yoruba people of Nigeria use a wet variety of fermented locust bean called Iru, which is processed similarly to the other types of ogiri. There is, however, a slight difference in the stages involved in making iru.

  • Wash and boil the locus bean seed until it is soft.
  • Drain the water from the locus bean after it has been cooked.
  • Then wrap the already cooked locus bean (Iru) in a green leaf such as plantain leaf or banana leaf.
  • Allow to ferment it for like 4-5 days.
  • The ogiri is complete and ready to use, sprinkle some salt over it and cover.

Simply used loosely in that it does not have to be dried, smoked, or moulded.

How to Preserve Locust Beans

It can be sundry or stored in a tight container and store in your fridge for about 3 -6 months. Locally, they use banana or plantain leaves to wrap and keep close to the fire.


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