What Are The Health benefits Of Alligator Pepper (Aframomum melegueta)?

JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO Friday, September 17, 2021 Science and Nature

This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of alligator pepper (Aframomum melegueta)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: What is the side effect of alligator pepper? What is the side effect of alligator pepper? Is alligator pepper good for high blood pressure? Is alligator pepper good for fertility? How do you take alligator peppers? Is Alligator pepper good for the heart? Is Alligator pepper good for diabetics? What is the importance of alligator pepper? Is alligator pepper same as grains of paradise? Is alligator pepper spicy? Is black pepper also alligator pepper? What is the history of alligator pepper (Aframomum melegueta)?

History of Alligator Pepper (Aframomum melegueta)

Alligator pepper (also known as mbongo spice or hepper pepper) is a West African spice made from the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, A. citratum or A. exscapum. It is a close relative of grains of paradise, obtained from the closely related species, Aframomum melegueta or "grains of paradise". Unlike grains of paradise, which are generally sold as only the seeds of the plant, alligator pepper is sold as the entire pod containing the seeds (in the same manner to another close relative, black cardamom). The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennial flowering plants of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed, the reason for this spice's common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator's back. As mbongo spice, the seeds of alligator pepper are often sold as the grains isolated from the pod and with the outer skin removed. Mbongo spice is most commonly either A. danielli or A. citratum, and has a more floral aroma than A. exscapum (which is the commonest source of the entire pod). It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine, where it imparts both pungency and a spicy aroma to soups and stews. Alligator pepper is widely used by many cultures in Nigeria for various purposes. It is served along with Kola nuts to guests for entertainment, members of the Iyayi (Faith) Society of Nigeria as communion and used for religious rites by diviners for invoking spirits. It is a common ingredient in pepper soup, a spicy delight in most parts of West Africa. Concoctions made of Alligator pepper are often used by traditional doctors as medications for various ailments. (Personal observation) Pregnant women are not excluded from eating this widely used substance. The constituents of an essential oil, extractable by hydro-distillation from the seeds of Aframomum melegueta include two sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, humelene and caryophyllene, their oxides and a few non-terpenoids

Health Benefits of Alligator Pepper

  • Alligator pepper seeds are an excellent source of phytonutrients such as terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, saponin and phenolic compound which protect against viruses, allergens, microbes, platelet aggregation, tumors, ulcers and hepatotoxins (chemical liver damage) in the body
  • The seeds extracts of the alligator pepper can be used for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach pain, diarrhea, ulcer and intestinal worms
  • The seeds can be crushed and used for preparing concoctions for treating and healing wounds due to the presence of high amount of tannins
  • The seed extract has antimicrobial properties due to its constituents of phenolic compounds that are normally used as disinfectants
  • Studies reveal that the alligator pepper is aphrodisiac in nature thus can be used for stimulating sexual desires
  • It offers protection against inflammation of the body
  • The aqueous extract of the plant is analgesic in nature and as such can be used for relieving and alleviating pains such as joint pain, toothache, stomach pain, arthritic pain and rheumatoid pain
  • Alligator pepper can be used for preparing herbal remedy for treating infectious skin diseases such as measles, chickenpox and smallpox
  • Due to its stimulating properties and peppery pungent taste, the alligator pepper is normally chewed as a stimulant to keep the body alert
  • The seeds aid easy digestion of food thereby preventing constipation and bloating

Side Effects of Alligator Pepper

An experimental analysis on pregnant rat using alligator pepper revealed discontinuation of first trimester pregnancies in rats. Women in the reproductive age group might need to avoid eating Alligator pepper if they are desirous of childbirth or are in their first trimester of pregnancy.

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