Ugu or Ugwu, it is a common vegetable which is popularly eaten and grown among the Igbos in Nigeria.

This vegetable is used a lot by different tribe in Nigeria; however it can be to cook as a soups, or sauce, boiled or to blend into a shake.

The scientific name is Telfairia occidentalis leaf.

Telfairia occidentalis is a tropical vine grown in West Africa as a leaf vegetable and for its edible seeds. The most Common names for the plant include Fluted gourd, Fluted pumpkin, and Ugu.

Telfairia occidentalis is an important staple vegetable grown in Nigeria. The plant produces flourishing edible green leaves, which are rich in iron and vitamins. The Stems of the plants have branching, long twisting tendrils and the leaves are divided into three to five twigs with the terminal twigs which can be up to 15 cm long, while the male plant is grown mostly for leaves and seeds, which are important soup condition.

Fluted pumpkin can be harvested between 120-150 days after sowing

  • There are lots of health benefit to Nursing mothers who  can use it to  lactate properly
  • Prevents convulsion, The   young leaves sliced and mixed with coconut water and salt can be  store  in a bottle and can be  use  as a  treatment  for  convulsion in ethno medicine.
  • Lower cholesterol,a Telfairia occidentalis leaf has hypolipdemic effect and may be a useful therapy in hypercholestolemia.
  • Boost fertility, Research have showed that Telfairia occidentalis has the potential to regenerate testicular damage and also increase spermatogenesis.
  •  It has a liver protecting effect  which can  prevents liver damage
  • It has antibacterial effects
  • Blood forming effect : The leaves are rich in iron and play a key role in the cure of anemia,
  • Good for diabetics because of its hypoglycemia effect which helps to (lower the blood sugar level).
  • Increases blood volume and boost immune system
  • The high protein content in leaves of plants such as Telfairia occidentalis could have supplementary effect for the daily protein requirement of the body.
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  •     Telfairia occidentalis leaf is rich in minerals (such as iron, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium),
  •     Antioxidants, 
  • vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinamide and ascorbic acid
  •      Phyto-chemicals such as phenols.
  •     The leaves contain essential oils.
  •     The amino acid profile of T. occidentalis had also been shown to be very rich and includes alanine, aspartate, glycine, glutamine, histidine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, cystine, leucine, arginine, serine, threonine, phenylalanine, valine, tyrosine and isoleucine

By Jumoke Amao