When we are talking about African ‘superfoods’, what we are really talking about is indigenous, traditional medicine. Yes, that’s right.
At EarthTribe, all we are doing – and, in fact, the vision behind bringing these incredible foods to the western public – is taking African medicinal plants, drawing from traditional medicine and Africa’s ancient wisdom and knowledge, and bringing them to you under the appealing umbrella word, ‘superfood’. The term ‘superfood’ simply refers to any nutrient rich food considered to be especially beneficial to health and well-being. The way it has been marketed suggests that it is a food that cannot be easily obtained and must be consumed in small quantities. Often, we are supporting brands that bring exotic superfoods to us from faraway lands, without understanding that we have an absolute wealth of nutrient rich foods under our noses on our own continent. Experts are now affirming what we have been suspecting for some time – that eating LOCALLY is better for our wellbeing as individuals, as well as the communities we are a part of, which we are helping bolster and sustain. It’s a win-win for everyone.
‘Superfood’ is a marketable and appealing concept, yes, but eating African superfoods not only provides the nutrition best suited to us – procured in a sustainable and ethical manner that empowers African communities – it is also MEDICINAL. It goes far beyond the fad. It is about us going back to our deep, deep roots and tuning into the wisdom of our ancestors from the cradle of humankind…
Here are a few examples of the traditional uses of some of the medicinal and incredibly empowering edible ‘superfoods’ we supply… (stay tuned for another article on African Super-Skinfoods and Oils!)
Besides the nutritional properties of moringa, there are traditional uses:
Moringa is used in the traditional medicine for various health conditions, such as skin infections, anaemia, anxiety, asthma, blackheads, blood impurities, bronchitis, catarrh, chest congestion, cholera, infections, fever, glandular, swelling, headaches, abnormal blood pressure, hysteria, pain in joints, pimples, psoriasis, respiratory disorders, scurvy, semen deficiency, sore throat, sprains, tuberculosis, for intestinal worms, lactation, diabetes, and pregnancy (Fuglie, 2001; Mahmood et al., 2010; Sairam, 1999). In fact, moringa is associated with the cure or prevention of about 300 diseases!
The seeds were also found to be used to carry out rites for blessings and attracting customers and a sexual partner. Buy Moringa seeds here. J
In African traditional medicine, baobab fruit pulp is used to treat fever, diarrhoea, dysentery, smallpox, measles, haemoptysis (the coughing up of blood), and as a painkiller. For the treatment of infant diarrhoea, a mixture made from the floury pulp mixed with millet flour and water is given to the child until cured. The bark of the iconic baobab has astringent properties and has been used traditionally to alleviate colds, fevers, and even influenza (the fresh bark is taken as a beverage for one week to treat the flu). Furthermore, the wood, bark and seeds are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The list goes on.
The resurrection plant’s name is apt, drawing from that fact that this amazing plant is a wake up medicine in all respects, and makes alive what’s dead. The leaves are mostly used as a traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Inhalation of smoke from the burning leaves treats chest complaints and asthma. Decoctions (herbal or iced tea) treat coughs, influenza, mastitis, backache, kidney disorders, haemorrhoids and abdominal pains, scurvy, menstrual pain, hypertension, halitosis and gingivitis.
Traditional medicine teaches that hibiscus tea, especially when drunk hot, holds healing properties for the blood and the liver. It is also used in treating diabetes, balancing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, relieving menstrual pains and boosting the immune system. Hibiscus is also a diuretic, so if you think cranberry juice or watermelon juice is good for curing cystitis and urinary tract infections (UTIs), try hibiscus tea, it’s better! Furthermore, it contains numerous nutrients including vitamin C, antioxidants and minerals. And aids in digestion, thus can be used in the treatment of constipation.
Mojo (mondia whitei)
Mondia Whitei is used in many parts of Africa as a traditional remedy to improve appetite and libido, as a galactagogue (inducing lactation), as a fertility medication, and as an antidepressant. In African countries, where it is used medicinally, the most commonly cited use is as an aphrodisiac.
Velvet Magic Beans (mucuna pruriens)
Mucuna pruriens are tropical legumes native to Africa. These beans grow from trees that are itchy to the touch because of the serotonin on their surface. African cultures have used mucuna pruriens for hundreds of years to promote feelings of happiness and well-being because of a chemical present in the beans called L-DOPA, a precursor to dopamine. It also has a profoundly balancing and restorative effect on the entire nervous system, and supports the body’s ability to handle stress. It bolsters energy and stamina, as well as supporting the intellect and motor skills. In addition, can be used as an aphrodisiac for its libido and sexual energy boosting effects as well as reinvigorating both male and female reproductive systems. Furthermore, can aid in healthy digestive function and elimination.
EarthTribe will be launching in powder form on our site in April… Watch this space!
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