Nutrition and health benefits of Bitter leaf

Secret Revealed! Bitter leaf : 10 Mind Blowing Benefits

Bitter leaf is an indigenous African plant; which grows in most parts of African tropics and other parts of Africa particularly, sub-Saharan africa (Nigeria, Cameroon and Zimbabawe etc). It has so many medicinal values and benefits to human health and lifestyle. This vegetable is known as onugbu in Igbo language, ewuro in Yoruba language, chusar-doki or shuwaka in Hausa language and etidot in cross river and akwaibom state, ndoleh (Cameroon) and olubirizi (Lusoga), mululuza (Luganda), labwori (Acholi), olusia (Luo) respectively.

Some people may not find bitter leave so fantastic due to its bitter taste. But the health benefits will go a long way to changing your perspective about bitter leave.

Let us take a look at the rich nutritional profile, benefits, and side effects of bitter leaf. Scroll down.

What Is the Nutritional Profile of Bitter leaf

Bitterleaf has high protein (33.3%), crude fibre (29.2%), ash (11.7%), fat (10.1%), mineral (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Zn & Fe), phytate (1015.4mg/100g) and tannin (0.6%) content, while it contain low cyanide (1.1mg/kg).

  • It is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C (42.40 mg/100g), Vitamin E, Vit. B1 and Vit.B2
  • Bitter leaf also contains flavonoids, carotenoid, and vitamin C that have antioxidant properties.

In the next section, we will look at the health benefits of bitter leaf.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Bitter leaf?

Bitter leaf plant

Bitter leaf health benefits includes:

1. Bitter leaf helps to clear fever

Bitter leave contains flavonoids which has powerful antioxidant effect in treating fever. A glass of bitter leave juice is a strong herbal medicine that helps to combat malaria symptoms and reduce fever effect.

2. It lowers high blood pressure

Bitter leave lowers high blood pressure. Chewing fresh bitter leaf or drinking the juice extracted from the leaves are commonly known to control blood pressure due to its bitterness.

3. Bitter leaf treats stomach upset

Bitter leaves are the major agents that are recommended as a natural remedy for intestinal problems, stomach upset, Diarrhoea, dysentery and stomach cramps.

Get a handful of fresh bitter leaves, wash very well with a little quantity of salt and water, squeeze very well to extract the juice, then take a glass of this juice twice a day, to treat stomach upset.

4. It is good for bones and teeth

It contains Vitamin c and k, which is a strong antioxidant minerals that helps in the maintenance of the bones and teeth, as well as prevention of deficiency and bone tissues weaknesses.

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5. It prevents cancer risk

Presence of anti-cancer properties in bitter leaf makes it effective in preventing and managing cancers.

6. Bitter leaf treats diabetes

It contains plant compounds which contribute to the bitter taste. These compounds hinders the rising of the glucose in the blood, which leads to the risk of diabetes.

7. Bitter leaf improves fertility in women

It is very effective in women’s reproductive life. For its capability of providing balance, in the genital hormones.

8. It detoxifies the body

The juice extracted from bitter leaf has detoxifying properties that helps in pumping out impurities from the body.

9. It helps in weight loss

Most of the properties of bitter leaf has a direct association with weight loss. incorporating bitter leaves as vegetable in daily meals or eating a few fresh leaves a day or drinking the juice helps to reduce excess calories which can cause weight gain.

10. Bitter leaf helps in treating several infections

Aside from all the health benefits I mentioned earlier, bitter leave have the properties to treat skin holes.

It can also help in treating mouth inflammation, tooth ache, typhoid, ear inflammation, tuberculosis, and respiratory tract diseases.

It is an excellent vegetable, loaded with a lots of health benefits. It contributes to certain healthy lifestyle and human outlook on the skin, bitter leave is so effective because it helps to wipe out wrinkles, due to ageing effect and causing skin problem.

Also Read: The 23 benefits of Mango.

What Are The Benefits Of Bitter leaf For Skin?

  • Nutrition-rich: Bitter leaf is rich in nutrients, such as zinc, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, copper and vitamin c that are essential for healthy skin.
  • Anti-Inflammatory: The tannin content in bitter leaf helps to minimize redness and inflammation. As a natural astringent, they act as an antioxidant against free radicals. Tannin content in bitterleaf also help remove excess oil from pores without drying out the skin.
  • Anti-Aging: It help reduce the chances of skin aging. The bitter extract from bitter leaf can help to smooth your skin and prevent many skin problems.
  • Anti-acne: Bitter leaf contains so many vitamins and vitamins that help eliminate acne and make our skin glow.
  • Evens Skin Tone And Reduces Pigmentation: The vitamin C in the bitter leaf can brighten the skin and reduce uneven spots. Vitamin C may also help reduce hyperpigmentation.

Bitter leaf can be used for skin health. Here, we have listed down a few recipes using bitterleaf that you can use on your skin.

Face Mask For Skin Brightening

You Will Need

  • Bitter leaves
  • Distilled water


1. Get at least 15-20 leaves of bitter leaf

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2. Pound it on a mortar or any unbreakable bowl.

3. Add just a few drops of distilled water to lighten the mashed bitterleaf paste, then apply it on your face letting the juice from the mashed leaves touch every dark spot on your face.

The juice will assimilate into your skin pores and you will notice a change when you wash it off after 20 mins.

Do this daily, and you will see results before five (5) days.

Tonic For Healthy skin

You Will Need

  • Bitter leaves

Squeeze a hand full of bitter leaf, extract the juice and drink on an empty stomach to achieve that youthful and Healthy skin.

Face Pack To Fight Acne

You Will Need

  • Dry leaves of bitter leaf
  • Distilled water

1. After drying the leaves away from the sun, grind to powder and keep everyday.

2. Take some bitter leaf powder (grinded dried leaves), mix and add few drops of water to make a paste
then apply it on your face for 30

The excess oil on your skin will dry up, it will get rid of acne.

Do this daily, and you will see results before five (5) days.

These are the ways you can use bitter leaf to promote skin health. We have seen the many benefits of bitter leaf. What about taking a peek into its history?

What Is The History Of Bitter leaf?

Bitterleaf was held in high regard by many African communities as a gold mine. It is was used mainly as an agent in treating schistsomiasis (parasitic worms), diarrhea, and stomach upset, malaria. The herb is useful in the treatment of typhoid fever, amoebic dysentery, and general physical malaise. Bitterleaf is also used in the treatment of skin problems such as acne, pimples, ringworm, rashes and eczema. It has been cultivated for over 2000 years now. In the following section, we will explore how to use Bitterleaf for cooking.

How To Use Bitter leaf For Cooking

Bitterleaf is a versatile and cheap fresh leafy green vegetable that can elevate the taste and presentation of any dish. It is a very popular plant loved by the people from the eastern and western parts of Africa and It is commonly used For Soup, Stew, Tea, Salad, Juice And Drinks.

Both fresh and dried bitter leaves can be used for cooking. Before you cook your Bitter leaf ensure that the bitter leaves are well washed, such that there is no trace of bitterness left.

If not, wash and squeeze it more. If the bitter taste can not be completely washed off, boil it for about 15 minutes and wash in cold water.

How To Select And Store Bitter leaf


Bitterleaf is available all round the year in groceries stores and supermarkets. Look for fresh bitterleaf that has firm stems.

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Try to buy organically sourced bitter leaf. Avoid buying bitterleaf with wilted or yellow leaves, mold, and dark spots.


Bitterleaf has to be stored properly. If not, it can wilt and lose it’s nutrient. Remove any yellow or dirty wilted leaves and wash the leaves thoroughly. Drain the excess water on a kitchen sieve. Repeat the washing process again, and then shake excess water off the leaves. Lay them on a kitchen sieve and gently dab them to remove the remaining water. Dry out in the sun by spreading thinly on the mat, break up clumps as you spread or use a fan to help air circulation, if humidity and space is a problem. When the bitter leaf is totally dry, store at room temperature. It can stay fresh for long.

Bitter leaf may cause certain adverse effects in some people. You may want to check them out before including the herb in your diet.

Risks And Side Effects Of bitter leaf

Bitterleaf should be consumed in moderation. It can lead to allergic reaction such as fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, rashes, runny nose, vomiting and diarrhoea.

In certain cases if consumed in excess, there can be such side effects of bitter leaf as blood pressure, serious heart troubles, the increase of glucose level in a blood. Therefore, it is important to use bitter leaf only after the advice of the doctor

Issues Regarding Pregnancy

There are no additional side effects of bitterleaf at pregnancy; therefore, you can use it. Moreover, it helps with problems with conception.


Bitter leaf is a versatile herb with many uses. It is rich in nutrients, including vitamin E and flavonoids. It has a role to play in heart, bone, and eye health. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antitumor effects that help fight many chronic diseases. However, more research is needed to verify the claims.

Traditionally, bitter leaf has been used as a treatment for many ailments from malaria, typhoid, diabetes, diarrhea, tuberculosis, gallstones and kidney disease, to the prevention of cancer and lowering of hypertension. It helps maintain healthy, clear skin. You can incorporate dried or fresh bitter leaves easily into your diet by adding them to soups, salads, and Stew.

Remember to always consult with your doctor regarding any medical concerns, conditions and supplements that you may be taking. Always take the advice of a health practitioner on how to proceed with your treatment.

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