Bitter Leaf Health Benefits And Side Effects

Bitter Leaf: 12 Potential Health Benefits And Side Effects

Also called Vernonia amygdalina, bitter leaf is often used as a folk remedy for the management of kidney stones as it promotes urine flow. It can also prevent the growth of fatty liver disease. Soothes skin conditions.

Bitter leaf is a versatile and cheap fresh leafy green vegetable that can elevate the taste, presentation of any dish and the most popular way of consuming bitter leaf is by using as vegetable, sole or mixed with other vegetables. 

Infact, 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.

In this post, we discuss the various ways the benefits of bitter leaf can make your life better and some additional (and interesting) information as well.

What is bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina)

Health Benefits And Side Effects of bitter leaf

Bitter leaf, the common medicinal plant belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant is known to have originated from the eastern and western parts of Africa where it grows wild along water ways, in grassland and at the edges of forests, but today it has a pan-tropical distribution.

  • Botanical name: Vernonia amygdalina.
  • English name: Bitter leaf or African leaf
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Species: V. amygdalina
  • Genus: Vernonia

What is bitter leaf good for?

Several studies have proven how bitter leaf can help in treating minor conditions such as, open injuries, rash, fever, stomach aches, insomnia, toothaches and general malaise to alleviating debilitating illnesses such as arthritis.

There are several other ways this plant is utilized – but in this post, we stick to the bitter leaf health benefits, the most important of all.

What are the health benefits of bitter leaf?

Without lingering, let me tell you about bitter leaf benefits:


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

High blood pressure

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

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.

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.

How to make: 

  • A fresh bitter leaf as much as 9 -15g
  • Boil with 3 cups of water and allow it to boil until it is remaining 1 cup
  • After boiling allow to cool then filter, taking 2 times a day each 1/2 cup.

Prevents cancer

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


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.

Improves fertility in women

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

Detoxifies the body

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

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.

Treats several infections

Aside from all the benefits of bitter leaf 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.

How to make bitter leaf juice?


First method

  • Get 20 pieces of bitter. Wash until it is neat. Then squeezed to take the juice. Drink once a day.

Second method

  • Get 30 grams of bitter leaf, tablespoon of honey and 400 ml water to boil.
  • Wash and boil the leaves. Allow the water to dry till become half.
  • Then enter the honey and stir well. Taken three times a day in a state of water is already cold. Do it regularly.

Other benefits of bitter leaf:


This medicinal plant can be used to treat dysentery, the benefits of bitter leaf for another digestive is to manage diahorrea that we suffer, do the same by making a herbal medicine to overcome bacillary dysentery.

How to make:

  • Provide 9 -15 grams of bitter dried, then boil with 3 cups water then allow to boil till the water in the pot is almost 1 cup.
  • After boiling let it cool then filter properly.

Drink this boiled concotion water 2 times daily, and 1/2 cup each.

Increase Endurance

Bitter substances have the typical form of andrographolide. Besides andrographolide, also has panni colin substances.

Based on 2 elements, the bitter leaf is also called andrographis paniculate.

Andrographolide and panni colin it is specific. Its main function is actually increasing endurance. In united states, bitter serves as medicine for AIDS?

Generally to increase endurance, we can drink two cups a day of bitter herbs.

How to make:

  • Get 10 grams of dried leaves with 4 cups of water and
    boil until 2 cups then Drink

How much bitter leaf juice can you drink in a day?

Drinking a glass in the morning, and night is safe. If you are suffering from any medical condition, consult your doctor regarding the dosage.

Infact, bitter leaf juice is quite healthy, but drinking it in excess does harm to your health.

How to use bitter leaf for cooking

Both fresh and dried bitter leaves can be used for cooking. Before you cook your Bitter leaves 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.


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What are the side effects of bitter leaf?

Bitter leaves 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 leaves only after the advice of the doctor

Issues Regarding Pregnancy

There are no additional side effects of bitter leaf 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 leaves 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.

Health Benefits And Side Effects of bitter

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