Everybody seems to know it. It grows everywhere – bitter-leaf. Vernonia amydalia is a very homely plant. Wherever it grows, it flourishes. Evergreen. The Yorubas call it Ewuro. The Igbo call it Onugbu. The Hausas call it Shiwaka. Perhaps the most distinctive part of the bitter-leaf plant is its bitterness. Every part of the plant is bitter! the leaves, stems, root and bark.
The fact is that bitter herbs are good for the body. They remind us that life is not always sweet, that life is not a bed of roses, that both sweetness and bitterness are essential parts of life and so are not opposed. Bitter herbs help to tone the vital organs of the body, especially the liver and kidney. The liver is the largest organ of the body. Its weight is between 1-3 kg in the adult. Its major functions are (a) secretion of bile and (b) formation of glycogen. The liver is essential in the metabolism of fats and protein. It must, therefore, be well taken care of. Once the liver has any defect, it is hard to correct.
The kidney is another important organ in the body. The kidney is the organ that helps to expel waste materials from the body. It secretes urine that flows into the urethra. If the kidney breaks down there will be a general disorder in the body. Bitter-leaf is very useful in the care of the kidney and the liver. It is for this reason that we refer to bitter-leaf as cure-all for if the kidney and liver are healthy, the whole system will function well.
Bitter-leaf can also be used for Diabetes. Diabetics should listen carefully to this good news. They do not need to despair or lose hope. God has not abandoned them. God has given them bitter-leaf as a sign of God’s love and care. From time immemorial, herbalists have been using the bitter-leaf plant for the treatment of diabetes. Bitter-leaf not only reduces the sugar level drastically, it also helps to repair the pancreas. Squeeze ten handfuls of the fresh leaves in ten liters of water and take two glasses thrice daily for one month. This amount to six glasses daily.