Jute or saluyot leaves (called ewedu among the Yoruba and rama among the Hausa and their Fulbe neighbours) are used as a food source in many parts of the world. It is a popular vegetable in West Africa and is not just rich in nutrition but also has a lot of health benefits, including protecting us from various diseases. Nutrition-wise, vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. They are also good sources of fibre. Fibre keeps the intestinal tract in good health and may even reduce the risk of some cancers and diseases.
The leaves contain almost all of the nutrients needed by humans and are high in antioxidant property, primarily in the form of Vitamin E. These antioxidants combine with free radicals that cause health problems like arthritis, hardening of arteries, heart and kidney ailments and inhibit the harmful and destructive effects of these radicals.
It is also used as herbal medicine to control or prevent dysentery, worm infestation and constipation. Ewedu leaves are rich in vitamins, carotinoids, calcium, potassium and dietary fibres. Although it has been grown for food, in recent times it has been discovered that ewedu has many other benefits, including anti-ageing benefits.
Ewedu as vegetable and medicine
Studies have shown that this green, leafy vegetable is rich in beta-carotene for good eyesight, iron for healthy red blood cells, calcium for strong bones and teeth, and vitamin C for smooth, clear skin, strong immune cells, and fast wound-healing. Vitamins A, C and E present in ewedu “sponge up” free radicals, scooping them up before they can commit cellular sabotage. As a vegetable, it contains an abundance of antioxidants that have been associated with protection from chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension as well as other medical conditions.
Ayurvedics (ancient Hindu system of healing) use the leaves for ascites, pain, piles, and tumours. Elsewhere, the leaves are used for cystitis, dysuria, fever, and gonorrhoea. The cold infusion is said to restore the appetite and strength.
Ewedu and weight loss
The green leaf has been described as a source of weight loss. Serving ewedu without meat or fish only has 97 calories. So, for those trying to lose some weight, include ewedu in your diet.
Ewedu for pregnant women
This jute leaf has been known to be a remedy for pregnant women experiencing prolonged labour. When a pregnant woman is experiencing prolonged labour, a bunch of ewedu leaves squeezed with the stem can be given to her to drink. It has also been discovered to aid milk secretion in lactating mothers.