Pepper fruit is popular with its distinctive spicy taste and often served with kola nuts, bitter kola, garden eggs and palm wine. People consume the fruit during cultural ceremonies, coronations, traditional marriages, naming ceremonies, new yam festivals and other events in the eastern part of Nigeria.
The fruit is usually found in the tropical region of West African especially Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Cameroon. In addition, botanical name of the fruit is Dennettia tripetala G. Baker and belongs to the Annonaceae family. Many people in Nigeria, or known as the Igbos, call the fruit as mmimmi, including Ako in Edo, Nkarika in Ibibio, Ata Igbere or igbere in Yoruba, imako in Urhobo and aki in Bini. Not only has many different name, the fruit is also has many different health benefits which make it popular in all over the world. So, the health benefits of Nigerian pepper fruit are:
- Reduces the growth of prostate cancer cells and treat them
A study from University of Illinois at Chicago in United States (US) found that extract of Nigerian pepper fruit has the ability to press or reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells.
- Cures liver and kidney damage
Extract of Nigerian pepper fruit will cure the damage that happens to liver and kidney damage. The benefit was found by the research from Sylvia O. Iseghohi and Noghayin E. J. Orhue, with the conclusion that aqueous extract from Nigerian pepper fruit ameliorates the damage in liver and kidney, which linked to the impact of multiple exposures to carbon tetrachloride.
- Acts as insecticidal property
One of the health benefits of hexanolic extract from Nigerian pepper fruit is can toxic the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Consequently, the fruit is potential as insecticidal property.
- Controls blood sugar level
The health benefit of Nigerian pepper fruit is including to controls blood sugar level, due antihyperglycemic effect. Anaga and Asuzu in 2010 with their research found that pepper fruit may inhibit the plasma glucose level in rats and probably it works to human body.
- Treats the convulsion of infant
There is a compound in extract oil of Nigerian pepper fruit oil that gives some effects like hypnotic, anticonvulsant, and anxiolytic. It named 1-nitro-2-phenyl ethane and being conducted in mice to prove the benefit. The evidence was surprising where the extracts of the fruit as well as its seed and leaves can treat the convulsion of infant.
- Plays a great role as anti-microbial properties
Aqueous extract from Nigerian pepper fruit will fight harm microorganisms effectively. According to a study from Delta state University, Abraka, essential oil and phenolic acid extract of Nigerian pepper fruit can prevent food-borne microorganisms such as Staphyloccocus aureus, Salmonella sp., Escherichia coli to grow.
- Relieves the pain from inflammation
The fruit can provide essential oil from its extract which is useful to relieve the pain in the body because of inflammation. The ability is as same as how opioid morphine, aspirin and indomethacin works to the body.
- Source of antioxidant
Flavonoids and ascorbic acid are antioxidants in Nigerian that eliminates free radicals in the body. As the fruit ripened, the antioxidant tends to be decreased. Based on a research published by Adedayo et al (2010), as the total phenol in the fruit increases, the potential antioxidant is automatically being reduced. Or you can also read health benefits of starfruit and health benefits of aronia berry.
- Heals womb after giving birth
Some people have been believed that Nigerian pepper fruit helps to heal the womb of mothers after giving birth. The fact also revealed that the seed of Nigerian pepper fruit can aid uterus contraction and therefore it is recommended to be given immediately after mothers are giving birth to their baby.
The health benefits of Nigerian pepper fruit you can also find in other fruits, where the benefits of other peppers you can read in health benefits of indian long pepper, benefits of black pepper and benefits of alligator pepper for health.