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Saturday 22 August 2015

Health Benefits of Piper Guineense (Uziza Seed)


Over the years, plant extracts and plant-derived medicines have made immense contributions to the overall health and well being of human beings . Research is still ongoing on the   antimicrobial ability of plant extracts and oils as a  platform for the processing and transformation of some plant products into pharmaceuticals, preservatives and natural medicine. Right from the onset, the use of plants in the treatment of diseases has been widely accepted due to their healing properties.
According the WHO, many microorganisms are developing resistance to several drugs which is posing severe threat to the general public health hence requires actions across all sectors to curb this menace. As a result of this, there is a growing interest in plant’s usage for medicinal purposes due to the presence of several antibacterial compounds present in them. Researchers agree that medicines developed from plants are comparably safer than their synthetic counterparts thus rendering enormous therapeutic benefits at an economical treatment rate. P. guineense ‘Uziza’ is of the family of Piperaceae and contains over 700 species all over the world.

Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ is a medicinal plant known to provide both medicinal, insecticidal, culinary and dietary benefits to human beings. Piper guineense is a West African species of Piper and this spectacular spice is obtained from its dried fruit referred to as uziza pepper, West African pepper, kale, Guinea cubeb, Ashanti pepper, Guinea pepper, kukauabe, or Benin pepper. It is closely related to long pepper, cubeb pepper and black pepper. According to researchers, Piper guineensis ‘Uziza’ is a local spice that comprises of dillapiol, 5-8% of piperine, elemicine, 10% of myristicine and safrole and these chemicals exhibit bactericidal and antimicrobial effects on certain microorganisms. These effects have been associated with the presence of phytonutrients such as flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, essential oils, tannins, saponins, peptides and phenols in this spectacular plant.

They agree that P. guineense ‘Uziza’ leaves are aseptic in nature, with the ability to relieve flatulence. They are also useful for treating intestinal diseases, cough, bronchitis and rheumatism . According to the research carried out by Nwachukwu et., al. (2010), on the uses of some medicinal plants, they found out that Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ is suitable for treating Infertility in women & Low sperm count in men. They suggest that women with infertility problems should boil Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ together with Xylopia Spp (Uda), lime juice, Honey, Congronema latifolium (utazi) and Capsicum Spp pepper in 1 liter. of water and then take 1 glass cup on a daily basis only during menstruation (for women). Men on the other hand can take ½ bottle of lime juice mixed with 1 bottle of honey and taken 1 shot twice on daily basis for low sperm count treatment.
According to Ashok and Upadhyaya (2012), tannins are phenolic compounds with proline-rich proteins that helps to inhibit the absorption of iron when present in the gastro-intestinal lumen. This thus reduces the bio-availability of iron due to the presence of anti-hemorrhoidal, anti-diarrheal and haemostatic compounds that helps to treat diseases such as irritating bowel disorders, enteritis, gastritis and esophagitis. Plants and herbs that contain tannins as their primary components are astringent, thus highly beneficial for treating intestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery, healing of wounds and inflammation of mucous membrane.

Alkaloids which are natural product present in P. guineense ‘Uziza’ are made up of heterocyclic nitrogen that possess antimalarial, pharmacological, anti-hypertensive, anti-arrhythmic and anticancer effect (Saxena 2013). Flavonoids on the other hands, are remarkable for their countless health benefits to human beings, especially due to their antiplatelet, antiviral, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities (Pal and Verma 2013). All these and other countless beliefs, thus back-up the acceptance of P. guineense ‘uziza’ for the treatment of diseases. Conclusively, Piper guineense ‘Uziza’ is highly recommended for use in phytomedicine and medicinal uses especially in developing countries like Nigeria.


  1. Can a person with high prolactin level get benefits from Uziza?