18 Great Benefits of the African Oil Bean - Ukpaka

Both the seeds, leaves, stems, barks, trunks, and roots of the African oil bean tree are very useful for both medicinal, edible, and commercial purposes. Studies reveal that the health benefits of African oil bean cannot be overemphasized and are thus discussed below including some other reasons we need this plant. 







18 Great Benefits of the African Oil Bean - Ukpaka

1. Reduction of Cancer Growth

Studies reveal that African oil bean seeds are capable of reducing cancer growth. A comparative study carried out in Nigeria showed that cancer patients who consumed Ukpaka during the research period recorded a great reduction in cancer risks unlike those that do not consume it. In a nutshell, consuming fermented African oil bean seeds as a food supplement is a great way of minimizing the risks of cancer growth and maintaining good health. 

2. Dermatological Purposes 

Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the African oil bean, both the bark and seeds can be used for producing local ointment for treating itches, insects bites, cuts, and wounds. 






3. Culinary Purposes 

African oil bean seeds can be cooked, sliced, and allowed to undergo a fermentation process for three days before being used for preparing assorted delicacies such as Ugba and Okporoko, sausages, Nkwobi, porridge, Abacha salad, soups, and vegetable yam. The processed seeds are known as Ugba or Ukpaka. Ashes from Ukpaka pods can serve as local cooking salt while the seeds can be ground into powdered flour for making bread. 






4. Treatment of Gastrointestinal Diseases

The leaves, stems, and bark of the African oil bean seed can be decocted and used for treating gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea.

5. Commercial Purposes

The African oil bean seeds are an excellent source of oil thus can be used commercially for producing soap, candles, and cooking oil. The edible seeds are enclosed in brownish shells, which can be used for decoration and for making beads, traditional dancing costumes, dresses, rosaries, hand bangles, bags, and necklaces. The wood serves as firewood and can also be used for generating charcoals.





6. Lowers the Cholesterol Level

African oil bean seed is a rich source of saponins, which have been proven effective for reducing plasma cholesterol however, it is important to note that saponins are toxic.

7. Anthelmintic Properties

The bark of the African oil bean tree exhibits anthelmintic properties thus can be used for preparing herbal medicines for treating and destroying parasitic worms.

8. Animal Feed Production

African oil bean seeds are a rich source of nutrients such as amino acids, minerals, proteins, and fatty acids thus have been proven essential for use in the production of animal feeds especially when fortified.







9. Antibacterial Properties

African oil bean seeds contain saponins and alkaloids that possess antibacterial properties thus can be used for fighting Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Bacillus subtilis.

10. Antimicrobial Properties

African oil bean contains sterols that have been proven effective for tackling microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus.

11. Treatment of Leprosy

The anthelmintic bark of the African oil bean tree can be crushed and decocted for treating leprosy sores.

12. Farming Purposes

The wood and leaves can serve as mulch that can be spread around or over other growing plants to enrich or insulate the soil. The wood can serve as a stake for supporting other growing plants such as yam, running beans, Akidi. The trunk can serve as timber that can be used for structural work.






13. Infertility Treatment

African oil bean seeds can be used for preparing herbal medicines for treating infertility.

14. Convulsion Treatment

The pods of the African oil bean seeds can be used for treating convulsion. Smoke from burnt African oil bean leaves can also be used for treating convulsion.

15. Induction of Abortion

African oil bean seeds can be crushed and mixed with red ants for inducing abortion.

16. Treatment of Gonorrhea

The fruits, seeds, bark, and leaves of the African oil bean tree have been proven effective for tackling gonorrhea.

17. Treatment of Fever

The leaves of the African oil bean tree can be decocted with bush pepper and taken for treating fever.

18. Obesity Control

The African oil bean plant is a rich source of phytoestrogens thus can be taken as a nutritional and vitamin supplement for controlling overweight and obesity.







How to prepare Ugba (African Oil Bean Seed)

Preparing the African oil bean seeds before consumption requires cracking the shells to remove the seeds, which are then boiled in water between 14 to 18 hours after which the cooked seeds are sliced into thin strips, soaked in water, and washed severally before being wrapped in green leaves for three to four days for the fermentation process to take place. Once fermentation has taken place, the Ugba can be used for preparing assorted mouthwatering dishes.

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