13 Impressive Health Benefits Of Utazi Leaves

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Utazi leaves are green leafy vegetables, rich in nutrients and used for spicing up meals as well as medicinal purposes.

Utazi leaf is scientifically known as “Gongrenema latifolium” and belongs to Asclepiadaceae family.

Utazi leaf thrive mostly, in the tropical rainforest of west Africa countries and a major staple of their traditional foods.

In the Western Nigeria(Yoruba), it is named orekeke and utazi in eastern Nigeria (Igbo).

Utazi leaf has a pleasant aroma and it is used for preparing foods such as soups, planting porridge, Africa salad, ugba, nsala soup, yam porridge and among others.

Utazi leaves are broad, oval in appearance, fleshy root and yellowish-green in color once it’s matured.

This perennial edible shrub, has slight bitter taste though the leaf, root and stems are edible. Utazi is commonly harvested within July – September.

Moreover, utazi leaves are powerful, as they contain several nutrients and phytochemical such as niacin, vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, copper, calcium, essential amino acids, dietary fiber, saponin, alkaloids, and glycoside.

Furthermore, it is used in the herbal medicine practices to cure various diseases such as respiratory, reduce blood sugar and wound healing, owing to the analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties(1).

Utazi leaves health benefits includes helps combat respiratory disease, regulating blood sugar levels, improve immunity, improve digestive system, lower cholesterol levels, wound healing, treat arthritis and rheumatism, helping prevent cancer, help detoxify liver, antibacterial and Anti-inflammatory properties, reducing stomach pain, enhance fertility and treat malaria.

13 Impressive Health Benefits Of Utazi Leaves

1. Regulate Blood Sugar levels

High blood sugar has been the major health problem affecting many people across the world, and it management is quite complicating. It is featured with disease such as diabetes, which can affect the eye, liver, kidney, and neurons if left uncontrolled. It is an established fact that foods with high glycemic index tend to increase blood sugar levels rather than use of foods of low glycemic index. However, utazi leaves have low glycemic index and contain dietary fiber(2). This dietary fiber is believed to slow the uptake of glucose into the blood stream. It also helps foster insulin secretion and reactivate insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is one of the main reason of high blood sugar level in the body.

2. Combat Respiratory Disease

Asides spicing up meals, utazi leaves have long been used for treating and preventing respiratory disorder such asthma, bronchitis, cold, and cough. These disorder obstruct the bronchi and the lungs thus creating difficulties in breathing. Consumption of utazi regularly aid in decongesting the mucus and phlegm on the airways and trachea. These function are attributed to the presence of antioxidant. Nevertheless, utazi possesses antimicrobial properties, which contribute immensely in elimination of harmful bacteria, and viral infection capable of causing respiratory disease.

3. Improve Immunity

Utazi is an excellent source of the vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, iron, and flavanoid. These nutrients are thought to have positive impact on the immune system. Immune system function as a defence against pathogenic growth, meaning that it will ward off bacteria and viral infection out of the body. The vitamin C helps enhance production of White blood cells and neutralize oxidative stress that affect immune performance. Incorporating utazi leaf will not only protect against numerous illness but as well prevent chronic inflammation.

4. Improve Digestive System

Digestion of food is very vital as well as it utilization. Experts say consumption of foods packed with dietary fiber helps facilitate digestion. Utazi leaf is loaded with dietary fiber, which is known for digestion of foods, and promote bowel movement. This is achieved by promoting secretion of digestive enzymes needed for effective digestion and absorption. Moreover, utazi inhibit growth of harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal track and maintain the beneficial bacteria. Hence, utazi leaf prevent indigestion and offers you a healthy digestive system.

5. Utazi Lower Cholesterol levels

One of the risk factor of cardiovascular disease, is high cholesterol in the blood, forming a build up, fat deposits on the walls of arteries and blood vessels. Thanks to the presence of antioxidant in utazi leaf. Antioxidant helps fight off accumulation of toxins, build ups on the walls of arteries, thus improve blood flow. Similarly, the dietary fiber decrease cholesterol levels by reducing it full absorption into the blood stream. So, frequent use of utazi leafy is not only recommended for lowering cholesterol but to improve a healthy living.

6. Utazi Promote Wound Healing

Another amazing benefits of utazi is it capacity to fasten wound healing and eliminate microbes. The vitamin C in utazi increase synthesis of collagen, and ensure skin cells rejuvenation. However, having antimicrobial properties enable it to fight against bacterial growth, viral infections from developing on the bruises, wound and cuts. Adding utazi into your meals gives you chance of obtaining these benefits.

7. Treat arthritis & rheumatism

Utazi leafy can be very helpful in treatment of swollen joint , muscle pain and others linked to arthritis. Science has indicated that Utazi leaves exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can profoundly suppress inflammation. Inflammation is noted to increase susceptibility of several ailments such as arthritis in the body. According to a nutritionist, cooking or using as herb have a promising effect at reducing pains and muscles pains.

8. Prevent Cancer

some studies have revealed that utazi leaves can prevent cancer growth, because of the flavanoid and saponin found in utazi leaf. Flavanoid, antioxidant is well-known for removal of free radicals, that promote oxidative damage in the body. Utazi leaf helps inhibit growth of cancerous cells in the body (3) .

9. Combat Stomach Pain

Utazi is often used for treating pains owing to it analgesic properties. It act as pain killer, helping relaxes the muscles and nerves cells. Therefore, if you’re frequently suffering from stomach pain, supplement utazi into your daily meals.

10. Anti-inflammatory & Antibacterial properties

Consumption of utazi makes you resist bacteria, fungal, and viral infections, as it inhibit them from developing, thus treating skin infection, like eczema, acne, wrinkles.

11. Detoxifier The Liver

Liver is a complex organ with various functions, which need to be maintained all the time. One of the function of liver in the body is detoxification. Utazi helps the liver in detoxifying dangerous substance, and responsible for reducing fat accumulation on the liver and contribute to overall health of the liver.

12. Improve Fertility

Utazi leaves have been used thousands of years to boost fertility, owing to it excellent nutrients and phytochemical found in utazi leaves. Some research suggested that regular consumption of utazi may promote libidos, and prevent erectile dysfunction.

13. Treat Malaria

Utazi is said to treat malaria as there are presence of antioxidant, antimicrobial and Anti-inflammatory properties. Meaning that bacteria, viral infection and oxidative stress will be drastically reduced.


Utazi leaf is highly nutritious and contains numerous phytochemicals.  It plays a critical role in the body, as it helps maintain immune system,  lower blood sugar,  cholesterol , treat malaria and among others.  Utazi leaves are primarily used in preparing local delicacy, as well as herbs.


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