18 Health Benefits of Pepper Fruits | What Pepper Fruits do to the Body
One major and necessary source of food and nutrients for humans and animals is plant.
People cannot survive without plants.
Most times, people fail to make use of these plants because the lack adequate knowledge about the several benefits that can be derived from using or eating these plants.
Chemical compounds that are essential for the body’s metallic functioning can be found in these plants.
A very good plant with so much health benefit is the pepper fruit.
The botanical name of pepper fruit is Dennettia tripetala. It belongs to the Annonaceae family.
It is a tropical plant that is found mostly in the West African region especially Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.
In different states and tribes in Nigeria, it has various names.
- Igbo call it ‘’mmimmi’’
- Yorubas call it Ata Igebere or igberi
- Niger Deltas states refer to it as ‘’Imako’’
- Bini call it ‘’Ako’’
- Efik and Ibibio call it ‘’Nkarika’’
It is a pepperish, spicy medicinal plant which has a greenish color when unripe but tends to be reddish or pinkish in color when ripe.
Pepper fruit tree thrives mainly in rainforest zones and Savannah.
April and May are the months in the year when the fruit ripens.
Pepper fruits which are mature can be chewed raw or used for food preparations and the preparation of herbal medicines.
The leaves, fruits, roots and barks of the Dennettia tripetala plant (pepper fruit) are distinguished by their strong pungent, spicy and pepperish taste, aroma and fragrance.
Three green broad sepals and fleshy petals that are yellowish in colour can be seen in a pepper fruit.
It has oblong shaped leaves, alternates on each other and taper at the apex.
The leaves of a pepper fruit can be dried and stored for a long time without any microbial attack.
According to a research carried out by Okwu and Morah in 2004, it was discovered that pepper fruits can serve as food and also as herbs for producing herbal medicines.
The fruits, leaves and roots of the pepper fruit are useful for medicinal purposes.
The pepper fruit is also very effective for ethnomedical (traditional medical) purposes.
Volatile and essential oils can be found in pepper fruits.
The volatile and essential (oleoresins) oil of the fruit gives it a certain taste, aroma and pungency.
Pepper fruit can be chewed as a fruity because it has a peppery stimulating effect.
It is usually served with palm wine, bitter kola, garden eggs and kola nuts during festivals, coronations, cultural ceremonies, traditional marriages, new yam festivals, naming ceremonies, and special events in the eastern part of Nigeria.
It has been observed that pepper fruit produces very pepperish effect when it is chewed.
This peppery taste stimulates people when it is chewed.
What Pepper Fruits do to the Body |18 Health Benefits of Pepper Fruits
1. It contains a lot of Nutritional Benefits.
Dennettia tripetala contains;
- 42% magnesium
- 80% calcium
- 50% potassium
- 84% crude fibres
- 31% crude protein
- 0% moisture
- 62% carbohydrate
- 47% crude lipids
- 33% phosphorus
- Trace elements such as iron, cadmium, zinc and copper.
Pepper fruit also contains water-soluble vitamins such as ascorbic acid, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine.
In a study conducted in 2013, it was discovered that pepper fruits that are unripe contains higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin C and minerals more than the ones which are ripe.
Thus it is highly recommended that people should consume pepper fruits due to its high nutritional values.
In a study conducted in 2007, the pepper fruit phytochemical content and their results showed the presence of saponins, cyanogenic glycosides, flavonoids and tannins.
The fruit and the leaves were found to contain secondary metabolites such as carbohydrate, phenol, terpenes, tannin, flavonoids and alkaloids.
2. Pepper fruit has great Edible Purposes
The pepper fruit can be used as a pepperish spice for the seasoning and flavouring of different food such as spicy fish, white soup, alcoholic drinks, hot drinks, meat, beverages, vegetables, sauces, stew and sausages.
In a study carried out in 2013, the possibility of using the pepper fruit as a substitute for ginger in zobo drink production was discovered.
Their findings showed that pepper fruit is a good substitute for ginger in zobo drink production.
3. Pepper fruit provide Post-partum Care
It has been discovered that pepper fruit seeds are necessary for preparing food for newborn mothers immediately after childbirth due to the spice it contains which aids uterus contraction.
Scotch bonnet peppers, utazi and piper guineese can be used together with pepper fruit for hot soup preparations for mothers who just gave birth.
4. Pepper fruit serve bactericidal purposes
In a study conducted in 2013, it was discovered that pepper fruit extract are useful for both bacteriostatic and bactericidal purposes.
Pepper fruit seed extract can be used for preventing and inhibiting the growth of bacteria and microorganism.
5. It can be used for treating gastrointestinal diseases
The leaves, fruits and roots of the pepper fruit can be used for producing herbal medicines for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, stomach upset, worm infestation and vomiting.
6. It has anti-inflammatory properties
A 2008 study revealed that that the essential oil contained in pepper fruit has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
This essential oil can be used for reducing body pain and inflammation.
7. Pepper fruit has antimicrobial Properties
Antimicrobial properties can be found in the leaves of pepper fruits, therefore it is effective for fighting against microbes.
This was discovered in a study conducted in 2011.
8. Pepper fruit has anti-ulcer Properties
In a research conducted in 2016, the anti-ulcer ability of ethanol extract from pepper fruit seed extract was discovered.
Their findings revealed that the pepper fruit seed ethanol extract has potent and dose-dependent anti-ulcer effect against ulcer induced by aspirin.
According to these researchers, this anti-ulcer effect of pepper fruit can be attributed to the flavonoid content.
9. It has anthelmintic Properties
Pepper fruit and its leaves contain anthelmintic properties.
When combinated with other herbs, it can be used for destroying parasitic worms.
10. It can be used for reducing glaucoma intraocular pressure (IOP)
In a study conducted in 2008, it was discovered that pepper fruit can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) up to 25% in glaucoma patients.
11. Pepper fruit has antinociceptive effects
Pepper fruit has antinociceptive effects; therefore, it can be used for sensitivity reduction when undergoing painful stimuli
12. It has insecticidal purposes
In 2015, a study was conducted which revealed that pepper fruit can be used for insecticides production.
The plant products are effective against insects, pests, Sitophilus zeamais (Motsch.) and maize weevil.
The insecticidal activities of the pepper fruit can be attributed to its pepperish nature and pungency.
13. Pepper fruit is good for the treatment of Infantile Convulsion
Pepper fruit and its leaves can be used for preparing herbal medicines for the treatment of infantile convulsion.
Infantile convulsion is a neurological genetic disorder known for its autosomal dominant mode of inheritance.
It is associated with benign familial infantile epilepsy (BIFE) usually within the age of three to twelve months and paroxysmal kinesigenic choreoathetosis later as the person advances in age.
14. Pepper fruit minimizes cancer risk
The flavanoid content of pepper fruit have been proven effective for the reduction of cancer attacks.
This was discovered in a study carried out in 2005.
15. It can be used specifically for prostate cancer treatment
In a research conducted in the University of Illinois at Chicago, United States in 2013.
it was discovered that the extract from pepper fruit inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells.
The extract of pepper fruit possesses growth-inhibitory and cytotoxic effects on the prostate cancer cell lines in vitro.
16. It ameliorates liver and kidney damage
Aqueous extract of pepper fruit ameliorates liver and kidney damage.
This was discovered in a research carried out by Noghayin E. J. Orhue and Sylvia O. Iseghohi which revealed that aqueous extract of pepper fruit ameliorates liver and kidney damage which is caused by multiple exposures to carbon tetrachloride.
14. Pepper fruit contains nutrients which lowers the blood sugar Level
Pepper fruit has the ability to a person’s lower blood sugar level (antihyperglycemic effect).
A research was conducted by Asuzu and Anaga in 2010; this research showed that pepper fruit can reduce the drug-induced hyperglycemic rat’s plasma glucose level to levels comparable with that of normal rats.
It was discovered that pepper fruit exerts this effect by recruiting glucose uptake proteins from the interior of the cell to the plasma membrane.
15. It has pharmacological properties
Pepper fruit can be used for pharmacological purposes because it contains tannins, terpenes, alkaloids and flavonoids.
The anti-oxidizing, anti-allergic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of both the pepper fruit and its leaves are known to exhibit high pharmacological effects.
16. Pepper fruit has anti-viral Properties
Pepper fruit is very good for fighting against viruses such as cough, cold and fever.
Cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract which is characterized by sneezing, watery, eyes, coughing, sore throat and nasal congestion.
17. It has anti-emetic Properties
Pepper fruit is anti-emetic in nature being that it can be used for preventing or treating nausea and vomiting.
Due to its antiemetic nature, pepper fruit can be used for treating motion sickness and for preventing the side effects of anaesthetics, opioid analgesics and cancer chemotherapy.
18. It can be used for the treatment of Typhoid
Pepper fruit and its leaves can be used for the preparation of herbal medicines to treat typhoid.
The highly nutritious pepper fruit is rich in carbohydrates, fatty acids, potassium, proteins, calcium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins A,C and E.
In a study carried out by Nwaogu in the year 2007, it was discovered that pepper fruit contains phytochemicals tannins, steroids, flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, cardiac glycosides, and terpenoids.
It also contains volatile, essential (oleoresins) oils which is responsible for its aroma, taste and pungency.
The roots, leaves, barks and fruits of the pepper fruit are the parts that are usually used medicinally because of its medicinal properties:
- They have Antioxidant properties
- They have Anti-inflammatory properties
- Have Antibacterial properties
- They have Antifungal properties
- They have Antiviral properties
- Have Analgesic properties
- They have Hypoglycemic properties
- They have Mildly laxative properties
- Have Anthelmintic properties
- They have Stimulant properties
- They have Anti-emetic properties
Different parts of this fruit can be used for the following:
- To aid uterine contraction after childbirth
- To alleviate nausea and motion sickness
- Treat malaria fevers and typhoid
- To kill worms and intestinal parasites
- To get rid respiratory issues and cough
- Treat toothache and also used as a mouthwash.
- To treat stomach ailments. E.g. ulcer
- To treat different infections
- Treat convulsions
- To get rid of pests and insects
Pepper fruits can be used as one of the ingredients used in preparing pepper soup for women who have just given birth to a baby.
This is because the active components in these pepper fruits with some nutrients in the other ingredients help to heal the womb after child birth.
Pepper fruits are also used in cooking other some other soups and can also chewed raw like because of its stimulatory effect.
There are so many health benefits that come with pepper fruit.
It has various nutrients: 0.42% magnesium, calcium, potassium, crude fibres, crude protein, carbohydrate, crude lipids, phosphorus and trace elements such as iron, cadmium, zinc and copper.
It is highly recommended for feeding and medicinal purposes.
What other benefits of pepper fruits do you know?