Like any other spice, adding these antidiabetic African spices to my food makes me feel like a 10th century alchemist. Just a little dose will change the whole flavour and taste of food. Depending on who you are, the change can either be bad or good. And I also remember that if you misuse a spice, the food won’t be so pleasant. We all add one spice of the other to our food just for a better flavour and taste. However, spices can also give you more than just flavour or taste.
Spices have many healthy compounds that can benefit your overall health. I love to talk about the best of the spices native to Africa. I have written about several lists of African spices. And I always try to explain how you can use them for better health. This is because most of them have medicinal as well as culinary benefits. That’s why today you must learn about antidiabetic African spices. Some of them are common African spices, and you may notice that they have been subjects to previous discussions.
Common antidiabetic African spices
Poor dietary habits and lifestyles have led to an increased number of type 2 diabetes cases. Whilst, it is a troublesome condition, you can use your diet to improve the quality of your life. I know, there are many forms of modern medicine for diabetes, but there are also herbal options. You might not cure diabetes, but the dietary and herbal methods can improve your health. This is why you should also make use of African spices and herbs.
You might not be familiar with some of the African spice names here. However, if you are an avid reader of this blog, you may be familiar with some of them.
1. Alligator pepper or Grains of paradise
This spice is scientifically known as Afromomum melegueta. Alligator pepper also has many other names. In English, its known as Hepper pepper and Guinea pepper. The African names of alligator pepper include Mbongo spice, atare, chitta, ose-oji and efom wisa. This spice is very common in West and Central African countries. Alligator pepper is a common food condiment in Nigeria and Ghana.
The alligator pepper plant is a perennial herbaceous plant. The plant grows in the swampy areas of West and Central Africa. The fruits contain several indehiscent seeds. These seeds have a strong and pungent aroma. This pleasant aroma makes it a very good flavour enhancer to your food.
This spice is useful in several herbal remedies. The most notable medicinal use is its use in diabetes management. Alligator pepper has blood sugar lowering activities. Studies show that regular consumption of alligator peppers helps in the restoration of your blood sugar levels.
2. Antidiabetic African spices: West African black pepper
Piper guinense is the scientific name of West African black pepper. Its also known as Ashanti or Guinea pepper. In West African countries where it is native, they call it iyere or Uziza. Ashanti pepper is common in West African countries, and also in Guinea and Uganda.
The Ashanti pepper plant is a herbaceous plant with elliptically shaped leaves.
You can used this spice for improving the aroma, taste and flavour of food. Ashanti pepper also adds hotness to your food. Many parts of the plant also have several medicinal uses.
Ashanti pepper is also a special antidiabetic African spice.This African spice is rich in powerful compounds that can help you restore your blood glucose levels.
3. Selim pepper (Xylopia aethiopica) for diabetes
Selim pepper has many names including Ethiopian pepper among many other names. In Nigeria, the Igbo call it Uda. It is a common African spice in Ethiopia, West Africa, Central Africa and Nigeria.
The fruit has a rich pungent and aromatic smell. This makes it a special spice to flavour food. Selim pepper has excellent medicinal properties and uses. As a result, it can greatly benefit your overall health.
Selim pepper has anti-diabetic properties making it an antidiabetic African spice. Eating this spice helps in normalising blood glucose levels. In addition, it also helps prevent dyslipidaemia a common complication in diabetes. This makes this spice one of the best African spices for diabetes.
4. Calabash nutmeg/ African nutmeg an antidiabetic African spice
Monodora myristica is the scientific name for calabash or African nutmeg. Some of the Nigerian names for African nutmeg include ariwo, ehuru, ehiri, ehu seeds and ehu among many other names. Early European explorers used calabash nutmeg as a cheap nutmeg substitute. African nutmeg is a flowering plant that grows in the wild areas of many African countries.
It is also one of the most special medicinal spices from Africa. Unlike the other antidiabetic African spices, African nutmeg does not normalise blood glucose levels directly. However, it regulates blood glucose levels by slowing down carbohydrate digestion. Calabash nutmeg has compounds that inhibit the action of pancreatic amylase. This means African nutmeg slows down carbohydrate digestion. This is one of the most unique African spices for diabetes.
5. Pepper elder (Peperomia pellucida)
Pepper elder is also known as RenRen or RinRin. The pepper elder plant grows like a weed with a tiny seed in South-West Nigeria. Pepper elder has succulent stems that can flavour your food. Pepper elder is aromatic and in addition, it can stimulate appetite and aid digestion.
The plant has many medicinal uses, however, it is also beneficial to diabetes. Pepper elder can help lower blood sugar levels in your blood. It can also help regenerate the beta cells that produce insulin. As a result, it can help improve your secretion of insulin. Studies also show that pepper elder also reduces levels of lipids in the blood. This makes pepper elder a strong antidiabetic spice.
6. An antidiabetic African spice African basil
African basil or scent leaf is known scientifically as Ocimum gratissimum. In Nigeria, it is also known as efinrin, nchanwu, nehomwu or daidoya. This culinary herb that grows as a herbaceous plant. African basil is distributed across the savanna and tropical rainforests of West Africa. Scent leaf is a highly common cooking spice due to the mint aromatic flavour.
African basil has many medicinal uses and among them antidiabetic uses. African basil lowers blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion. And also by inhibiting the enzymes that negatively regulate insulin.
7. African locust beans (Piper biglobosa)
This spice is produced by a leguminous plant. The spice is also known as iru, ogiri or dadawa in Nigeria. The fermented seeds of African locust beans are used as a food condiment.
African locust beans are also special antidiabetic African spices. The bark and seeds of the plant both have antidiabetic activities. A diet supplemented with African locust beans has strong anti-diabetic activities. The spice also helps reduce liver and organ damage due to diabetes.
8. African chilli (Capsicum frutescens)
African chilli is also known as red pepper or bird chilli. The fruits of the red pepper are smaller, more spicey and pungent than normal chillies. The seeds of African chilli are yellow but the fruit is green when mature and red when ripe.
African chilli is a very powerful antidiabetic African spice. African chilli helps in increasing insulin secretion and lowering blood glucose levels. It improves the utilisation of glucose in the muscles. And also it reduces glucose production in the liver.
Also read these articles about spices native to Africa:
- 13. Most healthy African spices with amazing medicinal benefits
- Try these West African spices and herbs for better health
- The most amazing medicinal spices from Africa
- Calabash nutmeg benefits for the best health
- Selim pepper benefits/ Benefits of Grains of Selim
Conclusion on antidiabetic African spices
Whilst they cannot cure you, utilising these antidiabetic African spices may help improve your quality of life. However, this can only work with a healthy diet that suits your condition. Unlike many salespeople who are pushing certain herbal solutions, I urge you to use dietary, herbal and medicinal solutions together. Do you have any questions, additions or subtractions? Please get in touch!