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   Dec 11

Eating bitter leaf good for treating prostate enlargement —Expert

If you are worried about those frequent dashes or are marked difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate, it is time to include bitter leaf in your diet.

Scientists have identified bitter leaf as one of the many natural recipes for ameliorating mild to moderate lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with enlarged prostate.

In the laboratory, scientists found that Prostate specific antigen (PSA) concentrations significantly decreased in the group fed diets incorporated with bitter leaf.

The study, which investigated the effect of dietary incorporation of Vernonia amygdalina and Vernonia colorata on prostatic and testicular functions, was carried out in rats.

About 1000 varieties of bitter leaf have been identified including Vernonia amygdalina and Vernonia colorata. Vernonia colorata is commonly called “sweet bitter leaf” in Nigeria.

It is relatively less bitter compared to Vernonia amygdalina and therefore requires less processing methods. In Nigeria, the Edo calls it “Oriwo”, Hausas- “Shiwakar daji”, Igbos -”Onugbu anara” and Yorubas -”ewuro oko”.

Research evidence has demonstrated the efficacy of Vernonia species in treating and ameliorating various diseases. Traditional herbal medicine has used bitter leaf for the treatment of diabetes, constipation, stomach ache, prevent malaria, treat skin infections and regulate the blood’s cholesterol level, among others.

The study indicated that at 10 per cent of dietary incorporation of these leafy vegetables, Vernonia amygdalina demonstrated a stronger efficacy than Vernonia colorata in lowering blood testosterone concentrations and PSA.

Also, recorded was a reduction in Prostatic acid phosphatase (PACP) concentrations and weight of the testicles, all suggesting that bitter leaf, irrespective of its variety may have beneficial properties in the management of prostatic conditions.

Fifteen male albino rats aged 16 weeks old were involved in the study that lasted for three weeks. Parameters tested for included daily body weight and testosterone level, Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and Prostatic acid phosphatase (PACP) concentrations.

The researchers linked the reduction in testosterone concentrations to the chemical contents in bitter leaf affecting the process by which cholesterol is produced in the body.

The 2016 study, published in the Nigerian Society for Experimental Biology, involved Ifeoma Irene Ijeh; Agatha C. Ekeleme-Egedigwe; Benedict C. Opara; and Udochukwu Ahaiwe.

Testosterone and its derivatives are a class of s3x steroid hormones which in males, stimulate and control the development and ensure the maintenance of male characteristics, including growth and function of the prostate.

The researchers suggested that based on their findings that bitter leaf could be deployed in the prevention and treatment of prostatic dysfunctions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer,

They, however, declared that further studies will still need to be conducted to ascertain how extracts of bitter leaf helps with problems in the prostate.

Previously, experts have also indicated that the inclusion of pumpkin seeds in men’s diet would also serve the purpose of managing enlarged prostate. They found that intake of a diet rich in pumpkin seeds can cause a reduction in the prostate.

The plant’s young shoots and leaves of fluted pumpkin, what is commonly referred to as Ugu (Aporoko in Yoruba), are the main ingredients of a Nigerian soup, edikang ikong.

This was carried out by Chukwunonso C. Ejike and Lawrence Ezeanyika and published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines.

In addition, studies have shown five cups of tea a day can relieve the effects of enlarged prostate as well as delay its symptoms. Green tea has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, helping to defend the bladder against infection.

Other food items protective of the prostate are Dacryodes edulis fruit (local pear), Moringa oleifera, clove, tomatoes, citrus fruits, Soursop (Annona muricata), soya beans and chili pepper.

Moreover, scientists have also identified Pygeum africanum and Urtica dioica to help improve urinary function in men with enlarged prostate.

Pygeum africanum (African plum tree or bitter almond) is called emi or olowomefa in Yoruba, ka’danya in Hausa and osisi in Ibo. Urtica dioica (nettle, big string nettle, common nettle, stinging nettle) is called agbara or akuwa in Igbo and ewe esinsin or esisi in Yoruba.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

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