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Unlike some veggies that are sweet when taken  raw, utazi isn’t in that category. Utazi is not as bitter as bitter leaf but it is bitter to be a vegetable eaten raw. My mum would say, “the bitter, the better”. It took me a while to adjust to that saying coined by her of course. Mum believed in herbs for healing. She prepared a lot of concoctions. Our family house perceived of different mixtures – the thick stench of garlic combined with ginger and other vegetables worth cooking. After brewing, she would make us drink the concoction. There was no escape. I lived with a herbalist, the tendency of turning that way was high. Well, here I am loving the vegetable for it’s health benefits. Let’s get right on to it. Utazi is used as a local spice and toppings for meals such as nkwobi, unripe plantain porridge, abacha, ugba, sauces and isi ewu. It is an excellent source of protein. This is where I love utazi more. It brings to life my favourite Igbo delicacies.The leaves of utazi are chewed raw and it gives a fast relief to catarrh and cough.Utazi leaves are also cooked with water and the extract drained and it helps with malaria. This is the part where my mum becomes a typical herbal doctor. She makes the whole family drink the extract because it washes our system of every infirmities.Utazi is a natural pain reliever. The leaves or paste when mashed are applied externally to cuts and wounds . This reduces pain and speeds up the healing process.Utazi leaves are widely known for their fertility aid. Lactating mothers also use it to control their body weight.Research states that utazi can be beneficial in treating high blood pressure, diabetes, hepatitis etc. The health benefits of utazi are numerous and glaring. Include utazi in your diet today.

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