Did you know there are some amazing health benefits of scent leaf derivable when added to your cooking? Scent leaf, botanically known as Ocimum gratissimum, is an aromatic herb that has been introduced extensively across tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is native to Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Madagascar, Southern Asia, and the Bismarck Archipelago. The plant is normally a perennial homegrown shrub, although it can be found in the wild, and is used mainly as a spice for cooking delicacies due to it’s aromatic taste.
Scent leaves, also known as Daidoya in the North, Nchawu in the East and Effirin in the West, can be used as a spice for soup because of it’s aromatic nature. It can also be added to jollof rice to give it a great taste and aroma.
Health Benefits of Scent Leaf
It will be easy however, to dismiss this plant as just another sweet smelling plant, but it is more than just that. The plant boasts of a lot of antibacterial, larvicidal and antipyretic activities that give it a prominent role in the treatment and prevention of diseases and infection.
Scent leaves contain vital bioactive substances which confer it with several health benefits including tannins, phenols, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, and more, all which are essential for human health.
Here are some of the health benefits of scent leaf which you stand to gain by making it a part of your diet when cooking:
Maintains Eye Health
Scent leaf is rich in vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight. Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eyes in the form rhodopsin, the light absorbing molecule which is ultimately necessary for both scotopic vision ( low-light) and color vision.
The deficiency of vitamin A can be terrible for the eyes leading to xerophthalmia (a medical condition in which the eye fails to produce tears) and night blindness. Both of these eye conditions are preventable when adequate amounts of scent leaves are consumed.
Lower Blood Sugar
Scent leaves have an unprecedented ability to lower blood sugar and protect the pancreatic islets that protect insulin from damage. A research study conducted on mice showed that scent leaves were efficacious in lowering blood sugar levels.
Another randomized study equally showed a decrease in blood sugar levels in Non-insulin dependent(NID) Diabetes mellitus patients after eating significant amount of scent leaves.
Serves as Insect and Mosquito Repellent
Scent leaves contain compounds like camphor, cineole, and limunene which are larvicidal and harmful to mosquitoes, and other insects. This has a double benefits to health. By reducing the population of mosquitoes and houseflies in our living environment, the incidence of malaria and enteric disease (caused by houseflies) are both reduced.
Source of Oil and Aromatics
The oil extracts obtainable from scent leaves have a wide spectrum of usage. The essential oils can be used for aromatherapy massages to relieve and refresh the body. These oils can equally be used in the manufacture of soaps, perfumes, ointments, and aromatherapy oils.
A Food Preservative
Scent leaves have been reported to have antimicrobial properties. The fact that its extracts are plant based implies that ehanol extracts can be used as a potent food preservative to keep away bacteria and fungi that may otherwise cause food spoilage. This presents a cheaper and possibly healthier alternative to the more popular preservatives.
Promotes Oral Hygiene
The stem of scent leaf which can be used as chewing stick. It kills bacteria in the mouth and help fight off bad breath. It is also able to prevent tooth decay. Tea made from the leaves of scent leaf can be taken as a tunic or used as a gargle to treat sore throat.