In recent times, science has demonstrated health benefits in consuming healthy spicy. For instance, one recent study found that the best way to prolong your lifespan is to eat chili pepper.
Though we know that a good diet, coupled with regular physical activity, promotes longevity, how singular foods extend one’s lifespan is what we don’t know. But, now there is evidence, however, that the addition of a certain fruit to your diet may slash the risk of several diseases by a quarter.
One of the healthy spicy in our Ghanaian community is the Aidan fruit or what is known as prekese. In this article, I explore the scientific aspect of Prekese.
One experimental study in animals by Ojewole and Adewunmi(2004) found that Aidan fruit also known as prekese is effective in the management and/or control of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, as well as in adult-onset, type-2 diabetes mellitus in some Yoruba-speaking communities of South-Western Nigeria. In this study, between 50-800 mg/kg of Aidan fruit was used.
Another study by Adusei et al. (2019) also agreed that prekese is antioxidant food and also has the following Phytochemicals (flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, tannins, steroids, saponins, and phenols).
Effective against Parasitic worms
One study by Aladesanmi et al.(2007)found that Aidan fruit is effective against schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia, is an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in fresh water in subtropical and tropical regions.
The parasite is most commonly found throughout Africa but also lives in parts of South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Asia.
Ojewole (2005) investigate the analgesic and anticonvulsant effects of Prekese in mice.
The comparative study used the pharmaceutical drug Morphine (MPN, 10 mg/kg), diclofenac (DIC, 100 mg/kg i.p.), phenobarbitone (20 mg/kg i.p.), and diazepam (0.5 mg/kg i.p.), respectively, as reference analgesic and anticonvulsant agent as against Prekese fruit aqueous extract (TTE, 50-800 mg/kg i.p.).
The results of this experimental animal study indicate that prekese fruit aqueous extract (TTE) possesses analgesic and anticonvulsant properties.
These findings lend pharmacological support to the suggested folkloric uses of the plant’s fruit in the management and/or control of painful, arthritic inflammatory conditions, as well as for the management and/or control of epilepsy and childhood convulsions in some tropical African countries.
Blood sugar and cholesterol-lowering
One animal study by Atawodi et al.(2014) concluded that the leaves of Prekese possess a potent capacity for the treatment of diabetes and the accompanying complications, including oxidative stress and high cholesterol.
This comparative study used (50 mg/kg) of prekese extract against the pharmaceutical drug glibenclamide for 7 days.
This is further cemented by Kuate et al.(2015) study in animals for 28 days which demonstrates the ability of prekese in the management of type 2 diabetes.
A recent study by Ngweye et al.(2020) found that using prekese alone is ineffective as compared to combining it with other significant ingredients such as turmeric to improve blood sugar.
Weight, hypertension management
One animal study by Kuate et al.(2015) examined the potency of prekese on weight and hypertensive ability.
Prekese doses of (200 and 400 mg/kg) and a standard antidiabetic drug, metformin (300 mg/kg) were used for comparison for 28 days.
The body weight, systolic blood pressure, oxidative stress, and metabolic parameters were then assessed.
The study demonstrates the anti-insulin resistance, antilipidemic, anti-obesity, hypotensive, and anti-inflammatory properties of Prekese and concluded that it has the potential to be further developed for the management of obesity and hypertension.
Kuate et al.(2015) study also found that Aidanfruit is effective against hyperuricemia and its related conditions, like gout. Hyperuricemia is a condition marked by elevated levels of uric acid.
It is linked to many diseases, including gout, uric acid kidney stones, and acute kidney failure. In this study, the researchers were from Nigeria and Brazil and found compounds in the fruit extract.
They also examined its ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation in the kidney, liver, and lung tissues using a rat model.
Their study demonstrates that Aidan fruit extract contains flavonoids, such as apigenin, catechin, epicatechin, luteolin, rutin, and quercetin.
The extract also contains phenolic acids, such as gallic, chlorogenic, caffeic, and ellagic acids.
These compounds are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. The researchers concluded that the Aidan fruit’s benefits can be linked to the combined effects of its flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Animal studies have demonstrated the numerous health benefits of Prekese.However, human studies are needed to see how we benefit directly from prekese.
This notwithstanding, it provides a clue on prekese benefits. Additionally, one study, for instance (Ngweye et al.2020) found that using prekese alone is effective in animals but when it was combined with turmeric it demonstrates its effectiveness.
This adds to the numerous studies on natural remedies demonstrating that single ingredients use is not too effective and hence amalgamation of ingredients proves them to be effective.
The good news is that Ghanaian local foods are made with many other ingredients. Hence, adding prekese to your diet, for instance, soup, etc demonstrates its effectiveness(Ngweye et al.2020), and means that you are getting the needed benefit.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment.
I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The author is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare and President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation.E-mail: [email protected].
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