Traditional uses and benefits of African peach

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African peach Quick Facts
Name: African peach
Scientific Name: Nauclea latifolia
Origin Tropical Africa and Asia
Shapes Compound fruit. The fruits are usually fleshy, shallow-pitched, with numerous embedded seeds surrounded by a pink edible, sweet- sour pulp
Taste Sour (Flesh)
Health benefits Support for jaundice, fever, stomach ache, dysentery, tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, cough, diabetes, hernia, diarrhea, piles and dental caries
African peach scientifically known as Nauclea latifolia smith is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree belonging to Rubiaceae family. The plant is native to tropical Africa and Asia. It is widely distributed throughout the forest and tropical forests of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Nigeria. It is commonly found in Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, and as far as Sudan, tropical and Southern Africa. In Nigeria, it is found in areas like Kontagora, Abuja, Shaki, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, Abakaliki and other parts of the country. Few of the popular common names of the plant are African peach, Pin cushion tree, Guinea peach, Sierra Leone peach, Bishop’s head, Angatu, Chipoka, Dhiot, Ebolo, Goat, Gongan, Gounge, Guinea peach, Karmadodah, Kwomo, Logotomic and Miaar.

Its generic name is derived from the Greek word sarco which means fleshy and cephalus means headed in reference to the flowers. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin word lati which means broad and folius means leaved. It is a valuable medicinal plant that is widespread in the humid tropical rainforest zone or in savannah woodlands where various extracts of the plant are used for the therapeutic management of malaria, hypertension, prolonged menstrual flow, cough, gonorrhea, stomach disorders, dysentery, ulcers and liver ailments. The edible fruit is gathered from the wild for local use. Much appreciated by the local populace, it is often sold in local markets.

African Peach Facts

Name African peach
Scientific Name Nauclea latifolia
Native Tropical Africa and Asia. It is widely distributed throughout the forest and tropical forests of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Nigeria
Common Names Pin cushion tree, Guinea peach, Sierra Leone peach, Bishop’s head, African Peach, Angatu, Chipoka, Dhiot, Ebolo, Goat, Gongan, Gounge, Guinea peach, Karmadodah, Kwomo, Logotomic, Miaar, Monyo, Mutma, Nauclea, Negro-peach, Pincushion, Rata-bakmi, Sukisia, african cinchona, african quinine, akabi awotso, banampe, bari, baro, bati country fig, brampe, country fig, country-fig, daindaté, dikabiatso, doundake, doundaké, ebele, ebeliodole, ebolo, edoil, egbesi, egbessi root, ekomokoi, ekusiawa, eomokoi, eutukidole, galun gun, guinea peach, guineapeach fathead tree, gulun gun, hwene hwenti, kankanu, katama, kina du rio nunez, kisia, kuru kuntu, kusia, lago, molo, munyu, mutamatama, mutma, nauclea, negro peach, nemo, njimo, nyimo, opepe, osupuwa, owentin, oyefa oshwefa, oyefa tshofa, peachroot, peyae biasa, pêcher africain, sarcocephalus latifolius, sierra leone peach, sierra leone-peach, supaka, tafashia, tafashia. telede, tshofa tshuru, woacroolie root, wuacruli
Name in Other Languages Benin: koma
Cameroon: Koumkouma
English: African cinchona, African peach, African quinine, Doundake bark, Doundaki bark, Guinea peach, Negro peach, Sierra Leone peach, Country fig, Strawberry tree, pincushion tree
French: Kina du Rio Nunez, Liane à fraises, Liane-fraise, Pêcher africain, Quinquina africaine, Scille maritime, oignon marine, medicinal squill
Guinea: Badi, bahi, baro, bati, doudé, dundaké, dundé, dundu badi, dunndukké, edjik, kulundo, mon leuth, nandok
Guinea: Bissa, dundakhé
Hausa: Tafashiya, tashiyaigia, tafiyaigia, Marga, tabashiya, tuwon biri
Hindi: Edjik, mon leuth
Ibibio: Mbom-ibong
Igede (Benue): Uche
Igbo: Ubulu inu, Uvuru-ilu
Itsekiri: Itu
Kilba: Molsa
Mali: Badi, bahi, baro, bati, dundu badi
Russian: Naukleya shirokolistnaya (Науклея широколистная)
Sierra Leone: Doudé, dundaké, dundé, kulundo, nandok
Spanish: Nijmo
Togo: koma
Uganda: Kibuki-lingi, kilingi
Yoruba:  Egbẹsi
Plant Growth Habit Spreading, evergreen, multi-stemmed deciduous, shrub or small tree
Growing Climates Dry savannah and thickets, undisturbed fringing forest, closed savannah woodland
Plant Size Varies widely in height from around 10 meters up to 30 meters according to soil and moisture conditions
Bark Bark is dark gray, fibrous, and cracked
Leaf Leaves are glabrous, opposite, elliptical, shortly acuminate, obtusely narrowed or nearly rounded at the base, with about 7–8 lateral veins on each side, 2–8 inches long and 1–4 inches wide
Flowering season April to June
Flower Open canopy flowers with terminal spherical head like cymes of small whitish flowers. Flower head is up to 2 mm in diameter, sweet scented and sought by bees. The flowers are joined with their calyces
Fruit Shape & Size Compound fruit. The fruits are usually fleshy, shallow-pitched, with numerous embedded seeds surrounded by a pink edible, sweet- sour pulp
Flesh Deep red, watery
Seed Small, ovoid, numerous and brownish with a pleasant taste
Taste Sour
Plant Parts Used Roots, stem, bark, and leaves
Season July to September

Plant Description

African peach is a spreading, evergreen, multi-stemmed deciduous, shrub or small tree with an open canopy, usually branching from low downs the bole. The tree varies widely in height from around 10 meters up to 30 meters according to soil and moisture conditions.  The plant is found growing in dry savannah and thickets, undisturbed fringing forest and closed savannah woodland. The bark is dark gray, fibrous, and cracked.

Leaves

Leaves are glabrous, opposite, elliptical, shortly acuminate, obtusely narrowed or nearly rounded at the base, with about 7–8 lateral veins on each side, 2–8 inches long and 1–4 inches wide. Petiole is 1/5– 4/5 inches long. Stipules are short, obtuse, keeled and minutely ciliate. They are shiny green with tufts of hairs, and rounded at the base but pointed at the tip.

Flowers

The plant has an open canopy flowers with terminal spherical head like cymes of small whitish flowers. Flower head is up to 2 mm in diameter, sweet scented and sought by bees. The flowers are joined with their calyces. The tree flowers from April to June.

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by a compound fruit. The fruits are usually fleshy, shallow-pitched, with numerous embedded seeds surrounded by a pink edible, sweet- sour pulp (a syncarp up to 3 inches in diameter). The fruits are not appealing but edible. The seeds are usually small, ovoid, numerous and brownish with a pleasant taste but could be emetic if taken in excess. The fruits ripen from July to September.

Traditional uses and benefits of African peach

  • African Peach is used against various medical conditions such as fever and indigestion.
  • It is used in the treatment of diabetes.
  • The root is febrifuge and tonic.
  • The fruit is eaten as a cure for coughs.
  • The plant is commonly used as a remedy for diarrhea, pain, dental caries, septic mouth, and diabetes in several African countries.
  • It is also used in the treatment of malaria, leprosy, debility, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, prolonged menstrual flow and sleeping sickness.
  • Stem bark, and roots of the plant are used against fever, jaundice, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, hypertension and diabetes in Nigerian traditional medicines.
  • Fruits are occasionally used in the treatment of piles and dysentery.
  • The plant is used in the treatment of sleeping sickness and prolonged menstrual flow.
  • In Northern Nigeria, a cold infusion of the stem bark is taken as a diuretic and anti-helminthic.
  • The plant is used as a chewing stick and as a remedy against stomach ache and tuberculosis in Kano (Nigeria).
  • Roots and major ingredients of N. latifolia are used in treatment of respiratory illnesses such as tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, cough and cold in Niger State.
  • In Hong, Adamawa State, concoctions, infusions, and decoctions from stem bark and roots are used against jaundice, fever, stomach ache, and dysentery.
  • Decoction from the leaf is used to treat fever, filariasis, and chicken pox while the stem bark is used to treat infertility in Benue State.
  • Stem bark either as an infusion or decoction is used as anti-malaria, antipyretic and aphrodisiac.
  • Root bark is used as tonic, antipyretic, antidepressant and analgesic.
  • Leaf has the potential to relieve dysentery and diarrhea.
  • The indigenous people of Abia State in South-East, Nigeria use it extensively for management and treatment of gastrointestinal ulcers.
  • Parts of the plant are commonly recommended traditionally as a remedy for diabetes mellitus.
  • Decoction made from the bark is described as a wash or a beverage for the treatment of jaundice.
  • Decoction prepared from small piece of root is taken as a beverage for two weeks for the treatment of hernia.
  • Decoction is prepared from the leaves to treat constipation in Sierra Leone.
  • In Northern Nigeria, a cold infusion is taken to treat common digestive system problems.
  • In West Africa, Bitter root or root bark is used to treat digestive disorders, but it sometimes causes diarrhea.
  • Defoliated branches are used as a chew stick by humans for the prevention of caries.
  • Roots are made into a paste and applied to treat rashes by igala people of northern Nigeria.
  • Igala people of Northern Nigeria cover the birth stool with leaves to assist childbirth.
  • Roots are used in the Congo for sexual asthenia (loss of strength).
  • African peach plant is used as a tonic and fever medicine, chewing stick, toothaches, dental caries, septic mouth and diarrhea.
  • The plant is also used in the treatment of ailments like malaria, gastro intestinal tract disorders, sleeping sickness, prolong menstrual flow, hypertension and as a chewing stick.

Culinary Uses

  • Flower can be cooked and consumed as vegetable.
  • Fruit can be consumed raw.
  • The pulp is deep red, watery, and sweet with a taste of ripe apple.
  • Fruit is said to resemble a strawberry in taste and texture.
  • Flower heads can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.
  • In Sudan, ripe fruits are eaten and soft drinks are prepared from these fruits while over-ripe fruits are sometimes dried and a powder is prepared from them and used as a base for soft drinks.

Other Facts

  • It can also be used as windbreak and/or planted for soil conservation.
  • It is a suitable species for planting schemes for conservation and soil stabilization.
  • The tree offers shade and acts as a windbreak.
  • It is used as a live stake to provide barriers in farms.
  • The leaves are used as mulch.
  • Small twigs are used as chewing sticks.
  • The bark is a source of tannins.
  • A yellow dye is obtained from the roots.
  • The heartwood is dark red-brown, hard and moderately heavy.
  • The wood is resistant to termites.
  • It is used for inlay work.
  • The wood is used for fuel.

References:

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Nauclea+latifolia

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/35762

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/NUCLA

http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.plant.20160602.03.html

http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Nauclea+latifolia

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