Health Benefits of Prekese: Nature's Gift to Wellness
DLHA Staff Writer
Prekese fruit. Natural appearance and dried. Click on image to enlarge
Prekese, or Tetrapleura tetraptera, is a fruit native to West Africa, often celebrated in traditional medicine. Its English name is Aidan fruit. In Yoruba, it is called Aridan. The Twi name in Ghana is Prekese, while in Ibo it's called Uhio, or Oshosho or Osakirisa.
This blog aims to highlight the health claims of prekese through a scientific lens, differentiating between well-researched benefits and traditional uses.
Nutritional Benefits of Prekese
- Vitamins and Minerals: Prekese is reported to be rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for various bodily functions, including immune support, wound healing, and maintaining bone health. However, specific quantities of these nutrients in prekese should be further researched.
- Antioxidants: It contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds, known antioxidants. Antioxidants play a role in combating oxidative stress, which contributes to chronic disease development.
Traditional Uses in Herbal Medicine
- Digestive Aid: Traditionally used to soothe digestive discomfort, although scientific studies to substantiate these claims are limited.
- Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Relief: Prekese has been used in African folk medicine for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, but further scientific evidence is needed to confirm these effects.
Scientifically Reviewed Health Benefits
- Managing Diabetes: Some animal studies suggest that prekese may help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially beneficial for diabetes management. However, more comprehensive research is needed to establish this benefit in humans.
- Blood Pressure Control: Prekese was found to aid blood vessel relaxation in animal models, which could be beneficial for blood pressure management. This claim, however, requires more robust scientific validation in humans.
- Cholesterol Management: Again, limited research in animal models indicates that prekese might influence cholesterol levels, but this has not been translated to human subjects.
Skin and Digestive Health
- Skin Health: The antioxidants in prekese could potentially support skin health, but direct evidence linking prekese to improved skin conditions is scarce.
- Digestive Health: While traditionally used for digestive relief, scientific backing for these claims is insufficient.
Immune System Support
- Vitamin C Content: Prekese's vitamin C might bolster the immune system, a claim that aligns with the general understanding of vitamin C's role in immunity.
Safety and Precautions
- Allergies and Dosage: Potential allergies to prekese exist, and the safe dosage has not been established scientifically. Caution is advised.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Due to the lack of research, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult healthcare professionals before consuming prekese.
- Culinary Delight: Prekese is used as a flavor enhancer in West African cuisine, contributing a unique taste to dishes, like Goat meat stew, Banga, Pepper and Palm nut soups and more.
Prekese, or Tetrapleura tetraptera, embodies a fascinating blend of traditional African medicine and emerging scientific evidence. While it has been revered in various cultures for its medicinal properties, modern research has begun to uncover the scientific basis for some of these claims.
However, it is crucial to approach the use of prekese with an understanding that not all traditional claims have been substantiated by scientific research to date. Ongoing studies continue to explore its potential, promising to bridge the gap between traditional wisdom and scientific validation. This blog, therefore, serves as a testament to the evolving understanding of prekese's health benefits, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based practice in health and wellness.
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2. Aladesanmi AJ. Tetrapleura tetraptera: molluscicidal activity and chemical constituents. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2006 Aug 28;4(1):23-36.
3. Atawodi SE, Yakubu OE, Liman ML, Iliemene DU. Effect of methanolic extract of Tetrapleura tetraptera (Schum and Thonn) Taub leaves on hyperglycemia and indices of diabetic complications in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014 Apr;4(4):272-8. doi: 10.12980/APJTB.4.2014C73.
4. Kuate D, Kengne AP, Biapa CP, Azantsa BG, Abdul Manan Bin Wan Muda W. Tetrapleura tetraptera spice attenuates high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced obese and type 2 diabetic rats with metabolic syndrome features. Lipids Health Dis. 2015 May 24;14:50. doi: 10.1186/s12944-015-0051-0.
Published: November 25, 2023
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