Negro pepper: 12 health benefits of uda seed and side effects

Uda seed health benefits
Uda and pregnancy

Negro pepper (Xylopia aethiopica) is a spice plant that possess several health benefits, which make it an indispensable plant, especially for newly nursing mothers. The fruits and seeds of negro pepper, also known as Uda seed among the Igno people of Southeastern part of Nigeria, are used in preparing porridge yam for nursing mothers. This is because the hot yam water with enough Uda is believed to help nursing mother to heal delivery pain, heal after-birth wounds.

Aside that, negro pepper possess abortifacient, and has been used as a natural contraceptive for both the man and woman. But that’s not all there is about negro pepper, as you read on, you would be amazed at what you could do with Negro pepper of Uda seeds.

What are the health benefits of Negro pepper?

Uda seeds are well fortified with different bioactive phytochemicals that possess both strong antioxidation and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds also possess antimicrobial activities.

Negro pepper is an excellent remedy for diabetes

Uda seeds possess excellent antidiabetic properties that traditional healers have exploited over the years for treating diabetic patients. The seed extract have shown to significantly inhibit both α-amylase and α-glucosidase. α-amylase catabolizes the breakdown of carbohydrates in the mouth to secondary sugars, which are in turn broken down to primary sugars by α-glucosidase. The inhibition of the two enzymes makes any herbal medicine effective at treating diabetes. But that is not just what Negro pepper can do. Beyond suppressing the activities of those enzymes, thereby lowering the serum glucose level, Uda seed extracts also improves insulin secretion, and sensitivity, making it a good candidate for treating both type 1, and type 2 diabetes.

According a study, negro pepper is composed of, among other active components, oleanic acid, which binds on the active sites of the enzymes and inhibit them from catalizing the breakdown of carbohydrates to simples sugars.

If you add both negro pepper and alligator pepper (grain of paradise) together in your herbal formulation for diabetes, you would have an excellent combo for your enjoyment and health. Hotleaf seeds are also good, and would counter the antifertility effect of negro pepper, and grain of paradise.

Uda seed is beneficial for treating respiratory tract infections

You can use Uda seeds to treat common respiratory tract diseases like common colds, mild and whooping coughs, asthma, and common flu. If you live in areas that are prone to common flu infections, eating foods made with negro pepper may boost your immunity against such diseases. And if you happen to fall to cold, catarrh or any of the viral causing respiratory syndromes, negro pepper would help alleviate the ugly effects on your bronchial compartments, as Uda water eases bronchial constrictions.

The use of negro pepper to treat respiratory tract infections may be attributed to its rich diterpenes content, such as the presence of kaurene.

Negro pepper is beneficial for treating Ulcer

If you are suffering any gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, gastritis, bloating of your stomach, or ulcer, negro pepper may be an excellent home remedy for treating such diseases. Peperomia pellucida is also an excellent antiulcer herbs, which you may consider as a synergy.

Uda seeds for lowering cholesterol

Negro pepper is also beneficial for lowering your body cholesterol level, and for treating fatty livers. According to some studies on high fat-fed albino rats, the extracts of Xylopia aethiopica demonstrated significant reduction of serum and liver cholesterol levels. This shows that the antidiabetic effects of Uda is also related to its hypolipidemic activities.

As a result of the combined hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic activities of negro pepper, it is also said to be a good remedy for controling obesity, and its complications. For a normal person seeking to watch his or weight, adding Uda seeds on your food would just give you the needed results. However, caution should be taken to avoid overdosing.

Uda seed tea may improve your heart health

The fruits and seed of negro pepper are rich in diterpenoids such as xylopic acid, kaurenoic acid and its many derivatives. These bioactive compounds possess hypotensive and anti-atherosclerotic effects. They also act as coronary vasodilators, which is attributed to specific blocking of calcium voltage-gated channels, and suppression of sympathetic nervous system.

As a hypolipidemic agent, uda reduces the serum level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), while improving the level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). When you consider the fact that negro pepper prevents the development of a fatty liver, you would appreciate this wonderful herbal plant.

Negro pepper (Uda) and female fertility

In the Eastern part of Nigeria, whenever a woman gives birth to a child, during the period of Omugwo (a period of time in which the woman is given intensive care and support. She is not to go out or do anything that’s tasking) the woman is usually served foods cooked with Uda. The mother and child also drinks from hot water boiled with Uda pods and seeds.

It is believed that Uda hastens the falling off of the placenta and contraction of the womans uterous compartments. But that’s not all there are about Uda. It also enhances fertility in women by increasing the secretion of follicular stimulating hormone (FHS) and Luteinizing hormones. These hormones are responsible for the production and maturation of ovarian follicles. They are also responsible for the development of puberty and secondary sexual characters.

Uda, like miracle seeds also enhances ovulation through the stimulation of luteinizing hormones, which is responsible for the maturation and rupturing of mature follicles in the ovary.

Negro pepper improves learning and recognition

If you want your children to develop sharp learning and memory capacity, then use Uda when preparing porridge yam for them. In fact, always give them tonics made of negro pepper, at least once in a week. This is because the kaurene, and xylopic acid present in Xylopia aethiopica has shown to improve learning and memory. They also improve recognition and retention.

Negro pepper also possess strong antioxidants that protect the brain cells from the attack of free radicals due to oxidative stress caused by toxicologies and by gamma radiations. They also exert neuroprotective effects on the central nervous system.

Uda seed as a natural contraceptive

Like grain of paradise and okra seeds, negro pepper also possess antifertility effect on the male reproductive organ. When you expose yourself to foods or commercial products made of Uda seeds or pods for a longer time period, you may likely be unable to get your wife pregnant as long as you keep consuming negro pepper. This is because the antifertility compound xylopic acid, like gossypol in okra seeds, possess anti-spermatogonia and antiandrogenic activities, thereby inhibiting the production of testosterone and decreasing sperm motility, and sperm count.
The plant extract also affects, negatively, the weight of prostate, seminal vesicles and epididymis. All this points to the infertility effect of negro pepper on men. It’s surprising that the same plant improves fertility in women, and is also used to treat ovaria fibroid and hemorrhoid.

May prevent cancer

Uda seeds are also very effective for preventing and also treating cancer cells. It exhibits strong cytotoxicity and antiproliferative effect on several cancer cell lines. There are several studies supporting this claims. Regular consumption of Uda can protect you from cancerous agents.

Negro pepper possess antiviral effect

In some African settings, negro pepper and grain of paradise have been used to cure covid-19, to suppress viral proliferation. It is also used to treat flu causing viruses. The hot negro pepper tea can be taken and the steaming fluid inhaled to stop flu and respiratory infections caused by viruses. It can also be used to treat Norovirus infections.

Uda is used for treating urinary tract infections

Uda seeds and pods have been used in combination with other strong herbs for the treatment of urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and others. These antimicrobial activities have also been supported by some studies, thereby proving negro pepper to be a strong herbal remedy for treatment of infections.

Uda seed for breast firming?

There are articles making round that Uda seed helps in maintaining firm breasts, and restoring of sagged breasts to strong youthful firm ones. The truth is that there is no scientific prove of that. So please disregard such rumor.

How to use Uda seed flat tummy and weight loss

Like I said before in this article, Uda seed possesses strong hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic effects. These effects are utilized by people seeking to lower their body weights and reduce belly fats. To use Uda seeds for flat tummy or weight loss, boil the seeds in hot water for 10 minutes, add ginger if you like. After 10 minutes, bring out the pot and strain your Uda seed tea. Drink warm or slightly hot.

Can Uda and Uziza seeds remove pregnancy?

Uda seed is abortifacient meaning that it can trigger abortion in pregnant women, this is also true of uziza seeds. Therefore, if you’re pregnant, especially in for the first three months, it is advisable that you avoid both Uda and uziza seeds in your diet meals.

Side effects of Uda seeds

Although Uda seeds possess strong medicinal values, you should take special care when taking it as tea or decoctions. Some of the side effects of Uda seeds include:

  • It can cause infertility in men.
  • Can lead to abortion in pregnant women.
  • Can lead to loss of weight.
  • When taken too much, can cause dizziness and nausea.



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Aminu Mohammed, Gbonjubola Victoria Awolola, Mohammed Auwal Ibrahim, Neil Anthony Koorbanally & Md. Shahidul Islam (2021) Oleanolic acid as a potential antidiabetic component of Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich. (Annonaceae) fruit: bioassay guided isolation and molecular docking studies, Natural Product Research, 35:5, 788-791.

Nwozo SO, Orojobi BF, Adaramoye OA. Hypolipidemic and antioxidant potentials of Xylopia aethiopica seed extract in hypercholesterolemic rats. J Med Food. 2011 Jan-Feb;14(1-2):114-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2008.0168. PMID: 21244241.

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Abarikwu, S. O., Ogunlaja, A., Otuechere, C. A., & Gideon, O. (2017). Effect of Ethanolic Extract from Seeds or Pods of Xylopia Aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich (Annonaceae) on the Testicular Function of Adult Male Rats. Indian journal of clinical biochemistry : IJCB, 32(4), 420–428.

Iweala, Emeka & Bankole, Eunice & Iheagwam, Franklyn & Dania, Omoremime Elizabeth & Ujowundu, Favour. (2020). Cytotoxic Assessment of Xylopia aethiopica [Dun.] A. on Human Prostate and Breast Cancer Cell Lines. 4. 1143-1146.


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