Garden egg (Solanum incanum) is a herbaceous plant of the solanaceae family. It is a tropical plant and is commonly found in Nigeria and other African countries in commercial quantities.
The plant which is edible is cultivated for its taste and medicinal values; it is a bitter and comes in various forms and colors. It also comes in different sizes; with the smallest being the most bitter specie.
Garden egg can be eaten fresh, with fried groundnut paste, cooked in food and/or served to visitors as a welcoming cola in the Igbo tradition, where bitter cola is not handy.
But have you tried to know what health benefits this special plant holds for your health? Probably what you just did now, and I’m saying a big welcome onboard to you.
What Are The Nutritional Values Of Garden Egg?
Aside being used for food and or entertaining others, garden egg posses numerous nutrients and bioactive compounds, which confers on it the numerous medicinal values ascribed on it. Aside the fruits and the leaves, which are commonly eaten, the roots and stems are also used in treating certain ailments. So, you would be taken across the fruits, leaves, stems and roots of the plant. In cases where it is necessary, we may touch on the seeds and flowers.
Do relax and enjoy a wonderful journey into the world of garden egg.
Nutritional values of Garden egg plant
Vitamins Content Of Garden egg
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
- Pantothenic acid
Minerals Content Of Garden egg
- Cyanogen glycosides
What Are The Health Benefits OF Garden Egg?
There are several health benefits of garden egg, which may stem from its numerous bioactive compounds, especially its many chemical compounds of alkaloid family. These health benefits are discussed in details below.
Garden Egg May Be Used For Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder is a type of health condition that’s characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety of even fear, that are strong enough they could interfere with your mood and daily activities.
The first drug for treating anxiety disorder, Barbiturate, has been shown to possess severe toxic effects, leading to the search for more effective medication with lesser side effects.
Most plants of the solanaceae family are known for anxiolytic properties, and have been extensively applied in the treatment of anxiety disorder and other central nervous system (CNS) related complication. The name, Solanum, is gotten from Latin word Solari, which means relieve.
Being a member of the solanaceae family, garden egg also showed an anxiolytic property. This means that consumption of garden egg may help relief anxiety and improve your mood.
The mechanism of action of the psychoactive compounds present in garden egg and other solanaceae plants may be through the facilitation of the coupling of GABAergic receptors to GABAA and the production of their pharmacological effect by binding to a benzodiazepine recognition site on the GABAA receptor complex.
May Improve Memory And Learning
As part of their anxiolytic effects, garden egg may also improve memory and learning. The effect of anxiolytic plants on dementia has been studied and shown that the fruit extract can be used in treating neurodegenerative disease and memory impairment.
Garden egg May Enhance Your Vision
Garden eggs possess certain amounts of beta-carotenes, which are pro-vitamin A and are useful for the eyes. Vitamin A is needed for proper functioning of the retina, thereby enhancing vision.
It also contains nicotinoid alkaloids which improve vision and fight glaucoma.
May Protect Your Live From Toxic Substances
Garden egg, like watercress juice has been use dimmensely as hepatoprotective and antiinflammatory agent in Chinese medicine. The extract of the fruit has potential for inhibiting oxidative damage caused by carbon tetrachloride (CCL4) in a study conducted on albino rats.
The result of the study showed that the fruit extract significantly lowered the CCL4-induced serum levels of hepatic enzyme markers, superoxide and hydroxyl radicals. It also increased the expression and activities f glutathione and superoxide dismutase, formally reduced by CCL4.
Read also (11 Health Benefits of Scent Leaf Juice)
May Help In Weight Reduction
In a study that compared the effect of garden egg, bitter leaf and utazi leaf on blood glucose levels during postprandial and fasting period, garden egg showed a significant reduction of blood glucose levels in both the postprandial and fasting periods. This may be attributed to the effects of insulin-like flavonoids and alkaloids present in the garden egg fruits.
Garden egg fruit is also rich in fiber content, which gives your body the feeling of fullness and prevent the feeling of hunger and the need to eat, thereby helping you skip meals without adverse effects. By this means, garden egg helps you in shedding off some weights.
Possess More Hypolipidemic Effect Than Apple And Oat
In another study to compare the hypolipidemic properties of garden egg with that of apple fruit and oat fruit, garden showed a significant reduction of total cholesterol, triglycerides levels and increased level of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol, otherwise known as the good cholesterol.
This is good news, as garden egg is cheaper and readily available, compared to apple and oat. When put into consideration of its weight loss activity, garden egg becomes a must have fruit in your house, not only for serving visitors, but for personal consumption.
May Boost Your Immunity Against Infections
The numerous vitamins and minerals in garden egg makes it good for boosting your immunity. Some studies have shown that garden eggs possess antibacterial, anti-plasmodia and antimicrobial activities against certain infections.
When you eat garden egg on a regular basis, you would hardly fall to malaria as it possess antimalaria properties. Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds also protect your body from the damaging effects of free radicals your cells and autoimmune diseases.
Garden eggs Possess Anticancer Compounds
Aside the aforementioned health benefits of garden eggs, they also possess anticancer properties due to its bioactive compound, Solarmagine, which showed, in a study to possess anticancer activity by inducing cell death through apoptosis in human hepatoma cells.
In addition, a parallel up-regulation of tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-I and -II on Hep3B cells was detected after solamargine treatment, and the solamargine-mediated cytotoxicity could be neutralized with either TNFR-I or -II specific antibody. Therefore, these results reveal that the actions of TNFR-I and -II on Hep3B cells may be independent, and both are involved in the mechanism of solamargine-mediated apoptosis.
Possess antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory Properties
The fruits of eggplants are good sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These properties have been employed in the treatment of several autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
Oxidative stress is the root cause of several autoimmune diseases, which are enhanced and worsen by inflammatory cytokines.
In order to treat those autoimmune related diseases, oxidative stress and inflammation must be inhibited. Garden eggs offer such curative effects.
The antioxidants properties of garden eggs may help you maintain a youthful and glowing skin texture due to the presence of vitamin C and E, coupled to zinc, which is an anti-inflammatory mineral element.
Garden Eggs May Be Beneficial To Pregnant Women
Garden eggs possess promising health benefits for the pregnant woman. It is one of the fruits often recommended for pregnant women in Nigeria. The Folate in garden fruits helps in the formation of neural tube during the early development of the fetus. It also prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain such as anencephaly and spina bifida.
Another beneficial element present in garden egg is selenium. Selenium has gained recent recognition among pregnancy related issues. In a study conducted by Morril on selenium, he summarized that Se supplementation during pregnancy is often associated with several health benefits, such as reduced incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, premature rupture of membranes, postpartum depression, and decreased biomarkers of oxidative stress while having no adverse effect on glucose metabolism.
May Be Used In Treating Gastroinstinal Diseases
The high fiber content of garden egg may be employed in the treatment of constipation and other gastric complications. It has been shown to possess activity against intestinal bacteria causing food poisoning.
Some studies also suggest that garden egg may possess anti-ulcer properties.
The health benefits of garden egg cannot be over emphasized. It has form part of the daily food of people of northern part of Nigeria, and consumed at certain rates in the southern part. Garden egg is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is rich in fiber also, which means it has gastro-intestinal benefits.
Always make it a duty to eat a fruit of garden egg, which comes in different varieties and sizes, to reap the rich health benefits of this wonderful plant.
Demisse and G. A. Awoke, “Review on ethnomedicinal use, nutritional value, phytochemistry and pharmacological characteristics of Solanum incanum L. an important medicinal plant”, Int.. J. Sci. Tech. Res., 5, 350-354 (2016)
Edijala, James & Asagba, Samuel & Eriyamremu, George & Atomatofa, Uzezi. (2005). Comparative Effect of Garden Egg Fruit, Oat and Apple on Serum Lipid Profile in Rats Fed a High Cholesterol Diet. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 4. 10.3923/pjn.2005.245.249.
Igwe, S.A. & Akunyili, D.N. & Ogbogu, C. (2003). Effects of Solanum melongena (garden egg) on some visual functions of visually active Igbos of Nigeria. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 86. 135-8. 10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00364-1.
Kuo KW, Hsu SH, Li YP, Lin WL, Liu LF, Chang LC, Lin CC, Lin CN, Sheu HM. Anticancer activity evaluation of the solanum glycoalkaloid solamargine. Triggering apoptosis in human hepatoma cells. Biochem Pharmacol. 2000 Dec 15;60(12):1865-73. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(00)00506-2. PMID: 11108802.
Mawia, Kilonzo & Muthuka, John & Wambura, Francis & Muthui, James. (2020). Antibacterial Activity Of Solanum incanum Roots And Fruits Methanol Extracts Against Gastrointestinal Bacteria Causing Food Poisoning. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences. 2319-7676. 10.9790/3008-1502015359.
Morrill R. The History of Selenium Research. https://www.pharmanord.com/static/CKFinderJava/userfiles/images/pharmanord/US/seleniumbook/History%20of%20Selenium%20Research%2015%20Jan%202017-4.pdf
Uchenna Okolie, E. Chinwe Okeke, O. Ijeoma Ehiemere and O. Pauline Ezenduka, 2009. Investigation of the Effect of Solanum incanum on Postprandial Blood Glucose Concentration of Normoglycemic Nigerians. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 8: 1631-1635.