Uziza (Piper guineense) is a spice plant that is native to Nigeria, especially the southern rainforest zone. The plant, which has a rope-like stem is perennial and is used as vegetable as well as flavoring condiment for various delicacies. Uziza leaves and seed have strong aroma and taste like a pepper, which is while uziza leaves, and seeds are highly favored among Nigerian restaurants, especially in making Okro and Ogbono soups, due to its nutritional and health benefits.
Uziza, which is popularly known as hotleaf is also known by various other names such as Iyere in Yoruba, Benin pepper, Guinea pepper, false cubeb and Ashanti pepper.
Classification of Uziza plant (Piper guineense)
The plant, Uziza is classified as follows:
- Kingdom – Plantae
- Division – Magnoliophyta
- Class – Magnoliopsida
- Order – Piperales
- Family – Piperaceae
- Genus – Piper
- Specie – Piper guineense
Uziza plant consists of rhizome, bulb, flower bud, fruit, seed, and leaves. It can grow up to 20 meter tall by climbing bole of trees through the means of its adventitious roots. The leaves are heart-shaped and oval, petiole, alternate and 12 cm long. They are pale greenish in color when they are still fresh but become dark green when frozen or dried. The fruits are reddish and reddish-brown when they are mature, small and occur in clusters.
Chemical Constituents of Uziza seed and leaf (Piper guineense) Plant
Both the leaves and seeds of hot leaf plant contain several bioactive compounds which makes Uziza a candidate among herbal remedies.
Hotleaf leaves contains
- Alkaloids: piperine, wisamine, dihydrowisamine, dihydropiperine.
- Essential oils: dillapiol, elemicin, myristcine, and safrole.
Hot leaf Seeds Contains
- Alkaloids: piperines and piperlongumine.
- Essential oils: dillapiol, elemicin, myristicine and safrole
- Cardiac glycosides
Vitamins and Mineral Constituents of Uziza Leaves and Fruits
The fruits contain several vitamins and minerals such as,
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin C
The leaves of Uziza contain,
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Crude fiber
Health Benefits of Uziza leaf and Seed
The leaves and fruits of Piper guineense has such sweet tastes and flavors, that it is used in preparing soups in the Eastern part of Nigeria. But only a few people can tell the health benefits of this wonderful spice plant. So you you’d be fortified with the knowledge of hot leaf and its numerous benefits.
Uziza for Infertility
Uziza seeds are used to boost male fertility and to treat infertility complications such as low sperm count, weak erection, low sperm count, quick ejaculation and sperm motility. They boost sperm count, testicular spermatogenesis and weight, increase libido in men and also enhance strong penile erection. This fertility property of hot leaf seeds usually counters antifertility effect of gossypol in okra. Whenever the Igbo and Ibibo people of the Eastern part of Nigeria wants to prepare okra soup, hot leaf and its seeds are usually added for their flavoring benefits. Little did they know that okra possess an anti-fertility compound, gossypol, which reduces sperm motility on males. This antifertility compound is usually countered by hot leaf seeds.
The leaves extract improves female fertility and also increase sexual desire in women.
Uziza leaves and fruits can be mixed with honey and taken by both men, to improve erectile function and libido, and women, to treat problems of infertility.
In a study, however, prolong intake of Uziza leaves and fruits showed a negative impact on the fertility of both men and women. This showed that prolong use of Uziza leaves and fruits may affect fertility in men and women.
Uziza Fruits are Aphrodisiac
The fruits of hot leaf are aphrodisiac, meaning that they enhance blood vessels enlargement and increase the volume of blood flow into the penile organ, thereby maintaining a strong erection. They do this by increasing the production and release of nitric oxide (NO) into the blood vessels. When you combine the seeds with Ageratum conyzoid in tea preparation, you will have a strong penile erection that delivers a good job to your partner.
Hot leaf is a Remedy For Cough
Like most spices, piper guineense leaves and fruits are used to clear mucus out of the throat and nose when you fall to influenza or any form of flu. To do this, get the fresh or dried Uziza leaves and fruits, squeeze or grind to powder form, put in a cup or plate and add hot water to it. Allow to stand for about 15 to 20 minutes, sieve the mixture and drink the filtrate.
In another method, you may add ground Fruits and leaves of Ashanti pepper in a honey and add warm water to enable quick homogenization. Then store the mixture and be taking one spoonful morning and at night till you are free from flu.
Hot leaf Prevents Constipation
When you find it difficult to stool it is called constipation. This happens when there is disruption of bowel contraction and relaxation movements. This health condition occurs most especially when there is a lack of fiber in the diet you take.
The interesting thing about Ashanti pepper Leaves is that they contain enough fiber and relieves your bowels of constipation and makes it easy for you to stool.
Hot leaf Prevents Cancer Cell Growth
Piper guineense leaves and fruits contain a bioactive compound, piperlongumine, which is an alkaloid, and has been shown by several studies to possess strong anti cancer properties.
In a comparative study of several plants with anti cancer activity, Piper guineense leaves showed the highest anti cancer activity against human myeloid leukemia. Also, the extracts of the leaves and seeds showed cytotoxicity against all cancer cell lines under investigation.
The study makes Uziza, like reishi mushroom an invaluable plant, both as a food spice and in alternative medicine.
Ashanti Pepper Prevents and Treats Diarrhea
The leaves of Uziza plant possess strong antibacterial bioactive compounds that kill E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, and other gram negative and gram positive bacteria. This antibacterial property of hot leaf is utilized in the treatment of diarrhea and reproductive tract infection.
Hot leaf Protects the Liver from Toxic Damage
Piper guineense in a study, showed strong protection against ethanol-induced liver toxicity by inhibiting hepatic lipid peroxidation and ameliorates superoxide dismutase and alanine transaminase. These hepatoprotective properties are due to its strong antioxidants.
Uziza seed and leaf Lowers Cholesterol Level
High levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, total LDL-cholesterol, VLDL-cholesterol and low HDL-cholesterol play important role in diabetic arteriosclerosis. When you eat Uziza leaves and fruits, they decrease the plasma cholesterol and triglyceride level, including LDL, VLDL and increase high density lipoproteins (HDL-choelsterol), thereby reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis Ashanti pepper also prevents artherogenic diet intoxication.
Uziza seed for sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease is characterized by several crisis, such as severe pains, and acute chest syndrome. In traditional medicine however, Uziza seed have been used in preventing the crisis associated with sickle cell. This properties are due to the presence of some anti-sickling bioactive compounds like piperine, capsaicin, cubebin, and caryophyllene. Another herbal remedy for treating sickle cell crisis is ewe ogbo. The two can be mixed up in a herbal preparation for effective outcome.
Uziza leaf Is Used In Treating Diabetes
The bioactive compounds, Phytol, phtalic acid and couramanone have been shown to possess antidiabetic properties. piper guineense leaves and fruits inhibit both α-amylase and α-glucosidase enzymes. These make hot leaf a good candidate for managing type II diabetes.
Uziza leaf is a Remedy for Menstrual cramps
Uziza leaves are used in treating stomach aches and menstrual cramps. It also enhances contraction of gastric intestinal muscles.
In the South Eastern parts of Nigeria, the fruits are used to prepare soups for mothers from the first day of delivery to prevent post partum contraction and to aid in the fast return of the uterine muscles to the original shape, and increase the flow of the nursing mothers’ breast milk.
Uziza seed is a Remedy for Rheumatoid arthritis
The seeds of piper guineense are used in preparing medications for rheumatisms including rheumatoid arthritis.
Other health benefits of Uziza seed and leaf
Uziza leaf is used in the treatment of several other health diseases such as convulsion, veneral diseases, intestinal diseases, and as a mosquito repellant. Uziza leaf posseses bioactive compounds which lowers blood pressure. This makes the Nigerian Zobo drink (Roselle tea) a very good tea for lowering high blood pressure as Uziza seed is used in Zobo drink preparation.
Amadi, Gordon & Iwuji, Samuel & Azeez, Taofik & Nwaokoro, Joakin & Wodu, Chioma. (2019). Biochemical Effects of Piper Guineense (African Black Pepper) in Female Diabetics: Opportunities for Diabetes Treatment. International Journal of Translational Medical Research and Public Health. 3. 59-65. 10.21106/ijtmrph.76.
Sulaimon, L.A., Anise, E.O., Obuotor, E.M. et al. In vitro antidiabetic potentials, antioxidant activities and phytochemical profile of african black pepper (Piper guineense). Clin Phytosci 6, 90 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40816-020-00236-2
Uhegbu, Friday & Imo, Chinedu & Ugbogu, Eziuche Amadike. (2015). Effect of Aqueous Extract of Piper Guineense Seeds on Some Liver Enzymes, Antioxidant Enzymes and Some Hematological Parameters in Albino Rats. International Journal of Plant Science and Ecology. 1. 167-171.