Botanically known as Afromomum Melegueta, alligator pepper is well known to natives of indigenous Nigerian and African communities. Alligator pepper seeds, not to be confused with grains of paradise is usually chewed on by the elderly or eaten together with Kolanuts, bitter kola and in some cases with peanut butter(Ose oji). When ground properly, the flavor from the seeds could be used to add value to some special dishes, including native salads.
Alligator pepper has a pungent flavor. And just as the name goes, it is a kind of pepper. And so it could be used in place of pepper, but it’s pepper flavor is mild.
Benefits of Alligator pepper
1. Tackles intestinal and gastrointestinal issues
Alligator pepper seeds contain a load of flavonoids, tannins, alkanoids. These phytonutrients take on any free radicals around, preventing the entrance of viruses and microbes. This property of alligator pepper also prevents the ultra painful body process called – palete aggregation. It is also why native medicine uses alligator pepper to treat stomach disorders and intestinal problems.
2. Wound healing
Alligator pepper could be used to heal wounds, burns and bruises. The seeds contain tannin and flavonoids (as previously mentioned), these substances help healing processes go faster.
Research has shown that alligator pepper has aphrodisiac virtues, that could enhance sexual urge.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties
The seeds contain gingeriol which inhibit the growth of leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are products of oxidative processes in the leukocytes and are responsible for causing burning sensation in your body. Reducing them could curb inflammatory disorders in humans. Alligator pepper does that well.
5. Pain relieving
When ground into Shea butter, it could have very powerful analgesic properties. Able to relieve from joint pains, arthritic and rheumatoid pains.
6. Skin care
Extracts from alligator pepper could be used to prepare remedy for skin disorders like chicken pox, measles, acne and rashes.
Due to its pungent flavor, alligator pepper is normally chewed as a stimulant to keep the body at alert. It could also be used to stimulate thirst. Especially in cases where the body is low on water but the taste buds do not have appetite for water.
8. Malaria treatment
The leaves of the plant are used for preparing herbs for malaria treatment. But studies suggest that the seeds themselves could do the job of preventing or curbing malaria symptoms, including headache and fever.
There are no known side effects of alligator pepper, but an expedient conducted on pregnant female rats sometime proved that high (excessive) dosage of alligator pepper could terminate early-stage pregnancies in mammals, including humans. Pregnant women and nursing mothers too, are advised to reduce their consumption of alligator pepper.
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