Ugwu is a tropical vine grown in West Africa as a leaf vegetable and for its edible seeds. Common names for the plant include fluted gourd, fluted pumpkin, ugwu (ugu) which is  a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and is indigenous to southern Nigeria. The fluted gourd grows in many nations of West Africa, and it is used primarily in soups and herbal medicines. The seeds produced by the gourd are high in protein and fat, and can, therefore, contribute to a well-balanced diet. The plant is a drought-tolerant, dioecious perennial that is usually grown trellised.

Ugwu is traditionally used by an estimated 30 to 35 million people indigenous people in Nigeria. It is cultivated for food sources and traditional medicines.  The fluted gourd is noted to have healing properties and was used as a blood tonic, to be administered to the weak or ill.

The leaves contain a high amount of antioxidants and hepatoprotective and antimicrobial properties.

The fluted gourd has been traditionally used by indigenous tribes as a blood tonic, likely due to its high protein content. Flour produced from the seeds can be used for high-protein breads. Furthermore, the shoots and leaves can be consumed as vegetables. When Ugwu is prepared for herbal medicine, it is used to treat sudden attack of convulsion, malaria, and anaemia; it also plays a vital and protective role in cardiovascular diseases.  (Source; Wikipedia)



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