Most of us are not aware of the immense benefits of Ocimum gratissimum popularly known as scent leaf, efirin (Yoruba), Nchanwu leaf (Igbo) and daidoya (Hausa). Efirin, daidoya, nchanwu or scent leaf, whose botanical name is Ocimum gratissimum, is a tropical plant species that belongs to the family of Labiatae.

It is usually a homegrown shrub used mainly as spices for cooking delicacies due to its unique aromatic taste. Scent leaves are high in calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, carbon and vitamin A. The scent leave has been reported to be rich in plants chemicals. Oil from the leaves has been shown to possess antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal activities.


Nutritional Content/ Value of Scent Leaves

Scent leaves otherwise known as gratissimum contained in percent, respectively, protein (42.52 ± 0.25, 14.73 ± 0.38), moisture (2.4 ± 0.05, 6.5 ± 0.57), fat (6.5 ± 0.29, 2.25 ± 0.03), ash (4.26 ± 0.02, 4.23 ± 0.01), crude fiber (3.83 ± 0.02, 5.95 ± 0.32), carbohydrate (40.47 ± 0.07, 66.34 ± 0.27), and dry matter (97.6 ± 0.05, 97.75 ± 0.03). Saponin, flavonoid, tannin, and some macro- and micro minerals were present in the vegetables.


            Nutritional Benefits of Scent Leaves

  • Scent leave aids digestion. If you are the type of person that eats late at night, it is likely you will experience indigestion and bloating. Scent leave has immense health benefits such as easy bowel evacuation and weight management.
  • Scent leave can be used to treat stomach ache, diarrhea, chronic dysentery and vomiting. The aqueous extracts of the scented leaf can be taken to relief ear ache and colon pains. Scent leaf decoction is used in treatment of mental illness.
  • Scent leave can be used to treat oral infections. Say bye bye to smelly mouth as scent leave will kill all the bacteria in your mouth and also prevent tooth decay and bad breath.
  • It is used in the treatment of fungal infections, fever, cold and catarrh. Squeezed nchanwu leaves are applied on the skin for treating skin diseases and ringworm.
  • Nchanwu oil can be used as food preservative due to its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Scent leaves can also be used for the prevention and treatment of malaria, catarrh, cough and fever.
  • The aqueous extracts of the scented leaf can be taken to relieve ear ache and colon pains.
  • The stick of this leaf is being used by some people as a local chewing stick.
  • When left to dry and burnt, this leaves could serve as a mosquito repellent.
  • Nchanwu seeds can be infused for treating urinary infections, gonorrhea infection, and vaginal douches for vaginitis. From recent finding scent leaf has been found to be useful in the medication for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
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