Thank You Vernonia Amygdalina!

in The Herbal Hive7 months ago (edited)

Hello everyone, especially the members of the herbal hive community! Honestly, I didn't know about the existence of this community until a reblog about the posting challenge popped up on my feeds earlier today. Now, for those of us who do not know, this challenge is simply asking us to “give thanks for just one herb that has made a difference to our personal life”. You can read about the details here. Moreso, this post is my entry to the challenge. Read along with me if you wish to know the herb I'm most thankful for 🤗.

Talking about herbs, I totally dislike them… I'd be lying if I said I was fanatical of such. Perhaps because I see them as drugs and I fear drugs due to it's common appalling taste. Although, there might be some with better tastes, I don't know. Actually, I know little or nothing about herbs 🤷.

However, reading this challenge, I began to see things from a different perspective. Herbs are in fact, one of the best things nature has blessed us with and so, we should appreciate them at least. Thanks to their medicinal value, herbs have provided cures and preventions to many diseases. What would we possibly do without them?


I never thought I'd say this in a lifetime but Vernonia amygdalina is one herb I'm thankful for. What's that? You asked? Well, it's an indigenous plant that grows in tropical Africa. Asides it's botanical name, this herb is better known as “bitter leaf” in English. Although in my country Nigeria, it's got different native names depending on the ethnic group. We call it “Onugbu” in my native language (Igbo).

Bitter leaf is a herb that's popularly known and can be found in shrubs almost anywhere you look. People could grow them in their farms, gardens and use them for consumption. Back in our home, my mom often plants them in a large vase since we don't have a homestead or garden yet. Matter of fact, she was the one who introduced me to this herb.

I recall a few years ago, I was having really terrible stomach aches plus my blood sugar level was a little high. After getting scolded and banned from consuming too much sweet things, my mom prepared a concoction with this herb. She plucked some of it's leaves, washed them thoroughly with salt and squeezed out it's juice. Afterwards, she sieved out the leaves and poured the juice into a cup for me to drink. Then, I didn't think it'd taste as bad as it stank, so I quickly took a gulp and spat out almost immediately. It was terrible and distasteful!


My mom however managed to manipulate me into consuming the whole glass 😅. And to my greatest surprise, it worked like magic! My stomach ache literally disappeared after a short while. And overtime, I continued drinking the concoction until my blood sugar normalized.

I would normally take 2 glasses of the “green juice” a day… To be honest, it wasn't easy at first as I felt like throwing up with each gulp. I mean, it's not called “BITTER leaf” nothing. But somehow, I got used to its bitterness and got my healing.

Funnily enough, my mom even incorporated this herbal drink into our diet. She believes it helps to flush out impurities from the body system and regulate blood pressure. Prior to my healing experience, I used to believe it was nothing but a myth. However, it's the truth. It really works with consistent and adequate intake. I would recommend it to anyone, any time!

It would also interest you to know that its versatility is one special attribute of this herb. As much as Vernonia amygdalina is medicinal, it's also commonly used as vegetables for cooking soup. In my tribe, it's used in the preparation of “Ofe Onugbu” (bitter leaf soup). This is one of my favorite local dish in my country, it's delicious 😋 when prepared properly and it's healthy as well.

In conclusion, I'm saying thank you Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leaf plant) for existing to cure my stomach upsets, regulate my sugar level and satisfy my taste buds as a medicinal herb and a staple ingredient for my favorite soup 😊.

All photos are mine and taken with my cellphone.



Oh wow. One of the things I love about this post is your relucance to engage with herbal medicine, but still come to the realisation that it's actually quite useful! And it's amazing that your mother passes that knowledge to you, and I bet you will do it with your children. If there's one herb I associate with Nigeria it's bitter leaf as I have heard about it alot but never tried it. Thanks so much for joining in with this lovely story.

Totally second that thought @riverflows - and loving to see more cultural perspectives in The Herbal Hive.

Hehe, thank you! I'm glad you liked my post. I can't deny the fact that herbs are a useful part of life.

Well of course, I will try to the same. Afterall, the health benefits are worth it. I just hope my future kids don't act as stubborn as I was 😅.

Wow, I'm glad to hear that you're familiar with this plant as well... I'm curious, have you perhaps been to Nigeria?

Oh it's my pleasure! ☺️

My aunt literally made me eat this leaf everyday back then. She said it was good for maintaining low sugar, but I hated it in soup. But we're blessed with some of these herbs, it literally works magic just like in your case too.

haha your aunt was VERY optimistic putting it in soup!! I've sometimes used it in a cool smoothie drink, paired with lime and mint and it's kinda nice. Usually just chomp down on the raw leaf, which turns sweet after 20-30 seconds in your mouth.

Hoping to see an entry from you for this Posting Challenge - what OTHER herb did your aunt use in soups that you might be thankful for?? Or how else did she use vernonia? Maybe tell us a funny story about the times she made you eat it back then. 😆

😂 The only time my mom made me eat the leaves was when she'd wash them for soup. She would ask me to taste on intervals to see if it's still bitter.

I can understand why you hate the soup tho... Anyone would especially because it's bitter. However, the way my mom prepares her's makes me love it so much. You wouldn't notice the bitterness at all.

Of course, herbs are truly a blessing to humanity. Thank you for stopping by Joe! ☺️

My aunt made sure the bitterness remained there which got me frustrated back then, but I guess it's not all things that are sweet that's good for the body. Hahaha.

Of course, herbs are truly a blessing to humanity. Thank you for stopping by Joe! ☺️

Yeah, how are you though?

Haha, I know some people who like theirs that way... And yes, the best things for the body are usually bitter.

I'm okay, thanks. Hope you're good?

I'm just there, hopefully I'll get to text you one of these days

Alright 😊

We LOVE that you're honestly NOT a herb fanatic, but basically someone who understands their value and maybe likes to learn a bit more.

Vernonia is an AMAZING herb and has so many clinically proven uses. It grows like a weed here in Thailand, and I love it too. Have you ever noticed that even though it's super bitter when you first start chomping on the raw leaf, after maybe 30 seconds of serious chomping it becomes surprisingly SWEET in your mouth? I like to think of that as a metaphor for life - that if we bite down hard briefly on the bitter stuff, it always has a sweet side.

Thank you for joining us in The Herbal Hive and hoping to see you posting and joining in here again. Reblogged with pleasure.

Thank you ☺️... I would definitely love to learn more. That's the major reason I joined this community. I'm looking to read more interesting articles about herbs here.

Wow, I thought in only grew in Africa but I guess I just learned another new thing 😃.

Now that you mentioned it, I can relate. Especially when my mom washes them for soup, she'd ask me to chew on them and at first it'd be bitter. But the aftertaste isn't bad at all. That's definitely life's metaphor!

if we bite down hard briefly on the bitter stuff, it always has a sweet side.

Adding this to my notepad! It's a brilliant quote 👌❤️.

It is my pleasure, I hope to do so too. Thank you for the reblog, I appreciate it 🥰.

Yay! 🤗
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Noted, thanks!

Haha 😂 That made me chuckle! Your mum is a very wise women 💙

Hehe, I'm glad it did...
Yes, she's a wise woman indeed 😅.
Thanks for stopping by!

It seems that the "Pahit Leaf" is really very effective for curing stomach pain. Unfortunately, this plant cannot be found in Asian regions such as in Indonesia. 😅👍

Oh it's called “Pahit leaf” in your country? Yeah it's pretty much effective.

I thought as much, I know that the plant is only mostly found in Africa.

This herb is really a life saver, although I hate the taste too even in soups, I don't like bitterleaf soups, do you know some people use it as work expeller? Especially when faced with stomach upset like yours.

It's indeed a life saver my dear. 😅 I totally understand why you don't like it, most people don't.

Oh you mean “worm expeller?”... Yes I know about that too. And it works!

Thanks for stopping by! 💕

Dear sister, I sincerely appreciate your work here. I wrote about this gifted herb that have so many healing properties. To me, this leave is awesome in everyway. Do you know that after creating my post today, my sister got up and prepared Olugbu soup, we enjoyed it so well.

Thank you, I'm glad you liked my post. Of course, bitter leaves are awesome herbs with great healing properties...

Ouu wow! You make my mouth water at the mention of that soup. Honestly, it's been a while!

Thanks for stopping by 😊.

You are great dear sis, we are together in this. By the way which State are you residing in? Am from Abia State and in Aba

I'm from Anambra state but I reside in Lagos. Though, I'm currently in Benin, schooling in Uniben... It is nice to meet you my fellow Igbo sister 🤗.

It is wonderful that you experienced the power and benefits of the plant, I definitely want to try it. It doesn't grow in Greece and I have never tasted it.
It is beautiful that you are grateful to it and that it might actually already have become the connection between you and herbs :)
Lovely post!