Chaya leaf with a botanical name Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, also known as Tree Spinach, some called it Miracle Plant, “hospital too far in Pidgin”, Iyana-Ipaja in Yoruba, Ugu-Oyibo in Igbo,also called ‘ogwu obala’, belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceae, is a large, fast-growing leafy perennial shrub that is believed to have originated in the Yucatan Peninsla of Mexico It has succulent stems which exude a milky sap when cut. It is an evergreen, drought deciduous shrubs up to 6 m in height with alternate palmate lobed leaves
Some other names include Spinach Tree, Tread Softly, Cabbage Star, Chaya, Chicasquil, Devil nettle and Tree-spinach.
Chaya a wonderful source of protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron and also a rich source of antioxidants
Traditionally, Chaya has been recommended for a number of ailments including diabetes, obesity, kidney stones, hemorrhoids, acne, and eye problems.
Raw chaya leaves contain hydrocyanic acid.In other words, they are considered toxic.Cooking the leaves for at least 3-5 minutes, however, removes the toxins and makes chaya safe to eat.
Chaya shoots and leaves have been taken as a laxative, diuretic, circulation stimulant, to improve digestion, to stimulate lactation, and to harden the fingernails.
chaya should never be cooked or stored in aluminium foil as it can produce a toxic reaction.
It has succulent stems which exude a milky sap
It supports SPERMATOGENESIS (formation of sperm cells in the testes)
In the preface of the 3rd(1998) edition of Edible leaves of the tropic, Dr Franklin W. Martins ranks chaya as one of the top 5 perennial tropical leaf crop: “of the thousand of leafy vegetables available throughout the tropics relatively few are great winners, and these should be emphasized first
It can be used to treat asthma, anemia, sore throat, infections, headaches, kidney and liver diseases
Some studies suggest that chaya contains more nutritional substances than spinach. It’s a good source of protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and various minerals and enzymes that are beneficial for the body. Chaya helps regulate blood pressure, improves circulation, is useful for digestion and disinfection and reduces cholesterol levels.
Chaya is excellent in knocking off free radicals and stemming the harm on vital organs resulting from oxidative stress
The natual essence in the leaves helps resolves vaginal issues and boosts vitality in men
HEALTH BENEFIT OF CHAYA(IYANA-IPAJA IN YORUBA)
- Improves blood circulation
- Helps digestion
- Improves vision
- Prevents varicose veins and hemorrhoids
- Lowers cholesterol
- Helps reduce weight
- Prevents coughs
- Augments calcium in the bones
- Decongests and disinfects the lungs
- Prevents anemia
- Improves memory and brain function
- Combats arthritis
- Improves glucose metabolism and prevents diabetes
When you boil Chaya leaves, much of the vitamin C ends up in the cooking water. Do not throw this away as it is a good source of nutrients. Add the cooking water to soups. Or, drink it like a tea. Because the leaves have been boiled, the liquid is safe to use or drink.