It is good to have some understanding about vegetables and its health benefit only then you will appreciate nature and its gifts. One of the natural free gift is the vegetable called UTAZI, with a botanical name Gongronema latifolium, it is called AROKEKE in Yoruba, the Efik and Ibibio call it utasi, the vernacular name is Bush buck, the plant is yet to have common English name, but the igbo usually call it UTAZI, It belongs to the family of plants known as Asclepiadaceae, it is widespread in tropical rainforest of West African countries, such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Senegal, etc.

– People suffering from asthma can chew utazi leaves or macerated roots to help relieve them from wheezing

– An infusion of the aerial parts is taken to treat cough, intestinal worms, dysentery, dyspepsia and malaria. It is also taken as a tonic to treat loss of appetite

-The leaves are believed to neutralise the intoxicating properties of alcohol and its harmful effects on the liver

-In Senegal and Ghana the leaves are rubbed on the joints of small children to help them walk, infact in Sierra Leone the pliable stems are used as chew sticks

-In Nigeria, it is overexploited and has become relatively rare.

-In many local “joints,” where people enjoy Isiewu, nkwobi and abacha/ugba (African salad) with palm wine or beer, the leaves are usually added to these delicacies to help prevent drunkenness or hangover

-Utazi is an excellent source of protein and past studies show that utazi leaves are suitable for use in food production due to its high amino acid contents.


  1. Utazi(Arokeke) leaves is good for digestive problems and can be used as a home remedy for dysentery and intestinal worms, such as loss of appetite, dyspepsia, colic and stomachache, constipation.
  2. Utazi(arokeke) can help lower blood sugar levels and high blood pressure in diabetic and hypertensive patients respectively
  3. Infused utazi leaves are very helpful in treatment of malaria
  4. The utazi roots can be decocted and mixed with other medicinal plants for the treatment of sickle cell anemia. 
  5. The utazi fruits can be used to cook soup, which can be eaten as a laxative.
  6. The leaves when chewed raw or infused with hot water can act as a fast relief for catarrh, congested chest, running nose and cough.
  7. History records that Ghanaian and Senegalese squeeze the utazi leaves and use it to massage the joints of children with difficulty in walking and this practice helps those young children to start walking.
  8. The utazi leaves can be macerated in alcohol and used for the treatment of viral hepatitis and bilharzia.

This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your health care provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition

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