Locust bean in west Africa, commonly referred to as iru by Yorubas, ‘ogiri’, by Igbos, ‘dawa dawa’ by hausas and some parts of Ghana. While other parts of Ghana call it ‘kolgo’. is a local seasoning or condiment used in soups and stews. A very popular soup ingredient, globally, it is referred to as African locust bean with the botanical name as Parkia biglobosa. some say it was named after Mungo park.
If you can totally ignore the smell and focus on the bright side, here are some benefits….
Benefits of African locust bean
- It is used in the management of bacterial infections.
- The locust bean contains tannins, which is often recommended for the treatment of diarrhoea.
- It is a potential benefit for enhancing weight loss.
- The fermented locust bean seed is used in controlling diabetes and cholesterol level.
- It helps to promote good sight and aids digestion.
- It is used for treating stroke and hypertension.
- The water and alcoholic extracts of fermented locust bean is used to reduce blood sugar. It can be found in a wide range of environments in Africa and is primarily grown for its pods that contain both a sweet pulp and valuable seeds.
The yellow pulp, which contains the seeds, is naturally sweet “and the seed is processed into a valuable ingredient for cooking what is known as ofada stew which is popular among the Yoruba people.
The seed is first cooked to remove the seed coat and then fermented to produce the desired result. When fermented, the Yoruba’s have a way of getting two types from it, the mashed type and the unmashed. The Ghanaians use it mostly for a special delicacy known as “tuo zaafi” they are used for different types of soups, but serves the same purpose.
The crushed bark of the locust bean tree has also been revealed to help in wound healing and serves as one of the ingredients used in treating leprosy. The decoction of the bark is also used as bath for fever and mouth wash to relieve toothache in Cote d’Ivoire.
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