Health benefits of alligator pepper

Alligator pepper has been linked to numerous health benefits. It has been widely used in some parts of Africa because of how effective it is. Learn about the health benefits of alligator pepper.

Healthy black family preparing meal with alligator pepper

Key takeaways:

  • Alligator pepper is a plant native to west Africa and is known to have many health benefits.
  • Health benefits of alligator pepper include antimicrobial properties, helpful in treating wounds, serving as a pain reliever, and helping reduce inflammation.
  • Alligator pepper may not be safe for pregnant or lactating mothers and should not be taken in place of medication.

If you live in tropical parts of the world like Nigeria, you'll most likely be familiar with alligator pepper. The botanical name for alligator pepper is Aframomum danielli. The plant is native to West Africa and is a member of the ginger family.

Alligator pepper has been linked to numerous health benefits. It has been widely used in some parts of Africa for different purposes, such as food ingredients and for performing traditional rites.

So far, studies have not linked alligator pepper to significant side effects. Still, it is strongly advised that pregnant and lactating mothers should not take it unless their healthcare providers say otherwise.

So in this article, we'll look at the health benefits of alligator pepper and its uses.

What is alligator pepper?

Alligator pepper is a spice that is well known in the African continent. It is mostly found in the central and western parts of Africa. The common local names for it are mbongo spice, hepper pepper, Afrika kakulesi, ginny pepper, and guinea pepper. These names differ from place to place.

Alligator pepper is made from the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, which is from the same family as Aframomum melegueta.

The fruits, leaves, and seeds of Alligator pepper serve as flavoring agents for traditional foods. Some people use it for treating health conditions like diabetes. A 2016 study indicated that it might help treat hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hypercholesterolemia.

10health benefits of alligator

The health benefits of alligator pepper include:

1.High antioxidant properties

The polyphenol content of alligator pepper has been shown to have effective antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect the body against damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack important macromolecules in the body resulting in cell damage and balance disruption.

Antioxidants protect the body by preventing the formation of radicals, scavenging them, or promoting their decomposition.

2.Used in the treatment of wounds

Another possible health benefit of alligator pepper is the treatment of wounds. Research done using experimental animals showed that the extracts of alligator pepper can promote wound healing.

The experiment showed that alligator pepper can help in the formation of new tissues in the area affected by injury.

3.Used in treating gastrointestinal disorders

Alligator pepper may be useful in treating gastrointestinal problems like stomach aches and diarrhea. Some people prefer to chew it hot and spicy to help with gastrointestinal problems.

Consuming the seed may also help treat bloating, constipation, ulcer, and intestinal worms.

4.Antimicrobial properties

Alligator pepper has phenolic compounds, which means they may be useful in inhibiting bacterial growth.

Studies have shown that Alligator pepper has antimicrobial properties. Researchers observed that it inhibited the growth of bacteria like Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus.

5.Helps improve sexual function

Alligator pepper has been used in traditional medicine to improve sexual function. Some people take it for increased libido. However, more studies need to be carried out to ascertain how it acts to improve sexual function.

6.Remedy for skin diseases

Alligator pepper may also be useful in dermatological care. A study showed that Alligator pepper had been used in traditional medicine to treat viral infections like chickenpox, measles, and smallpox that cause skin rashes.

7.Reduces blood sugar

Alligator pepper may be helpful for people who have diabetes. This is one of the health benefits you may get from consuming alligator pepper.

According to a 2011 research that studied the effect of alligator pepper on blood sugar levels of male rats induced with diabetes, blood glucose levels were reduced significantly in the groups that received alligator pepper leave extracts

8.Serves as a pain reliever

A study suggests that the aqueous seed extracts of Alligator pepper have peripheral analgesic activity. Analgesics are drugs that serve as painkillers.

Since studies indicate that alligator pepper has an analgesic property, it may work well to alleviate the pain caused by injuries, headaches, or other health conditions. They can also relieve joint pain and pains due to health conditions like arthritis.

9.Anti-inflammatory properties

Inflammation is not entirely bad - it is the body's natural way of healing and fighting off infection. However, when it becomes long-lasting (chronic), it can turn into a silent killer that contributes to a long list of disorders, such as internal scarring, diabetes, cancer, asthma, and atherosclerosis.

Over the years, people have used different plants to treat or prevent chronic inflammation. One such plant is alligator pepper.

Alligator pepper contains gingerol, a phenolic compound also found in ginger.7 Studies indicate that gingerol has antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects.8

10.Promotes strong digestive functions

Some people who have used alligator pepper claim that it helps in the easy digestion of food and prevents bloating. While this may work for some people, it may not work for everybody. Also, more studies need to be carried out in this area.

If you have diabetes, read about some healthy Nigerian foods that are great for people with diabetes.

Uses of alligator pepper

Alligator pepper has different uses and functions. Its uses vary widely depending on culture and location.

Some of the common uses of alligator pepper include:

  1. Alligator pepper is used in traditional medicine to heal certain diseases like diarrhea and stomach ache.
  2. It is used as a flavor in some local dishes.
  3. It is used traditionally in Igbo land for naming ceremonies. They use it in saying prayers for the newborn baby.
  4. In Igbo land, it is also used to welcome visitors.
  5. It is mixed with kola nuts during prayers and libations.
  6. It is commonly used in Asia to treat snake bites.
  7. The Yorubas in the western part of NIgeria put a small amount of alligator pepper on the tongue of their newborn babies. They use it as a way of welcoming the baby to the world.

Wrap up

Alligator pepper has different uses and health benefits. While there are different reports on the uses and health benefits of alligator pepper, you should know that not all are scientifically proven. Also, some of the reported health benefits need further research to confirm both effectiveness, safety, and efficacy of use.

It is also important to note that alligator pepper should be consumed because of its nutritional constituents, not as a treatment option for any health condition. It should not be taken in place of medication. If you feel sick or have been diagnosed with any medical condition, you should speak with your doctor about the right treatment plan.

Also, it is best for pregnant people and nursing mothers to seek dietary advice from their healthcare providers before consuming alligator pepper, particularly in large amounts.

Do you know some foods can help heal and alleviate ulcer symptoms? Read about some Nigerian foods that are good for stomach ulcer patients.