Health benefits of alligator pepper

Alligator pepper doesn't taste good when you take it raw. But, if you can consume it, alligator pepper sure has many health benefits, which your body will thank you for.

Healthy black family preparing meal with alligator pepper

Key takeaways:

  • Health benefits of alligator pepper include antimicrobial properties, helpful in treating wounds, pain relief benefits, and reducing inflammation.
  • Alligator pepper may not be safe for pregnant or lactating mothers and should not be taken in place of medication.
  • Despite the touted health benefits of alligator, it is always best to check in with a doctor before taking alligator pepper, especially for therapeutic purposes, to be sure it is safe for you.

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 for its numerous uses and health benefits. 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.

10 health benefits of alligator

The health benefits of alligator pepper include:

1.High antioxidant properties

One of the greatest health benefits of alligator pepper is its 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 (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. This is an important health benefit of alligator pepper.

Some people prefer to chew alligator pepper hot and spicy to help with gastrointestinal problems. Consuming the seed may also help treat bloating, constipation, ulcer, and intestinal worms.

4.Antimicrobial properties

Another important health benefit of alligator pepper is that it has antibacterial and 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. Scientists found that it stopped bacteria like Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Staphylococcus aureus from growing.

5.Helps improve sexual function

Alligator pepper has been used in traditional medicine to improve sexual function. Some people take it for increased libido. This is one of the known possible alligator pepper health benefits.

However, more studies need to be carried out to ascertain how it acts to improve sexual function.

6.Remedy for skin diseases

One important health benefit of alligator pepper worth mentioning is that it 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

You may reap the health benefits of alligator pepper if you have been diagnosed with diabetes as the plant 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

One of the health benefits of alligator pepper is that it helps relieve pain for some people. A study suggests that the aqueous seed extracts of alligator pepper have peripheral analgesic activity. Analgesics are drugs that serve as painkillers.

Studies show that alligator pepper has a property that makes it work as an analgesic. This means that it may help relieve pain from injuries, headaches, or other health problems. They can also relieve joint pain and pain 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 the alligator pepper. One of the health benefits of alligator pepper that has made people continue to consume the plant is its anti-inflammatory properties.

Alligator peppers contain 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. This is one of the possible alligator pepper health benefits.

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.