Locust Beans as a Powerful Additive
It is important to know that Locust Beans is a food ingredient whose importance is recognized in Africa. In some societies on the African continent it is not an ordinary food item but also nutritional and medicinal for people.
Locust Beans is a type of fermented and processed plant (Parkia biglobosa) used as ingredient in cooking. Many Nigerian soup and stew delicacies such as efo riro, ayamase, ewedu are prepared with iru. Locust Beans goes by many names; in the South East, it is called ogiri while the South Westerns call it iru, up North you will get dawadawa.
Locust Beans In Other Parts of the World
Locust Beans also known as carob is quite popular in West Africa and is used mostly as local seasoning for soups and stews. However, it is actually not a grain or a legume, but actually comes from a tree. It is indeed a tree indigenous to the savannah regions of Africa.
Locust bean tree can be found only in Africa, South-East Asia and Tropical South-America also have regions where parkia trees grow. In countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, the locust bean seeds are eaten raw or cooked as a vegetable known as ‘petal’.
Important Benefits of Locust Beans
Research has enabled us to know that it helps to promote good sight and reduces the odds of hypertension and diseases like stroke and diabetes.
It also contains tannins, astringent substances found in many plants which are often recommended for treatment of diarrhoea.
The result also published in a Science Journal based in Dakar, Senegal shows that adequate dose of iru helped to decrease arterial blood pressure.
More so, the crushed bark of the Locust Beans tree has also been revealed to help in wound healing and serves as one of the key ingredients used in treating leprosy.
In country like Cote d’Ivoire, the bark is also used as bath for fever and as a hot mouth wash to steam and relieve toothache.
After discovering all these amazing numerous health benefits of Locust bean, I have decided to educate people to stop picking this additive out of their meals. We are blessed with natural gift in Africa but we pay less attention to them. Knowledge is indeed power that strengthens us in life. ‘‘Locust Beans is my new favorite cooking additive ’’.
By Amisu Dauda A.