Waterleaf (Talinum triangulare) an edible leafy vegetable that belongs to the Portulacea family is one of those underrated and undervalued plants in Nigeria. It is considered by some people as a nuisance, while others think it is stubborn weed that grows all year, especially during the rainy season. Like grasses in the fields, we match on it, piss on it m and uproot it from our gardens in preference to other plants which we consider more important. But the more we weed this Waterleaf, the more it grows, as if in defiance. But o unknown to many of us, Waterleaf is a life-saving leafy vegetable that works wonders and makes us healthy.

Waterleaf is a leafy vegetable that originates from the West Africa sub-region, but is now found in other parts of the world, such as Asia and South America. It is is a herbaceous perennial plant that has its stem above ground. The seed sprouts as a tiny, aqua-coloured plant before growing into a more conspicuous plant with larger leaves. As the name suggests, this green leafy vegetable is referred to as waterleaf due to its high moisture contents of approximately 90.8gm.per 100 gm of the leaf. The leaf is sticky when cut and this is attributed to its high pectin content that supplies the dietary fibre.

Waterleaf is one of the most valuable healing herbs in nature’s pharmacy. As is usually the case, the best and most valuable things are available, accessible and cheap. Name them: air, sunshine, sleep and good vegetation. Because they are cheap and available, we tend to take them for granted. But, if only to drive home the point, money is not the most important factor in preventive healthcare. Most people think that rich people are healthy because they are rich. Money may help you to get better treatment when you are il ill or fall sick, but it won’t prevent you from falling sick.

Therefore, to prevent falling sick and remain healthy most of the time, you need knowledge: knowledge of what to eat and not to eat; knowledge of the right combination of food and fruits. And the best food and fruits are easily grown and available. The harmful food is more expensive and more difficult to find. What this means is that by having the right knowledge of what to eat is that even though fruits are good, not all fruits are good for everybody. Even though herbs are good, not all herbs are good for everybody. You must find out the right food and fruits that are good for your.

Like most succulent plants, waterleaf leaves and stems, especially young ones, are easy to crush. It is also very sensitive to cold conditions and its roots will rot when water is logging the soil. This tenderness often makes it to appear growing wild as a yearly plant. It thrives in humid conditions, in rich compost or acidic well-drained soil under partial shade. But it can also grow under direct sunshine and fully exposed places, on pore sandy soils and in places on elevations. Waterleaf can stand scorching sun, excessive heat and draught. It can be easily propagated from seeds and cuttings, and is ready to be harvested in less than two months. It spreads so easily from seed and in some places it is classified as agricultural weed.

Waterleaf is called Gbure in Yoruba, Ebe-dondon in Edo, Mgbolodi in Igbo and in English is nicknamed Philippine spinach, sweetheart, flame flower, Florida spinach etc.  The leaves are

excellent for diarrhea, liver enlargement, and hepatitis. It is an excellent immune booster to those who often feel weak and tired, and those prone to frequent attacks of malaria. In many scientific studies and trials, waterleaf showed that it can inhibit proliferation of cancerous cells and shrink tumors. Other studies have been focused on its cerebral-protective potential and it indicates that consumption of waterleaf enhances brain activities and protects brain tissues. Waterleaf is also a good remedy for insomnia (sleeping disorder).

Water leaf contains more proteins than cashew nuts, more pectin (a food fibre that helps digestion) than apples, and also has high level of vitamin B, essential amino acids, omega 3-fatty acids, resins, iron, calcium, copper, lead, manganese and zinc. It is also a rich source of carotenoids, vitamin C, A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, alpha and beta tocopherols. Proper food digestion is essential for preventing gastrointestinal disorders such as indigestion, constipation, flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Do you feel tired and weak every time on bed? Are you battling with diabetes, hypertension and arthritis? Are you prone to frequent bouts of malaria? you want to prevent cancer ? You want a glowing and youthful skin? It is strongly recommend you take waterleaf juice twice a week.   A trial will convince you.  In addition, waterleaf is one of the best medicines against MEASLES in children. Pound a handful and add warm water. Strain and use as enema (pump) every morning for about one week.Pounded water leaf is applied to soothe inflammations. An infusion of the leaves is taken as a diuretic. For prostate enlargement, the roots are boiled. The dosage is half a glass twice daily. Water leaf is good and safe for pregnant women and growing children, as it boosts their blood levels. Eating water leaf regularly as soup helps to regulate hypertension and diabetes.While water leaf is very beneficial when taken as vegetable, dried herbs and infusion juicing is the way to go if you want the best out of water leaf.  What is juicing? Juicing is a process whereby you extract vitamins, minerals and liquids from fruits and vegetables.To make water leaf juice, simply chop water leaf, both stem and leaves, into pieces, in the same way as you do if you want to cook it. Then put two or three handfuls in  the blender and add one liter of water.  Blend in same way as you blend your tomato or fruit. Sieve out the chaff and you will be left with a dark green liquid, packed with vitamins and minerals. Ensure you drink and finish the whole drink within 10 minutes do not store in the freezer because if you do, you have already lost 60% of the active ingredients in the juice.

So if you want to get a 100% benefit from your waterleaf juice, drink it within 10 minutes.

Also Read: Anambra State Ventures into Cattle Rearing Business: The “Efi-Igbo” Phenomenon

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