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Traditional soups in Nigeria: A review of six botanicals

I.T. Gbadamosi
A.O. Kalejaye


Ethnobotanical investigations by workers have revealed the use of juvenile leaves of Cissus populnea L. (ogbolo), Sesamum indicum L. (eeku),
Gongronema latifolium Benth. (Madunmaro), Mangifera indica L. (Mongoro), Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. (Odunkun) and Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. (Araba) for preparing soups in Nigeria. In spite of this, the consumption of these traditional soups seems to be abandoned and only consumed during scarcity of commonly used vegetables such as Corchorus olitorius L. (Ewedu). Certain traditional soups are associated with particular Nigerian ethnic groups. As examples, Gongronema latifolium to Igbo people of southeast Nigeria, while Sesamum indicum to the Yorubas and Hausas, southwest and northern Nigeria respectively. For ethnomedicinal purposes Cissus populnea and Sesamum indicum soups enhance sexual performance in men as well as production and cleansing of sperm. Mangifera indica soup is used as anti-anaemic; Gongronema latifolium soup forms part of a recipe for the management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Ceiba pentandra soup is used for treating diarrhoea disorder. Despite the therapeutic and nutritional benefits of the soups, their consumption is gradually waning due to erosion of traditionalĀ  knowledge and deforestation of medicinal plants occasioned by increasing urbanization. This review documents the therapeutic uses and pharmacological effects of six medicinal plants used as traditional soups, with the view that an awareness of their health benefits could lead to a resurgence of their consumption in diet.