Do you know that locust beans is a food species whose importance is recognized both regionally and internationally? In some societies on the African continent it is not an ordinary food item but a therapeutic food and a source of income.
Locust bean, commonly referred to as iru by Yorubas, ‘ogiri’, ‘dawa dawa’ by Igbos, is a local seasoning or condiment used in soups and stews. A very popular soup ingredient, globally, it is referred to as African locust bean with the botanical name as Parkia biglobosa. It is not easy to look at, and the smell is unpleasant – at best. These aside, Locust Bean is the single, most significant ingredient guaranteed to take your soups, stews or mixed vegetables from just okay to great.
It can be found in a wide range of environments in Africa and is primarily grown for its pods that contain both a sweet pulp and valuable seeds. The most valuable parts of the locust bean are high in lipid (29%), protein (35%), carbohydrate (16%), and is a good source of fat and calcium for rural dwellers. Locust bean product should be converted into powdery form and packaged into various sizes in plastics for easy distribution.
Local research has shown that locust bean helps to promote good sight and drives away hypertension and diseases conditions like stroke and diabetes. It also contains tannins, astringent substances found in many plants. Foods rich in tannins are often recommended for treatment of diarrhoea. The portion of carob that is made into locust bean gum contains soluble fibre in the galactomannan family. Like other forms of soluble fibre, it has shown potential benefit for enhancing weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels.
The African locust bean tree has also been found to possess wonders. For instance, the pulverised bark of the tree is employed in wound healing and serves as one of the ingredients used in treating leprosy. The decoction of the bark is also used as bath for fever and as a hot mouth wash to steam and relieve toothache in Cote d’Ivoire.
In another result published in Science Journal based in Dakar, Senegal, researchers tried out locust beans on rats to find out whether it actually has any impact on controlling blood pressure and the result obtained showed that adequate doses of locust beans helped to decrease arterial blood pressure.
The findings showed that the diastolic blood pressure measurement enjoyed more reduction than even the systolic blood pressure. It also revealed the many wonders of African locust bean tree. The pulverised bark of African locust bean tree, for instance, is employed in wound healing and serves as one of the ingredients that are used in treating leprosy.
Locust beans is added to everything – not only because it tastes good and can serve as a tastier alternative to other spices cubes, but also due to its health benefits among which are vision improvement, digestion aid and much more.