Scent leaves, or African Basil leaves, are a popular medicinal/culinary leaf. It is known as efinrin in Yoruba, nchanwu in Igbo, and daidoya in Hausa. It is under the family of Lamiaceae, with Ocimum gratissimum as the botanical name.
It is widely known for its aromatic feature, hence the term ‘scent’. It is a perennial homegrown shrub that can also be grown in the wild.
Scent leaf is a vegetable spice that records an outstanding appearance within every meal. Due to its unique taste and high concentration of essential minerals, the sweet-smelling African leaf has become much obtainable around homes.
The whole plant and essential oils extracted through steam distillation have many applications in traditional medicine, mainly in Africa and India.
- Vitamin A
Uses and Benefits of Scent Leaves in Pregnancy
It serves various purposes, from acting as a cure for illnesses, given its medicinal components, to being used as a natural flavour for various delicacies.
Scent leaf exhibits its uses in preparing soups like egusi and okra, stews, and pepper soups. It equally serves as an exciting ingredient for steaming meats. For later use, scent leaves can be dried and preserved.
Aside from the peculiarity of its spiciness in dishes, African basil leaf embodies so many other health benefits. These benefits include and are not limited to the following:
- An immune booster: Scent leaf boosts the immune system due to its richness in substances that greatly benefit the body.
- A potent stimulant for milk production: For lactating mothers, this medicinal leaf is a good source for breast milk production.
- Aids Digestion: When brewed as tea or added to food as vegetables, scent leaf helps control bowel movement, prevent bloating, and aid digestion. It can equally be used to treat external haemorrhoids (piles).
- Relief of respiratory disorders and Fever: When used to prepare soups like pepper soup, the leaves help combat nasal congestion by clearing the obstructed airways. The leaves can also be rubbed between the palms and sniffed.
It is equally known for its potency in curing malaria. The juice extracted from the leaf after it has been washed and squeezed can be consumed to barricade against fever.
- A good source of Arginine: Scent leaf contains arginine, an amino acid notable for its contribution towards protein enhancement in the body. Arginine also aids reproductive health and kills the fungus that causes unwholesome vaginal discharge in women.
- Reduces glucose level: Scent leaf also has the fantastic benefit of causing a reduction in the sugar level.
- Improves the function of the heart: The adequate intake of scent leaves can help in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease, this is because it contains calcium and magnesium, which helps to increase blood circulation.
Scent Leaves in Pregnancy: Safe or Unsafe?
So many speculations have been made about consuming scent leaves as an expectant mother. While some say it is liable to cause a miscarriage, others say it damages the uterus.
There is no scientific nor medical proof that it contributes to abortion. This may have risen due to the leaf's content that causes the uterine walls to contract during menstruation.
It does not endanger your baby's life, as it is also notable for its positive effect on estrogen hormone production due to its content in boron. From the benefits above, scent leaf isn’t harmful.
It goes beyond just giving your dishes a sweet aroma. The medicinal constituents override every other thing. So, if you are worried about your and your baby's safety, there is no cause for alarm.
What should be of concern is the allergic reactions. When one falls pregnant, the olfactory sense increases, so there may be chances that the strong smell of the scent may appear overwhelming or nauseating.
If you experience any allergic reaction concerning its intake, keep it off.
However, as much as scent leaf is excellent for health, it is advisable to take it in moderation. Excessive intake can lead to congenital disabilities, given its Vitamin A content.
Also, because it is highly concentrated, scent leaves essential oils should be boycotted. Don’t forget to tender your concerns to your medical practitioner. Remember to stay PreggySafe!