Weekly Trust

Zogale, the delicious, healthy ‘miracle plant’

Sure, we all know the delicious local salad called ‘Kwaddo’ amd maybe even the tasty soup made from Zogale leaves. But what are other exciting uses for the underestimated plant?

Nigeria, is a country blessed with different varieties of plant swhich are either edible as a source of food, medicine or have economic value. Or it could even be that they add beauty to the environment. One of such plant is the ‘zogale’ leaf. Zogale is a small-leafed plant mostly found in the northern parts of Nigeria. But this interesting plant has been relegated to the background for many years as most people are ignorant of its medicinal and nutritional benefits even if many know it is as ‘miracle plant’.

Zogale has been in use for centuries by rural dwellers as a salad-like meal or in soups until the recent discovery of its other benefits by researchers. Known as moringa oleifera this plant has the capacity to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development, support sustainable landcare, and has its economic benefits. It is also a significant source of beta-carotene, vitamins, protein, iron, and potassium.

The most amazing thing behind this miracle plant is that everything about it is useful in one way or the other ranging from its leaves to its root, said Ibrahim Musa Giginyu.  Then according to Mohammad Gombe, an analysis made by herbal home remedies shows that Zogale contains 7 times the vitamin c in oranges, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein in milk, and 3 times the potassium in bananas.

 Apart from the above-mentioned nutritional values, Zogale helps in boosting immunity levels especially of those living with HIV/AIDS. It also is used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, among others.

 According to Dr. Nworah. A . Ozumba, “a leaf of [Zogale] has the potential to cure so many diseases all scientifically proven, the leaves alone can cure diabetes, malaria, and malnutrition.”

Aside its medicinal benefits, Zogale also has economic values. Edible oil can be extracted from the seeds because it yields 38-40 percent of non-drying oil known as Ben Oil, used for arts, manufacturing, hairdressing and lubricating delicate machinery, Gombe said.

According to another source, the Head of Agricultural Department of Bichi Local Government area, Abdu Balarabe, who is the initiator of a 17-acre agricultural programme where more than 15,000 zogale seedlings were planted, “research has shown that the leftover of the seed after extraction can be used in making fertilizer, and the dried seeds of the plant is used for the treatment of water.”

Another useful part of the plant is its roots, which when shredded can be used as a condiment used to flavour food, while its sap could be used as a blue dye. Zogale leaves can be used in different ways, making soup whether dried or fresh. Its ground dried leaves can be given to infants in any cereal to help them through teething.

Dr. Ozumba added: “If this plant is properly utilized, it is going to yield a lot for this country, as well as the farmers. It can also be a product of export if government can put their interest and resources in it.”  


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