African nutmeg is a deciduous tree with a huge, lush crown; it can grow from 10 – 35 metres tall. The bole can be up to 2 metres in diameter. The tree is particularly valued for its aromatic seed, which is used as a condiment, medicinally, and also to make rosaries and necklaces. Usually harvested from the wild, the seeds are often sold in local markets in W. Africa. The tree is also occasionally cultivated for its seeds on the Antilles and in Indonesia. A very ornamental tree with its attractive leaves and orchid-like, conspicuous and scented flowers.’
The aromatic seeds are ground into a powder then used as a condiment in food, providing a flavour resembling that of nutmeg. The seeds are embedded in a white sweet-smelling pulp of a fruit that can be 20cm long by 15cm in diameter.
The aromatic seeds are antiemetic, aperient, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. They are used as a stimulating addition to medicines. Ground to a powder they may be taken to treat digestive problems and relieve constipation. Applied externally in the form of a powder, or made up into an oily pomade, the seed can be applied to sores, especially those caused by the guinea-worm. It is also applied to rid the body of fleas and lice.The seeds are chewed up and applied to the forehead to relieve headaches and migraine
Black pepper consists of the dried matured fruits of Piper guineense. A twisted, perennial vine that grows up to 12m high on trees. The plant is a popular spice in Africa, where it is often harvested from the wild, semi-cultivated and sometimes also cultivated for use both as a spice and also as a medicine. The fruits and leaves are used fresh and dried as components of medicinal preparations. The roots are chewed and the juice swallowed as an aphrodisiac
Ginger consists of scraped or unscraped rhizomes of Zingiber officinale. An herbaceous perennial with fleshy creeping rhizome and leafy stem, leaves distichous and subsessile on the sheaths. The root is rich in volatile oils, gingerols and shogaols. The shogaols are only produced when the root is dried, as a breakdown substance of the gingerols. In vitro studies have shown that many constituents of ginger have antiinflammatory properties (Grzanna et al, 2005; Srivastava and Mustafa, 1989);