Some people try to argue when they hear the statements like “food is your medicine”, “eat your food as your medicine and your medicine as your food”, among others. They have skewed mindsets as to what the definition of medicine is as strongholds in their minds.

Medicine as a drug is defined as any substance or preparation that is used to treat or prevent diseases. It has been proven via research countless number of times that most of our local plants hold the recipes to the formulation of countless drugs in the orthodox medicine practice.

We usually fail to understand that the domestic vegetables, the leaves, grass, seeds and flowers that all cultures (from Africa across to Asia) cook with are also part of plant life that have very active phytochemicals that perform specific functions in adding to the good health of the body.

In our beloved Africa, especially in Ghana, we employ the use of sorghum bicolor leaves in various dishes and delicacies. Zooming in to a common culture of using this leaves in the preparation of a kind of rice dish very popular among Ghanaians is waakye. Apart from having the base ingredients of rice and beans in the same pot, the mixture will not be complete if the water to bring this mixture to boil isn’t infused with the leaves of sorghum bicolor.

Also known as Massambala leaves, Waakye leaves or Broomcorn, sorghum leaves do more than giving waakye its beautiful characteristic wine to brown color. It houses a host of health benefits to the consumer’s body alike – ranging from benefiting the cardiovascular system to the nervous system and many more.

From the poaceae family (which can be translated as the grass family), sorghum leaves contain high nutritional value. It contains vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium in very significant quantities and proportions. It contains a total of 339 kcal of energy, 6.3g of fiber, 3.3g of fat, 74.3g of carbohydrate, 11.3g of protein, 65mg of omega-3 fatty acids as well as zero amount of cholesterol.

Firstly, the inclusion of sorghum leaves in diets have been known to boost heart health, preventing conditions like heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis. The omega-3 fatty acids in there helps enrich the heart and blood vessels for maximum functioning.

In addition, the presence of fiber in there help ensure the proper digestion of food, preventing stomach cramps, bloating, stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea as well. It in turn helps reduce Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL – bad cholesterol) in the body.

Sorghum leaves helps in the reduction of starch absorption into the body thereby regulating glucose levels in the body, which in turn maintains healthy blood sugar levels. It serves as a good meal inclusion for persons with diabetes.

Furthermore, the calcium and magnesium contained in these leaves help boost bone health. As magnesium helps with the absorption of calcium into the body, the two minerals helps in the formation of bone tissues and development, which accelerates damaged, or aging bones healing. It helps prevent conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis.

Broomcorn has an intrinsic natural boosting energy ability. The vitamin B3 or Niacin found in them boost energy levels by converting food into usable energy forms.

Again, waakye leaves, as affectionately called in Ghana has blood boosting abilities. Because of the presence of iron and copper in there, the blood formation properties of this herb is not to be underrated. Copper helps the absorption of iron, and sufficient iron in the body helps erythropoiesis (process of producing blood boosting cells called erythrocytes). This helps to decrease the risk of anemia in the body.

Lastly, sorghum leaves helps boost brain function. Phosphorus, as found in adequate quantities in waakye leaves ensures proper brain function. It improves memory and cognition abilities and helps prevent conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  

After reading to this point, you would bear witness with me that including this leaves in a diet in any form is equivalent to taking medicine for the prevention or treatment of a host of illnesses from blood related, heart and vessels related to bone related and many more.

The next time you are drinking a sorghum bicolor leaves tea or taking waakye or any other food that contains these leaves, know and accept that you are taking something very healthy and bask and smile in happiness and in health.

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