Telfairia Occidentalis; Pumpkin leaf

Telfairia Occidentalis known as Ugwu/Ugu in Ibo. It is a leaf vegetable that is known for its high vitamin and mineral content. The interesting thing about it is that it grows in abundance and thrives once the rainy season arrives.

Ugwu is Nigeria’s super vegetable which has been used to combat malnutrition and fight various diseases. It is one of the greenest vegetables in Nigeria. Due to its medium texture, it should not be overcooked. So, when you add it to your cooking stir and the pot off the fire immediately. If the vegetable is overcooked it becomes dull and unappetizing. Ugwu is a choice vegetable for a range of Nigerian dishes because of its mild taste e.g. egusi soup, ogbono soup, yam, and vegetables, etc. You could also steam your Ugwu on its own to get steamed vegetables that can be used as a garnish for other dishes like the Nigerian jollof rice.

Ugwu is a climbing plant and its best planted in the garden during the rainy season. If you plant ugwu in the dry season, you will have to water it often because it needs a lot of moisture for it to flourish. Ugwu is preferably planted in the garden and not on the farm. This is because the ones planted in the farms do not look as fresh and healthy as the ones planted in the gardens.

Benefit of Ugwu

Ugwu (pumpkin leaf) does carry out a lot of health benefits that are unknown to most people. It is rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and iron; also rich in antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fibers, and proteins.

Like we said earlier Ugwu has a lot of health benefits and we would list a few of them, so don’t stop reading…

Pumpkin leaves (Ugwu) help to fight cancer due to the presence of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties. The presence of flavonoids, tannis, saponins, and phenolic properties which possess chemo-suppressive properties which makes it possible for it to prevent cancer growth. They also help to reduce sugar levels in the blood because of their hypoglycemic index that does keep diabetes under control.

Pumpkin leaves help to boost the immune system because of the presence of vitamins and minerals in them. It has a high fiber content which is used to ease constipation.

These are just a few of the health benefits one can get from consuming pumpkin leaves. One last thing, learn how to cook your vegetable so as not to lose some of its nutrients.

Never stop eating Ugwu.