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The healing power of okra

  1. Okra is a finger-shaped, green fruit that we eat as a vegetable. The okra plant is a tropical crop and is not grown in the Netherlands, not even in greenhouse horticulture. Okra is a tasty vegetable that you can use in many ways. You can boil it, stir-fry it and use it as a base for a soup or ragout. Okra also has healing power for a large number of diseases.


  1. Naming General information Traditional medicine Okra seed against diabetes Fun facts about okra Good for learning ability and memory Good for gastritis Against breast cancer Okra root, good for the liver


  1. The Latin name of okra is Abelmoschus esculentus. In Arabic, the okra plant is called "abu-l-mosk". That means 'musk father'. The plant received this name because the seeds smell like musk. In Italian, French and Dutch the plant is also called 'gombo'. In German the plant is officially called ´okra´ and in English it is used as ´ocra´, although the plant is also known under the name ´lady's finger´. Arabs use the name 'bamya'.

General information

  1. Okra is native to Ethiopia, at least that's what most scientists think. In the 12th century BC the plant was cultivated in ancient Egypt to serve as a vegetable. The fruits of the plant do not taste sweet, are cooked and we call them a vegetable. The seeds of the okra fruit are also edible and have medicinal qualities. The seeds are roasted in Arab countries to be used as a coffee substitute. In the Netherlands Antilles, a traditional soup is made from okra called 'jambo'.

Traditional Medicine

  1. In the traditional medicine of Brazil, India, Thailand, Turkey, Pakistan, Nigeria and many other countries, okra is used as a medicinal plant. It helps with cancer, microbial infections, hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus, gastritis, constipation, urinary retention and inflammation. Okra has been scientifically proven to work in most of these conditions.

Okra seed against diabetes

  1. In Turkey people drink a folk medicine infusion or tea of ​​okra seeds to treat diabetes. In 2013, a Thai scientific research team published the fact that okra seed has medicinal properties for people suffering from insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes mellitus. Okra seed can stimulate the enzyme alpha-glucosidase. This means that sugars are burned more efficiently. Isoquercetin and diglucoside are responsible for this. Quercetin is an important component in okra and alpha-glucosidase converts quercetin without producing sugars. In 2011, an Indian study was published that showed that rats with diabetes that were given okra seed powder had less tendency to create fat layers and that blood values ​​were better than rats that did not receive the drug. In the Indian study, in addition to the seed powder, powder was also made from the skin of the okra, which also offers anti-diabetic qualities. In 2012, an Indian research team published research results showing that the peel and seed of okra has antioxidant properties. The 100 million diabetics in the world are all more likely to develop diseases of the heart, kidneys and eyes. Taking advantage of the antioxidant quality of okra will reduce these diseases; in this way, for example, diabetic retinopathy can be reduced. The antioxidant effect had already been established several times in test tubes, but during this study it was demonstrated on rats, living beings.

Fun facts about okra

  1. Due to its long fibers, the okra plant can be used well for the production of rope and paper.

Good for learning ability and memory

  1. A Thai scientific study published in October 2013 showed that okra-based extracts improve memory and learning. Nerve cells that are damaged are repaired by okra extracts. The researchers used not only okra extract but also extracts of rutin and quercetin. Rutin and quercetin are both originally found in okra. These three treatment methods appear to be mutually beneficial. A substance was administered to mice to reduce the number of cells in the hippocampus. After administration of the medicinal extracts, it appeared that the neurons increased in number again. This increased the mice's cognitive abilities.

Good for gastritis

  1. German research at the University of Münster, which was completed in 2014, shows that the heliobacter pylori bacteria is less likely to adhere to the stomach wall when one eats okra. The researchers have thus confirmed an Asian and African application of folk medicine. The study did not use the vegetable itself but an extract of okra. Incidentally, it was not the ripe okra that was used, but an immature form of okra. If the Heliobacter pylori bacterium attaches itself to the stomach wall in too large a number, gastritis or inflammation of the stomach lining develops. Unripe okra can prevent this.

Against breast cancer

  1. A lot has already been written about lectins. They would be bad; some scientists even call it a poison. Lectins from okra are a poison for breast cancer cells, a Brazilian group of scientists published in 2014. Three different types of breast cancer cells were killed when they came into contact with the lectin isolated from okra.

Okra root, good for the liver

  1. Not only the fruit and seed of the okra plant offer healing power. In India, the root has been used as a liver-protecting medicine for a long time. In 2013, a study was conducted into the liver-protective effect of okra. It turns out that the root has a strong antioxidant effect. The liver shows fewer signs of inflammation when treated with okra root extract.

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