Waterleaf, (Talinum triangulare), is one of those underrated and undervalued plants in Nigeria. Some even regard waterleaf as a nuisance, a stubborn weed that grows all year, though it flourished more during the rainy season. Like the grasses in the fields, we match over them, urinate over them, and uproot them from our gardens, in preference to other plants which we consider more important. However, the more we weed them out, the more they grow again, as if in defiance. If you are one of those who cares for your health, who are not satisfied with just being alive but being well, then you should read this write-up carefully.
I make bold to say that waterleaf is of the most valuable healing herbs in nature’s pharmacy. As is usually the case, the best and most useful things in life, are cheap, available and accessible. Name them: air, sunshine, sleep and good vegetation. Because they are cheap and readily available, we tend to take them for granted. As I have said on many occasions and will continue to say, if only to drive home the point, money is not the most critical factor in preventive healthcare. Most people think that rich people are healthy because they are rich. Money may help you to get better treatment when you fall sick, but it won’t prevent you from falling sick. To avoid falling sick, you need knowledge: knowledge of what to eat and not to eat; knowledge of the right combination of food and fruits.
Moreover, the best food and fruits are easily grown and available. The unhealthy food is, in fact, more expensive and more difficult to find. What I mean by having the right knowledge of what to eat is that even though fruits are good, not all fruits are good for everybody. Even though herbs are good, not all herbs are good for everybody. You must find out the right food and fruits for yourself.
Like most succulent plants, waterleaf leaves and stems (especially young ones) are easy to crush. It is also very sensitive to cold conditions, and its roots will rot when water is logging the soil. This tenderness often makes it appear growing wild as an annual plant. It thrives in humid conditions, in rich compost or acidic well-drained soil under partial shade. However, it can also grow under direct sunshine and fully exposed places, on pore sandy soils and in areas on elevations. Waterleaf can stand scorching sun, excessive heat and drought. It can be easily be propagated from seeds and cuttings and is ready to be harvested in less than two months. It spreads so easily from seed and in some places is classified as an agricultural weed.
Waterleaf is called Gbure in Yoruba, Ebe-dondon in Edo, and in English is nicknamed Philippine spinach, sweetheart, flame flower Florida spinach etc. The leaves are excellent for diarrhoea, liver enlargement, and hepatitis. It is an excellent immune booster to those who often feel weak and tired, and those prone to frequent attacks of malaria. In many scientific studies and trails, waterleaf showed that it could inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells and shrink tumours. Other studies have been focused on its cerebral-protective potential, and it indicates that consumption of waterleaf enhances brain activities and protect brain tissues. Waterleaf is also a good remedy for insomnia (sleeping disorder).
Waterleaf contains more proteins than cashew nuts, more pectin (a food fibre that helps digestion) than apples, and have a high level of vitamin B, essential amino acids, omega3-fatty acids, resins, iron, calcium, copper, lead, manganese and zinc. It is also a rich source of carotenoids, vitamin C, A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, alpha and beta tocopherols.
The pounded waterleaf is applied to soothe inflammations. An infusion of the leaves is taken as a diuretic. For prostate enlargement, the roots are boiled. The dosage is half a glass twice daily. Waterleaf is good and safe for pregnant women and growing children, as it boosts their blood levels. Eating waterleaf regularly as soup helps to regulate hypertension and diabetes.
While waterleaf is very beneficial when it is taken as a vegetable, dried herbs and infusion. However, juicing is the way to go if you want the best out of waterleaf. What is juicing? Juicing is a process whereby you extract vitamins, minerals and liquids from fruits and vegetables. This is usually done with an electric blender or juice extractor. There are lots of such blenders in the market but ask advice from a knowledgeable technician about the right blender for your need.
To juice waterleaf, simply chop waterleaf, both stem and leaves, into pieces, in the same way as you do if you want to cook it. Then put two or three handfuls in the blender and add one litre of water. Blend in the same way as you blend your tomato or fruit. Sieve out the chaff, and you will be left with a dark green liquid, packed with vitamins and minerals. Ensure you drink and finish the whole drink within 10 minutes. This is one big mistake many people make. They blend fruits and vegetables and then store them in the freezer for days. If you do that, you have already lost 60% of the active ingredients in the juice. So, if you want to get a 100% benefit from your waterleaf juice, drink it within 10 minutes.
Do you feel tired and weak every time? Are you battling with diabetes, hypertension and arthritis? Are you prone to frequent bouts of malaria? Have you been diagnosed with cancer or you want to prevent it? Do you want glowing and youthful skin? I strongly recommend you take waterleaf juice twice a week. A trial will convince you.
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