Yoruba Herbs and Their Benefits


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Herbs are savory or aromatic plants used for their medicinal purposes, as food spices, and also in fragrances.  The leaves, roots, stems, and even seeds of these plants have a variety of culinary and health benefits. Before the advent of pharmaceutical medicines, the people of Nigeria used herbal preparations to cure diseases and remain healthy. They have spent centuries perfecting recipes for treating various diseases and conditions with these Yoruba herbs, such as maca root, parsley, aloe vera, buckbean herb, African basil, cayenne pepper, and others, which are known for their health benefits.

Nigerians have traditionally used these plants because they are safe, environmentally friendly, easily accessible, inexpensive, and curative compared to many of the substandard orthodox medicines available around the world.

Some Common Yoruba Herbs With Their Benefits

Herbal medicine is still widely used in this modern age. A variety of herbal plants are used for their health benefits for a wide range of symptoms and diseases. In this article, we have mentioned some common Yoruba herbs, their English names, and their health benefits.

1.Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known by many names. For example, the Yoruba name for aloe vera is Eti Erin and its botanical name is Aloe barbadensis miller. Sone of its English names is Barbados Aloe, True Aloe, Indian Aloe, Chinese Aloe, and First Aid Plant. It is one of the most common Yoruba herbs known for its health benefits which include the following:

  • It is used to treat skin infections and skin allergies, because of its anti-inflammatory effects. Due to this reason, it is a common ingredient in skin care products to prevent various skin infections and other skin-related diseases.
  • The gel from aloe vera leaf can be used to treat sunburns.
  • Constipation can also be treated by the juice from its leaf. It aids in digestion and increases the water content in the intestine. According to research, increased intestinal water content has been linked to the stimulation of peristalsis, which lets you move stool normally.
  • It contains antioxidants such as vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, and vitamin E. Vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline are also abundant in it. These antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals.
  • It is applied to wounds and burns to help them heal faster.
  • It may also help in the removal of intestinal worms.
  • Aloe Vera can also be used for detoxification and to improve liver function.

2.Mint Leaf

Mint Leaf

Mint Leaf is known as ewe mini in the Yoruba language. Its botanical name is mentha. Mint leaves are well-known for their ability to provide a cooling sensation. They can be added to a number of dishes, both in dried and fresh forms. Mint is a common Yoruba herb used in a variety of foods and drinks from teas and alcoholic beverages to salads, sauces, and desserts. This plant offers many health benefits. According to studies, several of the health benefits of mint can be obtained by applying it to the skin, inhaling its scent, or consuming it as a capsule.

  • Mint leaf is particularly high in vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for eye health and night vision.
  • The essential oil of mint leaf is one of the ingredients in herbal toothpaste.
  • Research has shown that applying mint to the skin helps alleviates the pain associated with breastfeeding.
  • Dried mint leaves can be used as an air freshener when combined with baking soda. It can also be used in aromatherapy because of its calming and soothing effect.
  • Since mint leaves contain germicidal properties, chewing on them will help freshen your breath quickly. 
  • Mint leaves aid in weight loss by promoting digestion and increasing metabolism. Mint tea is a refreshing, calorie-free beverage that can help you lose weight.
  • Mint leaves also help to improve liver function.

3.Scent Leaf

Scent Leaf

The Yoruba name of scent leaf is efinrin. Its botanical name is Ocimum gratissimum. The Scent leaf is an aromatic Yoruba herb that has spread widely across the world’s tropical and subtropical regions. This plant is a perennial homegrown shrub that can also be found in the wild and is primarily used as a spice for cooking delicacies due to its aromatic flavor. This Yoruba herb has antibacterial, antifungal, larvicidal, and antipyretic properties, making it useful in the treatment and prevention of infections and diseases. Some of its amazing health benefits are as follows:

  • Scent leaf contains a high amount of Vitamin A, which helps to maintain good vision.
  • Scent leaves are rich in calcium and magnesium, both of which help to lower bad cholesterol and improve blood circulation.
  • Scent leaves have an amazing ability to lower blood sugar and protect insulin-producing pancreatic islets from damage.
  • Scent leaves can help alleviate bloating and ensure that meals are properly digested. Brewed scent leaves also help with bowel evacuation and have a soothing effect on the stomach. Heartburn may also be cured by drinking scent leaves tea.

4.Parsley Leaf

Parsley Leaf

Parsley is known by many different names, such as the name of parsley in Yoruba is effirin. The English name of parsley is African basil. Some other common English names of parsley are garden parsley, rock parsley, parsley breakstone, parsley, and petersylinge.

The two most common types of parsley are Italian flat-leaf and French curly-leaf. Parsley has long been used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, allergies, and inflammatory diseases. It’s a common Yoruba herb that’s easy to find in the South-Western region. Parsley is commonly used as a fresh culinary herb or as a dried spice nowadays. It has a bright green color and a mild, bitter taste that goes well with a variety of dishes. Parsley is often referred to as one of the most effective disease-fighting plants, and it has a high nutritional value as well as many health benefits for a wide range of symptoms and diseases, including the following:

  • According to research published in 2002, parsley is full of antioxidants and vitamins that naturally cleanse the kidneys. It has been used to treat kidney stones, gallbladder stones, bladder infections, and urinary tract infections, due to its diuretic properties.
  • Extracts squeezed from a parsley leaf is used to treat skin infections and skin allergies such as ringworms.
  • Parsley leaf may also be used to treat sexually transmitted diseases such as vaginitis and gonorrhea.
  • Vitamin K is abundant in parsley leaf, making it an essential nutrient for bone health. It has been shown that eating foods rich in this nutrient lowers the risk of fractures and improves bone mineral density.
  • Parsley may be used as a fresh herb or as a dried spice.  The dried flakes are added to hot dishes like soup and pasta, while the fresh herb is added to salads and dressings.


The Yoruba name of this herb is Irawo ile. Its botanical name is Mitracarpus scaber. Girdlepod is one of the most common Yoruba herbs that has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. Girdlepod has branched stems with small green leaves and small white flowers in the center. Some of its important health benefits are as highlighted below:

  • Girdlepod has antibacterial and antifungal properties that are used to treat skin infections and skin allergies such as boils, ringworms, rashes, dermatosis, and scabies.
  • Girdlepod is rich in nutrients such as potassium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. These nutrients help the body to improve its immune system and fight different infections.
  • It is also used to treat hepatitis, amenorrhea, and some sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It can be used to treat body pains and aches such as earaches, headaches, toothaches, and arthritis pain.
  • Girdlepod is rich in Vitamin A, which helps to improve eye vision.

6. Senna


Senna is known by different names, such as the Yoruba name of this herb is Ewe asunwun. The English name of this Yoruba herb is Senna. Its botanical name is Senna alexandrina. Senna is a Yoruba herb and its leaves and fruits are used to make medicine. Senna, which originated in Egypt, is now grown all over the world, including countries like Somalia and India. Senna is most often sold as a tea or an over-the-counter constipation supplement nowadays, but it’s often used in weight loss pills and beverages on occasion. Some of the health benefits of senna are given below:

  • It can be used to treat sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis, due to its antimicrobial properties. It can also be used to treat staphylococcus infections and scabies, which the people of Yoruba call “craw-craw.”
  • Due to its analgesic properties, it is used to relieve pain in the human body. This Yoruba herb has a long history of treating arthritis pain.
  • It can also be used to treat Athlete’s foot and eczema because of its antifungal properties.
  • Taking senna by mouth is useful to treat constipation in the short term.

7.Water Leaf

Water Leaf

This Yoruba herb is known by many names. Its Yoruba name is Gbure. Its botanical name is Talinum triangulare and its English name is Water Leaf. Regardless of its many names, it is nutritious, tangy, and crunchy. It is one of the most common plants among the Yoruba people. Waterleaf is one of the native plants of America and the Caribbean, but it is grown all over the world. According to some sources, waterleaf can reach a height of 5 feet and has simple pink flowers. Iron, zinc, and molybdenum are all abundant in them. Waterleaf is highly nutritious. It has many health benefits for a wide range of symptoms and diseases. Some of its amazing health benefits are as follows:

  • Waterleaf is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, which are both essential for strong and healthy bones.
  • Waterleaf can help to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body. This helps to prevent atherosclerosis, lowering the risk of heart failure and coronary artery disease.
  • The vitamin C content of waterleaf is very high. According to studies, consuming a vitamin C-rich diet lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and slows down age-related cognitive decline.
  • It’s rich in fiber and can help you to lose weight and also in lowering your calorie intake.
  • It can be used as a laxative to treat indigestion and constipation.

8.Bitter Leaf

Bitter Leaf

This Yoruba herb has several names. Its Yoruba name is ewuro. Its botanical name is Vernonia amygdalina. The English name of this Yoruba herb is Bitter leaf because of its bitter taste. This herb can reach a height of 23 feet when fully grown. It is a medicinal plant, and the fresh bitter leaf, which contains vitamins and mineral salts, is very important in human nutrition. The extract of bitter leaves has the following health benefits:

  • The bitter leaf juice contains ingredients that help you in weight loss. A daily dose of bitter leaf juice in your diet will help you get rid of bad cholesterol and also reduce extra calories in the body.
  • It also helps in the treatment of skin infections such as ringworms.
  • Bitter leaf has a number of anti-cancer properties, such as the andrographolide compound, which has been clinically proven to be effective in the treatment of prostate, gastric, and colon cancers.
  • Bitter leaf extract has also been shown in studies to improve the immune system, inhibit tumor growth, and prevent cancer cell production.
  • People with diabetes can benefit from the bitter leaf’s ability to lower blood glucose levels.



Moringa is one of the most common Yoruba herbs known for its diverse medicinal effects. This Yoruba herb is one of the fastest-growing herbs in tropical regions. It is known by different names. Its Yoruba name is Ewe Igbale and its botanical name is Moringa oleifera. Some of its common English names are drumstick tree, ben oil tree, benzolive tree, and horseradish tree.

Moringa is believed to have a wide range of health and beauty benefits, as well as the potential to help prevent and cure diseases. Some of the important medicinal effects of this herb are highlighted below:

  • Moringa helps to protect the liver against anti-tubercular drug damage and can speed up the healing process.
  • Moringa extracts have properties that can help in the prevention of cancer. It also contains niazimicin, a compound that inhibits the growth of cancerous cells.
  • It prevents the formation of kidney stones and also protects the kidney from toxins.
  • Some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis, can be treated with moringa extracts. Moringa’s antibiotic and antibacterial properties can aid in the prevention of pathogen development, and its high vitamin B content aids in digestion.
  • Moringa contains the compounds isothiocyanate and niaziminin, which help to avoid thickening of the arteries, which may increase blood pressure.

10.Tiger Nut

Tiger Nut

The Yoruba name of this herb is Ofio Omu which is also known as Omu. Its botanical name is Cyperus esculentus. Some of its common English names are Nutgrass, Chufa, Rush nut, Yellow Nutsedge, Earth nut, etc. Tiger nuts were one of Egypt’s first cultivated plants, and they were traditionally used as both food and medicine. They’re rich in a number of nutrients and have been associated with many benefits related to health and medicine, including improved digestion and a lower risk of heart disease. Several health benefits of tiger nuts are highlighted below:

  • Tiger nuts are rich in insoluble fiber, which can help you avoid constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. To prevent unpleasant gas or bloating, gradually start including them to your diet.
  • Tiger nuts are a good source of fiber and arginine, these two nutrients can help lower blood sugar. They also contain compounds that can help to reduce the amount of sugar absorbed in the gut after taking a meal rich in carbohydrates.
  • Tiger nuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats. They can improve blood circulation and vein and artery flexibility, lowering your risk of heart disease.
  • Tiger nuts are rich in Vitamin E which helps to lower the cholesterol level in the blood. In addition to this, Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects the body cells against damage.


Despite the existence of conventional Western medicine, traditional Yoruba medicine, of which herbal medicine is the most common type, remains a viable form of primary health care. Over the years, Herbal drugs have gained reputation and acceptability as a result of improved plant identification, preparation processes, and scientific studies. Considering the numerous benefits and uses of these Yoruba herbs, it is safe to say that they should be used in place of expensive medicines and pills to treat different conditions and diseases.

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