SACoronavirus Resource and News Portal

Plant Information

Common Name: BITTER LEAF
Scientific Name: Vernonia amygdalina
Alternative Names: -

Package FormatN/A

Vernonia amygdalina


  • Perennial
  • Bitter leaf is native to the eastern and western parts of Africa where it grows wild along water ways, in grassland and at the edges of forests.
  • It is a shrub or small tree up to 2 - 5m with elliptical green leaves up to 20cm. long.
  • Bitter leaf as the name implies is a bitter plant, whose leaf extracts, stems, and barks are used for culinary, medical, and curative purposes.
  • It likes direct sunlight and water in well-drained soil.

Culinary Uses

  • In many African countries the leaves are used as a staple vegetable in soups and stews.
  • Due to its bitterness the leaves are washed several times after which they are dried and used to prepare meat dishes.
  • Fresh Bitter leaf can be squeezed or blended like smoothies and drink as juice, you can boil it and drink as tea or add a little bit with other greens in your salad.
  • Consume by chewing the tender stem to release a bitter liquid.
  • Pound the fresh leaves in a mortar and press out the juice.
  • Add a pinch of salt to three tablespoons of the undiluted liquid and drink.

Parts Used

  • The stems and leaves.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Bitter Leaf contains vitamin A, C, E, B1 and B12.
  • It is rich in quinine, a compound which has been demonstrated to cure malaria, clean the liver, lymphatic system, and lungs.
  • Bitter leaf can aid up metabolism to help one lose weight because of nutrients like zinc, iron, fiber, and carbohydrate contained in it.
  • The antioxidant in Bitter leaf contributes to positive gastric effects that provide protection from stomach ulcers.
  • The high levels of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals such as flavonoids may help protect against prostate cancer.
  • By drinking a Bitter leaf solution at night before bed will bring on a calmness and relaxation that helps relieve insomnia.
  • Bitter Leaf may enhance fertility - a study in the International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine has shown that it may have a positive effect on sperm quality.
  • The generally high levels of vitamins and minerals in Bitter leaf are beneficial to overall health, so will be beneficial to a couple trying to conceive.
  • Fever – it contains flavonoids, which have powerful antioxidant effects that can help with treating high fevers.
  • It was historically used in traditional medicine for the treatment of the bacterial infection typhoid fever.
  • Diabetes - Research published in the International Journal of Biological and Chemical Sciences demonstrates that the presence of phytochemicals, vitamins, and other nutrients such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and ash are thought to act together to lower blood sugar levels.
  • Bitter leaf contains Vitamin C which is a great antioxidant mineral that plays a vital role in the body, including the maintenance of bones and teeth.
  • Osteoporosis - it also contains traces of vitamin K which helps the body to maintain healthy bones and prevents the weakening of bone tissue.
  • Bitter leaf improves metabolic function – it contains Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, that plays an important role in the metabolism of lipids, amino acids, and glucose in the human body.
  • Thiamine is an important dietary supplement that helps to oxidize fatty acids.
  • Free radicals - Another nutrient in bitter leaf is vitamin E, which serves as an antioxidant fighting against free radicals that have harmful effects on the body’s system.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

Back to Plant List