Ugba [African oil beans seed]

This write was posted to the gourmet guide whatapps food channel by a member of the group… Amara, a dietician.


…  Abacha  – for many South Eastern Nigerians [African salad] without ugba is not complete!

Ugba is native to South Eastern Nigerian and it always  undergo extensive fermentation before it is considered edible.

A review on African oil bean seeds (ugba), according to a  study published recently in Pakistan Journal of Nutrition has revealed that the mineral content of the analysed samples  has showed that African oil bean seeds are  rich in iron of value 140.97 mg/100 g.

  • The analysis indicates that potassium is the most abundant mineral  embedded in the food.
  • The high calcium/potassium (Ca/P) ratio indicates that African oil bean seed is a very good food source.
  • The researchers concluded that  African oil bean seed is rich in protein and it could be used as alternative source of protein in diet/protein supplement especially in a developing country like Nigeria.

  • This study also revealed that African oil bean seeds have high available energy and high fat content.
  • The study further revealed that African oil bean sample is rich in iron when compared to Recommended Daily Allowance. These oils had higher inhibition than has been reported for palm kernel oil.
  • These oils can serve as alternative sources of ointment for maintenance of the skin and management of wounds in addition to the usual palm kernel oil.
  • In addition, research has shown that the use of this type of inhibitory agent does not result to development of resistance organisms. There is need for further investigation of the oils of under-utilised seeds in order to employ them in the production of ointments for wound disinfection and management.

Nutritional value and health benefits of Ugba

Lydia Enyidiya Eke's photo.

Reports say

  • African oil bean seeds contain up to 44 percent protein, with all twenty essential amino acids.
  • The seeds also contain essential fatty acids within the seed oil, as well as many minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus and calcium, and trace amounts of vitamins.
  • However, the fermentation process decreases the bean’s levels of vitamin and minerals to the point where no phosphorus is found in ugba.
  • The fermented ugba deteriorates rapidly and can spoil within two weeks of production.
  • African oil bean seed contains saponins, or phytochemicals found in most vegetables, beans and herbs, which have been linked to lower cholesterol levels, although the fermentation process may reduce these levels.
  • This postulation is according to John Ifeanyi Chidozie, MDcv, MFR, with the University of Nigeria. He  presented a paper at the UICC World Cancer Congress in 2006 claiming that patients who regularly consumed fermented oil bean seeds had a reduced risk of cancer and tobacco-related diseases.
  • Research by P.A. Akah and colleagues in Nigeria, published in June 1999 in Phytotherapy Research, found that oil bean seed extracts were effective as antimicrobials and antispasmodics, as well as useful for treating diarrhea.
  • Heart disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart such as Coronary heart disease, Cardiomyopathy,Cardiovascular disease, Ischemic heart disease, Heart failure, Hypertensive heart disease, Inflammatory heart disease,Valvular heart disease  –  African researchers discovered that the fermented seed known as Ugba in Eastern part of Nigeria could be used to prevent and cure heart failure.

  • Since Ugba has both preventive and curative ability, it is needful  to go for it because heart failure is a killer disease that must be urgently addressed.
  • Diarrhea is can be cured just by extracting the leaf of this African Oil bean, mix the liquid with  a tea spoon of lime juice and ingest about 300mls.
  • Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This African oil bean corrects such neurological disorder not immediately but with two or three years. Ferment a handful of the sliced seeds for three or four days, use fish oil to prepare the delicacy; try to eat it once a week for two or three years and that will correct the neurological disorder.

  • Insomnia can easily  be solved by mixing the liquid of the fermented seed with honey; taking  one spoon every day for two weeks will make one  sleep like a baby.
  • African oil bean seed is a very good anti-microbial agent and it takes care of microbial related diseases.
  • It boosts immune system and makes wounds to heal quickly.
  • African oil bean seed oil has shown great promise as antimicrobial and wound healing agent.
  • Nigerian researchers have demonstrated how African oil bean seed, African star apple oil and avocado pear oil inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Proteus mirabilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The study titled “The antimicrobial effect of oils from Pentaclethra macrophylla, Chrysophyllum albidum and Persea gratissima on some local clinical bacteria isolates ” was published in African Journal of Biotechnology. The researchers include Ugbogu O. C. and Akukwe A. R. of the Department of Microbiology, Abia State University, Uturu, Abia State,Nigeria.


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