Gongronema latifolium is the botanical name for a local leaf/herb called utazi by the Eastern part (Igbo/Ibo) of Nigeria.


Utazi leaf

The Western part of Nigeria call this leaf arokeke and it is a tropical rainforest plant mainly used as vegetable, medicine or spice by the people.

In addition, these leaves have a different name in every tribe in Nigeria. The Igbo tribe calls it UTAZI, but in the Yoruba language, it is called AROKEKE. The Efik and Ibibio tribes name this leaf UTASI. Usually, people use all parts of this plant, including seeds and roots.

GONGRONEMA latifolium (utazi) is a climbing shrub with broad, heart-shaped leaves that has a characteristic sharp, bitter and slightly sweet taste, especially when eaten fresh.

Please if you don’t consume this shrub start it now…. it helps to work on the liver and lungs that’s why most gin drinkers soak it with hot to drink every detox generally even the kidney.

Utazi leaves are of a tropical plant and are used as a remedy for many years.

Health benefits of utazi leaves are widely known in traditional medicine and used to treat various symptoms and diseases.

The plant belongs to the family of Asclepiadaceae and mainly grows in tropical forests in the west of Africa, including Nigeria

Health Benefits of utazi leaf

1) Various pain symptoms removal

Utazi leaves help to remove pain symptoms of a different nature, namely:


cutaneous cuts inflammation of the skin

Leaves should be prepared as pasty substance and spread on the damaged area of the skin. Utazi leaves water and can be taken orally.

2) Maintaining the required blood sugar level in diabetes

Utazi leaf is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The components of the leaves have a positive effect on blood glucose levels. Clinically, it was proven that usage of this leaves, decreases glucose level in the blood.

3) Anti-sickling function

Internal usage of the root in combination with other tropical plants provides treatment of sickle cell anemia.

4) Use as an antioxidant

The ingredients of leaves include saponins and flavonoids, which are substances that exert an antioxidant effect on the human body, and also have antibacterial characteristics.

5) Use as a cure for carcinoma

The antioxidant substances contained in the leaves contribute to the prevention and treatment of cancer. These substances act as free radical scavengers. The medicinal extract obtained from the leaves helps the body to protect itself and treat such types of cancer as:

carcinoma of the lungs


6) Treatment of asthma

As to the data published by Sonibare M.A. chewing fresh the leaves helps to soften the symptoms of a sore throat and relieve a cough. The root extract of the leaves, in its turn, removes the symptoms of asthma.

See the video on health benefits of Utazi below:


7) Anti-inflammatory action

The leaves are used in traditional medicine for the cure of the following diseases: arthritis/muscle tissue/redness

8) Treatment of gastric ulcer

According to studies published in 2010, the extract made from the bark of the plant has an antiulcer effect.

9) Cure of malaria

Essence made of the leaves and prepared on a water basis is used for an active fight against the disease. According to a study conducted in 2010, the leaves have antiplasmodial activity. That fact confirms that the leaves can be used as a medicine for malaria disease.

10) Relieving cough-drop symptoms

Traditionally, the utazi leaves consumption is generalized in Nigeria as medicine for coughing and sputum. If you chew fresh leaves or after scalding with hot water, almost instantaneous relief of the symptoms occurs.

10) Restoration of the protective function of the liver

The leaves help the liver to carry out detoxification. Putting them in alcohol, you can prepare a remedy, which can be taken internally for the treatment of hepatitis. Also, this extract is used to remove the effects of alcohol and prevent the effects of alcohol on the liver

11) Decrease cholesterol levels in the body

Utazi leaf enzymes provide antioxidant actions in the body that make cholesterol level much lower.

12) Improvements in digestive processes

Leaves have a positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system in general. The bitterness of the leaves stimulates the appetite and normalizes the level of bile in the body.

13) The utazi leaves and pregnancy

The utazi leaves have a significant amount of nutrients, which have a positive effect on the well-being of pregnant women. Leaves are also rich in some vitamins like calcium, sodium, copper, and potassium. Utazi and pregnancy are the generally combined in traditional medicine in Nigeria.

The leaves are used as a remedy for cleaning the uterus after childbirth and reducing pain symptoms of the abdomen. Nursing mothers can use leaves to control their weight and restore the body after birth.

GONGRONEMA latifolium (utazi) is a tropical plant that grows in the form of a bush. Leaves have a wide shape and bitter taste. Leaves are very common in Nigeria and are widely used in traditional medicine.

Please all the mothers here if you don’t cook this before start it now. Boil as tea sometimes

You can squeeze few leaf of utazi and few leaf of scent leaf and drink the juice once in a while.

Utazi plant is highly medicinal in nature, which suggests why its health benefits cannot be overemphasized. Researchers agree that the fundamental ingredients used for medicinal purposes are stored in the various parts of the utazi plant such as; the fruits, seeds, leaves, root and bark.

The vital medicinal ingredients stored in the various parts of the utazi leaf can be extracted either through blending the fresh leaves, chewing the utazi seeds, leaves or fruits, infusing either the dry or fresh utazi leaves and decoction. However, these various methods of preparing and using utazi leaves for medicinal purposes mainly depends on the part of the utazi plant where the active medicinal ingredients are present.

For example, the utazi roots cannot be chewed rather has to undergo decoction, the leaves can be infused with hot water and allowed to cool down before drinking while the fresh utazi leaves can be chewed.

Nutritionally, (utazi) is an excellent source of protein and past studies show that (utazi) leaves are suitable for use in food production due to its high amino acid contents.

They are bitter-sweet in taste and often used as a local spice and vegetable for food preparations such as; abacha, nkwobi, unripe plantain porridge, ugba, local soups such as nsala (white soup), sauces, salads and isiewu.

Africans such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, use the stems and fruits as chewing sticks.


Women with infertility problems should boil or mash some Utazi leaves to get the juice, add some lime juice and honey and drink one glass of it on a daily basis during their period days.

Men can also use Utazi leaves for sperm count treatment. For this, boil or mash some utazi leaves to get the juice, add ½ bottle of lime juice and mix it with honey. One shot of this drink twice per day will be enough.

The effect of this treatment may not be as quick as you might like. But be patient and this natural medicine will surely help you.

So if you want to boost your fertility and be healthier – eat some Utazi leaves on a daily basis.


The fresh leaves can be chewed or used as an extract for a drink. In the southern part of Nigeria, especially people of Southeast and South-South regions these leaves are used for cooking purposes.

They use it as a spice or garnish for some special local delicacies, such as Isiewu, Nkwobi, Ofe nsala (white soup) and others. Use Utazi leaves and stay healthy!