Wild Scent Leaf (Ocimum Gratissimum)


Scent leaf is a tropical plant specie that belongs to the family of Labiatae. This is a home grown shrub used mainly as spices for cooking delicacies due to its unique aromatic taste.

Originally from Africa, the Bismarck Archipelago, Asia and Madagascar before spreading to other parts of the world such as Bolivia, Polynesia, Panama, West Indies, Hawaii, Mexico and Brazil.  Scent leaf is a perennial plant that is common in Africa countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroun use Ocimum gratissimum (scent leaf) for both nutritional and medicinal purposes and as herbal medicine has played and continues to play a prominent role in the treatment of certain ailments and diseases.

Contain anti-fungal properties.  The scent leaf can be used in the treatment of cough and catarrh when inhaled. Scent leaf can be infused and used as a remedy for stomach disorder such as gastroenteritis.

Used to treat stomach pain, diarrhoea, cholera, chronic dysentery and vomiting especially if blended and infused together with the leaves of P. sentalinoides.  The leaves also act as a repellent to mosquitoes and other insects.  The leaves can be used for preventing and treating malaria, catarrh, cough and fever.  The essential oil of scent leaf contains eugenol, which has antibacterial properties.  It’ squissed juice can be used for treating convulsion.  The essential oil present in nchanwu leaves contain anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiseptics properties.

The Igbo people of the Eastern part of Nigeria (BIAFRANS) uses the nchanwu juice in caring for baby’s cord as they believe that the scent leaf juice helps a lot in sterilizing the wound surface of a baby’s cord until the wound is healed.  Scent leaf is also used for treating gout and fungal infections.

It’s plant is diaphoretic and anti-convulsant in nature.  The  extracts of the scented leaf can be taken to relief earache and colon pains. Squeezed leaves are applied on the skin for treating skin diseases and ringworm. It’s seeds can be infused for treating urinary infections and gonorrhoea.

The roots when boiled together with Jatropha curcas leaves and xylopia aethiopicafruit can be given to children to boost their strength and energy.  Nutritionally, scent  leaf is very aromatic, which suggests why it is used for flavouring, spicing and seasoning food, soups and dishes.

It’s oil can be used as a foodpreservative due to its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties.

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