Water leaf botanically known as Talinum triangulare is from the Portulaceae family. It is a herbaceous plant grown in tropical regions as a leafy vegetable. In Nigeria, it is consumed as a leafy vegetable (vegetable soups) and constituent of sauces. It is popularly referred to as Efo gure among the Yoruba and mgbolondi in Igbo. They can be used to prepare waterleaf soup, waterleaf stew, yam, salad and more. In the southern part of Nigeria, waterleaf is used in making special soup known as Edikang Ikong and Afang (predominant in Cross River and Akwa Ibom). It is found to blossom exceptionally well during rainy season because of its high water content but can also grow during dry season.
Water leaf is a good source of some minerals (e.g., calcium, magnesium, and potassium) and vitamins (e.g., ascorbic acid and pyridoxine). It contains bioactive compounds that serves a lot of biological functions like:
1.Cures asthma: Water leaf has been discovered to contain certain active compounds that can cure asthma. This is because water-leaf has been seen to have high anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Brain function: Water leaf has been found to have a great impact on the neurons of the brain(cerebrum) thus improving cognitive ability because of the presence of certain constituents which helps to improve cerebral blood flow.
3. Relieves pain: Quercetin, an active compound in water leaf has analgesic effect which is notable for use in individuals with chronic arthritic pain. Consumption of water leaf helps to relieve pain faster than you can imagine.
4. Improves blood circulation: Water leaf has crude protein as one of its constituent which performs a key role in the maintaining the cardiovascular system. It also helps to keep the heart healthy by regulating its activities and reduce the risk of related heart diseases as well as stroke.
5.Boosts immunity: One of the properties in water leaf is its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It helps to suppress the growth of bacteria and fight fungi responsible for certain infections and disease. Consumption of this leaf keeps you strong and healthy.
6.Good vision: Water leaf contains Vitamin A which gives good vision. Presence of other minerals like potassium and potassium aids good blood circulation to the eye and other muscles around it.
7. Wound healing: Water leaf is rich in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which is important for healing wounds and the cure of scurvy. It also helps in the repair of worn out tissues of the body and promotes red blood cell production.
8.Promotes strong bones and teeth: calcium found present in water leaf helps in maintaining strong bones and teeth. In general, gives support to the body skeletal structure and improve skeletal function
9.Prevents cancer: Water leaf is notable for its unique anti-cancer preventive property as it prevents growth of abnormal cells in the body because of its anti-oxidative effect. Consumption of waterleaf reduces risk of breast, skin and ovarian cancers.
10.Aids weight loss: It serves as a weight loss diet due to the amount of fibre content in it. But should be taken on a regular basis either used in a salad or steamed to a certain temperature. It can be used by obesed individuals who are trying to achieve a healthy weight. A healthy weight reduces risk of cardiovascular, stroke and other heart diseases.