Sunday, 22 April 2018

Common Yoruba Herbs: Their English Names & What They Are Used For (Photos)

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Yoruba is one of the four primary languages spoken in Nigeria. Not every Nigerian is familiar with the Yoruba language, but sometimes you just need to know what a particular herb is called in Yoruba – for example when you see a cool recipe but aren’t familiar with the terms

There are some popular herbs used by all ethnic groups, some of the herbs are common in someplace though. Some of the Popular leaves here in Yorubaland all have a name, lest I forget, depending on the area you are. Meaning you might know some herbs name in Hausa, while some people may be talking about the same herbs, but would seem the person is not right or saying rubbish.

Moreover, there are some uncommon Yoruba names that even Yoruba natives know. Luckily, our guide to Yoruba herbs and their English names is here to help you

Parsley (Effirin)
The English name of is Parsley, it’s referred to Parsley in Yoruba. Parsley has so many health benefits for a wide range of symptoms and diseases.
It is from Petroselinum plant, the parsley plant and parsley essential oil have been used as a natural detox remedy, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, diuretic and agent for centuries in folk medicine.

As of now, researched back up health claims about we’ve got for the plant.

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Yoruba name for parsley leaf

Cayenne Pepper (Ata Gun Gun)

Cayenne pepper is referred to Ata gun gun in the Yoruba language. It’s not only in the Yorubaland, but also among the other cultures in Nigeria.

Cayenne pepper has got some many health benefits; It aids digestion, slow intestinal gas, stop stomach pain, including healing upset stomach, it also stops diarrhoea and as a natural remedy for cramps.

It’s also used for heart and blood vessels – to improve poor circulation, to reverse excessive blood clotting, lower high cholesterol and prevent heart disease.

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Ata gun gun. Cayenne pepper in Yoruba

Cinnamon (Oloorun)

Cinnamon herb is referred to as Oloorun in Yorubaland. It health benefits are; high source of Antioxidants, promotion of heart health, contains Anti-inflammatory properties, help fight diabetes and also lower the risk of cancer.

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Mint Leaf (Ewe Minti)

Mint leaf is referred to as Ewe Minti in Yoruba. It is a favourite herb. The leaves is a can be used in fresh or dried in many dishes and infusions. Mint oil is Always used in gum, candy, toothpaste, and some beauty products. Health benefits of mint include relieving of allergies and pains; it also prevents gastric ulcer. It is good for skin some other benefits.

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Mint leaves (known as Menta in Spanish) are in the family of aromatic herbs that are used to add specific aroma to dishes. 

Spinach (Efo Tete)
Spinach is referred to as Efo Tete. This plant is often used among cultures and had come along way as a Herbal plant. To some culture, they never knew its health benefits.

They only know it is edible and it appeals to their taste bud. If you are one of them, just know that spinach health benefit is hair and bone, asthma and cancer protection, reduction of blood pressure, diabetes management and promotion of healthy skin.
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African Spinach (EFO TETE)

Turmeric (Atale Pupa)

Atale Pupa(Yoruba) is referred to as Turmeric in English. This herb plant lower risk of brain damage increases the antioxidant capacity of the body and heart disease.

This herbal plant can also help delay ageing, prevent cancer and fight age-related diseases among others.

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Malaria plant, turmeric top herbal 'cures' for multi-drug resistant 

Bay Leaf (Bay Bunkum)
The Bay Leaf is referred to as Bay Bunkum in yourba.

Health benefits:

- It eases joint pain from arthritis
- It gives immune support
- Help with sugar level balance
- Aids in digestion, reduce congestion
- Help in improving scalp health.

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Bay Leaves

Marjoram (Efo Ewuro)

Marjoram is referred to as Efo Ewuro in Yoruba, The herbal plant can be taken orally in a more concentrated medicinal form or used topically and in aromatherapy as an essential oil.

The inhalation of marjoram essential oil is to calm the nervous system and, in turn, positively impact your cardiovascular system by enhancing the blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

It is also used to treat runny noses, gallbladder issues, depression, dizziness, coughs, digestive problems, migraines, nervous headaches, nerve pain and paralysis as well.

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Bitter Leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) Efo ewuro

Celery (Seleri)
The Yorubas call the celery herb plant seleri. This also a plant that helps in lowering inflammation, reducing the risk of cancer, reducing blood pressure and assist in preventing age-related vision loss.

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Some Other Herbs in Yoruba Language

If you want to know others, just post a comment!
  • Basil plant – Nchanwu in Yoruba
  • Fenugreek – ewedu in yoruba, hulba in Hausa
  • Hibiscus plant – Zobo
  • Tamarind – tsamia
  • Tumeric –  ata Ile pupa in Yoruba
  • Cayenne – Bawa
  • Chilli – Shombo in Yoruba
  • Black pepper – iyere in Yoruba, Oziza in igbo
  • Thorny pigweed/prickly amaranth – tete eleegun in yoruba
  • alternanthera nodiflora – Dagunro
  • Butryospermum paradoxum – Shea tree – Ori
  • Allium sativum -Garlic – Ayu in yoruba
  • Capsicum frutescens – Tabasco pepper – Ata-wewe
  • Lactuca capensis – Lettuce – Yanrin
  • Bryophyllum pinnatum – Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf or Goethe Plant – Abamoda
  • Zingiber officinale – Ginger – Jinja, Atale in yoruba
  • Dioscorea dumetorum – Sweet Yam- Esuru
  • Enantia chloranta – Awopa
  • Khaya grandifoliola, K. senegalensis, K. ivorensis – Oganwo
  • Sphenocentrum jollyanum – Akerejupon
  • Olax subscorpioidea – Ifan, Ifon
  • Tetrapleura tetraptera – Aidan, Aridan
  • Lecaniodiscus cupanioides – Akika
  • Lippia multiflora – Efirin-gogoro, Efirin-oko
  • Jatropha curcas – Botuje, Lapalapa
  • Jatropha gossypifolia – cotton-leaf physicnut- Botuje pupa
  • Jatropha multifida – coral plant, physic nut or Guatemala rhubarb – Ogege
  • Cymbopogon citratus – lemon grass- Kooko-oba
  • Pterocarpus erinaceus – Apepo, Agbelosun
  • Pterocarpus osun – Osun
  • Pterocarpus santalinioides – Gbengbe
  • Catharanthus roseus -Madagascar rosy periwinkle – Apabida pupa
  • Carica papaya – Papaya – Ibepe
  • Dioclea scandens – Dasa
  • Dioclea reflexa – Agbarin, Epe, Arin

Yoruba Names for plants

  • Lawsonia inermis – Henna plant – Laali, Lali
  • Ficus exasperata -Ficus Tree – Epin
  • Ficus asperifolia – Ipin
  • Ficus capensis – Opoto
  • Ficus elegans – Asoro
  • Ficus mucuso – Odan-afomo
  • Ficus thoningii – Odan-abaa
  • Ficus vallis-choudae – Ogunro
  • Vernonia amygdalina – Ewuro
  • Phyllanthus amarus – stonebreaker or seed-under-leaf- Eyin-olobe
  • Mucuna sloanei – Werepe
  • Mucuna pruriens – Ewe-ina, Yerepe
  • Alstonia congensis – Ahun
  • Mangifera indica – Mango – Mangoro in yoruba
  • Nauclea latifolia – Egbesi
  • Sorghum bicolor – Poroporo okababa
  • Senna fistula – Aidantoro
  • Erythophleum suaveolens – Erun obo, Olu-obo
  • Ocimum gratissimum – Clove Basil- Efirin
  • Telfaria occidentalis – Fluted gourd – Ugwu
  • Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides – Senegal prickly-ash or artar root – Orin ata
  • Acalypha wilkesiana – Jiwini, Ewe larapupa
  • Sida cordifolia – flannel weed – Iso-obo
  • Sida pilosa – Eesinle
  • Sida rhombifolia – Iseketu pupa
  • Thaumatococcus danielli – Ewe moi-moi
  • Azadirachta indica – Neem, Nimtree or Indian Lilac – Dongoyaro
  • Aloe vera – Ahon-erin
  • Aloe barteri – Eti-erin, Ida-egun, Ida-orisa
  • Garcinia kola – bitter kola – Orogbo
  • Ageratum conyzoides – Billygoat-weed, Chick weed, Goatweed, Whiteweed – Imi-esu
  • Abelmoschus esculentus – Okra- Ila
  • Abrus precatorius -jequirity, Crab’s eye, rosary pea, precatory pea or bean, John Crow Bead, Indian licorice – Oju-ologbo
  • Abutilon mauritianum – Furu
  • Acacia ataxacantha – Ihun, Ewon adele
  • Acacia nilotica – Baani, Booni
  • Acanthospermum hispidum – Bristly starbur, Goat’s head, Hispid starburr – Dagunro
  • Acanthus montanus – Bear’s Breech or Mountain Thistle – Ahon-ekun, Irunmu arugbo
  • Adansonia digitata – baobab – Ose
  • Aerva lanata – mountain knotgrass – Efun-ile
  • Aframomum melegueta – Grains of Paradise – Atare
  • Alafia barteri – Agbari etu
  • Allium ascalonicum – The shallot – Alubosa elewe, alubosa onisu

Different plants

  • Alchornea cordifolia – Ipa
  • Caesalpinia pulcherima – Barbados pride, dwarf poinciana, Barbados flower-fence – Eko-omode
  • Afzelia africana – Afzelia, Lenke, Lengue, or Doussi – Apa-igbo
  • Alternanthera sessilis – sessile joyweed or dwarf copperleaf – Reku-reku
  • Anacardium occidentale – Cashew – Kasu
  • Anthocleista djalonensis, Anthocleista liebrechtsiana – Sapo, Shapo
  • Arachis hypogea – peanut, or groundnut – Epa
  • Bambusa vulgaris – Golden Bamboo, or Buddha’s Belly Bamboo – Oparun
  • Baphia nitida – African sandalwood – Osun, Irosun
  • Allanblackia floribunda – tallow tree – Eku, Eso roro
  • Byrsocarpus coccineus – Amuje wewe
  • Calendula officinalis – pot marigold – Ododo-Maria in yoruba
  • Calotropis procera – Sodom apple – Bomubomu
  • Canarium schweinfurthii – African elemi or canarium – Paapo, Origbo
  • Canavalia ensiformis – jack bean – Sese-nla
  • Carapa procera – Carapa – Abo-oganwo
  • Cardiospermum halicacabum – balloon plant or love in a puff – Shaworo
  • Celastrus indica – Ponju-owiwi
  • Ceiba pentandra – Araba
  • Cissampelos owariensis – Ewe jokoje
  • Chromolaena odorata – Siam weed – Akintola, Awolowo
  • Tetracarpidium conophorum – Nigerian walnut – Awusa, Asala
  • Vernonia colorata – Ironweed – Eriro-Ijebu
  • Xylopia aethiopica – Eeru, Erunje
  • Tridax procumbens – Igbalode, Muwagun
  • Waltheria indica – Ewe-epo
  • Vitex doniana – Oori-nla
  • Uvaria chamae – finger root or bush banana – Eruju
  • Viscum album – mistletoe- Afomo in yoruba
  • Uvaria afzelii – Gbongbose, Anikan wogba-arun
  • Urena lobata – Ilasa-agborin, Ilasa-omode
  • Uraria picta – Alupayida
  • Voacanga africana – Ako-dodo
  • Argemone mexicana – Mexican poppy, Mexican prickly poppy, Flowering thistle, cardo or cardosanto – Egun arugbo, Ekan-ekun
  • Artocarpus altilis – Berefurutu
  • Boerhaavia diffusa – punarnava – Etiponla, Olowojeja
  • Borreria verticillata – Irawo ile
  • Carpolobia lutea – Osunsun
  • Citrullus colocynthis – colocynth, bitter apple, bitter cucumber, desert gourd, egusi, or vine of Sodom – Egusi-baara
  • Citrus aurantium – Bitter orange, Seville orange, sour orange, bigarade orange, or marmalade orange – Osan
  • Aspilia africana – Yunyun
  • Nicotiana tabacum – Ewe taba 

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