Categories: Leaves

15 Benefits of bitter leaf and side effects

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Discover the 15 Shocking Health Benefits Of Bitter Leaf and side effects.

The herb commonly known as the bitter leaf is a small tree that can grow up to 5 m. The evergreen tree grows in countries with a tropical climate, mainly in Africa.

The tree has brown or gray bark with a rough texture. It has streaked green leaves with an oblong shape and fine, soft hair on the underside.

It grows wildly outside, such as in a wasteland, on the roadsides, in the fields, or even in the forest. People also grow the plant in their garden for home medicinal needs.

Read on and learn more about the health benefits of the bitter leaf, so that you can obtain many benefits in favor of the integral care of your health.

The genus Vernonia consists of hundreds of species. But usually, when people talk about the bitter leaf, they mean Vernonia amygdalina, Vernonia colorata, and Vernonia calvoana.


These species grow widely and are traditionally consumed in many parts of West and Central Africa.

The leaf has a unique taste: bitter and sweet. Despite its bitterness, many people consume the leaf for its medicinal and nutritional benefits.

Some African countries even export the dried leaves of the Vernonia amygdala to other continents for their restorative quality.

Traditionally, people in Africa have been using leaves to treat several ailments due to their nutritional values and therapeutic properties.

Health benefits of bitter leaf

15 Shocking Health Benefits Of Bitter Leaf


1.- Benefits of bitter leaf for cholesterol

The cholesterol level is one of the most important health indicators in the human body.


When our cholesterol level rises, we run the risk of many health problems, especially strokes, heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s.

Therefore, to stay healthy, bad cholesterol levels should be lowered. One of the effective ways to prevent the rise of bad cholesterol is to consume bitter leaves.

The February 2008 issue of the “Journal of Vascular Health and Risk Management” had a report on how bitter leaf can level out bad and total cholesterol in our body.

Using animal subjects for the experiment, researchers who participated in the study found that bitter leaf extract lowered LDL cholesterol by 50%.

At the same time, the level of HDL or good cholesterol also increased.

Similar studies have not been conducted in humans. However, the study suggested that it most likely provides a similar effect in humans.


2.- Contains Powerful Antioxidants

Human cells are always under constant threat and attack from dangerous free radicals. The process of oxygen metabolism produces free radicals as an excess product.

These free radicals interact with molecules in our cells, causing damage to nearby stresses and DNA.

Free radicals can be helpful to your body in a small amount, but if the amount is not controlled, it becomes a dangerous problem.

It can lead to fatigue, muscle pain, memory loss, headaches, vision problems, wrinkles, and in the long run, numerous serious health conditions.

Because of this, we need other substances that can fight free radicals, known as antioxidants.

This free radical nemesis can easily be found in abundance in bitter leaves.


As reported in the December 2006 issue of the journal “Food Chemistry”, the antioxidant properties of a bitter leaf can be used by humans to combat the oxidation process and the danger of free radicals.

When incorporated into the diet, this will also improve your health and protect your body against various dangerous diseases.

3.- It is a rich source of fatty acids

Fatty acids are abundantly present in bitter leaf benefits, including linoleic acids and linolenic acids. Both fatty acids are not produced by our bodies.

However, they both serve important roles in boosting our health. Due to our body’s inability to produce these fatty acids, we need to obtain fatty acids from our diet.

According to the study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in November 2001, these two fatty acids have a protective characteristic against cardiovascular diseases. When taken regularly as part of the diet, fatty acids can prevent various health problems.

Research subjects who took the highest amount of linolenic and linoleic fatty acids have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease by about 40%.


In contrast, those who took the least amount and frequency of both fatty acids are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

4.- Cure the common flu

Some researchers have shown that bitter leaf extract combined with Siberian ginseng serves as a good herbal remedy for treating the common flu.

The concoction must be taken within the first 72 hours of infection for it to work. In about two to three days, all common flu symptoms, including sneezing, headache, and runny nose, will go away as the energy level returns to normal.

Some studies also showed that bitter leaf extract and Siberian ginseng are also very effective in treating the common cold in children.

This effectiveness is mainly due to the antimicrobial properties and the vitamin C in the extract that can improve the body’s immune system against diseases and eradicate viruses at the same time.

The concoction can also warm the body and prevent the cold from happening.


When you start to feel bad, you should drink the bitter leaf mixture to prevent flu or other related illnesses.

5.- Benefits of bitter leaf for diabetes

A bitter leaf contains a generous amount of andrographolide, the compounds that are effective in lowering blood glucose levels.

According to the study conducted by Gajah Mada University researchers in 2004, drinking boiled bitter leaf water can lower glucose levels in male rats as animal subjects. While the research was not done on the human subject, this research is positive.

Another animal test also confirmed this quality. Some African researchers from the Bandung Institute of Technology conducted an experiment with rabbits for the same topic.

Researchers found that the andrographolide in bitter leaf extract possesses a hypoglycemic effect or the ability to lower blood sugar.


One of the possible benefits of this feature is the ability to prevent and treat diabetes mellitus.

The disease characterized by high blood sugar due to lack of insulin can be treated by regularly drinking the mixture of bitter leaves.

In addition to drinking the concoction, you should also consume plenty of fibrous fruits and vegetables, maintain a physically active life, and give up smoking because it negatively affects glucose uptake into cells.

6.- Treat dysentery

Bitter leaf mixture can also be an effective herbal remedy for treating dysentery. Dysentery is a disease in which inflammation occurs in the colon.

Symptoms are stomach cramps along with severe diarrhea and blood or mucus in the stool. While hydration is fatal, the remedy is also urgently required.

The health benefits of the bitter leaf offer a powerful ability to treat dysentery.


To get the corrective property of the leaves, you need to crush some dry bitter leaves and put them in boiling water.

Then turn off the stove and filter the mixture before drinking the water. You should consume the herbal drink three times a day: in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening.

7.- Benefits of bitter leaf for breast cancer

Breast cancer is a threat to many women around the world. In the United States alone, estimates that no less than 10% of women will suffer from at least one form of breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Your risk of breast cancer can be reduced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a low-fat, green diet, and weight balance.

To equip yourself with a better weapon against breast cancer, consume bitter leaves regularly.

The antioxidant properties present in the leaf can fight cancer cells and inhibit their growth.


The study carried out by some scientists at Jackson State University managed to demonstrate this wonderful quality of bitter leaves.


The researchers conducted a test-tube study on the effect of bitter leaf extract on human breast cancer cells.

According to the study that was published in the February 2004 issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, it can be concluded that bitter leaf can inhibit the growth and spread of human breast cancer cells.

8.- Prevents other types of cancer

Besides breast cancer, bitter leaf benefits also work effectively as a cure for other types of cancer.

Andrographolide compounds that are present in the bitter leaf can inhibit the growth and development of cancer and tumor cells.

The anti-cancer properties in the bitter leaf are revealed through various studies.


In one of the studies, the leaf is effective in fighting lymphocytes attacked by leukemia.

A study by some Japanese researchers found that bitter leaves can stop the activities of gastric cancer cells.

It does this by preventing and altering the synthetic process of cancer cell DNA.

It is also very easy to use bitter leaves as a herbal remedy to treat cancer.

You just have to prepare fresh bitter leaves and boil them with water.

Once the mixture is warm or cool enough, drink it in one sitting. Drink the concoction two to three times a day while continuing the treatment as prescribed by your doctor.


9.- Benefits of bitter leaf for headache

Bitter leaf benefits are also very effective in treating a headache, including types of headaches caused by flu and fever.

To get the benefit, make a bitter leaf mixture by crushing a handful of bitter leaves and mixing them with water. Boil the tea and drink it once it cools down.

10.- Benefits of bitter leaf for malaria

Malaria is an infection caused by the Plasmodium parasite that is carried into the blood by mosquito bites.

Plasmodium is commonly found in tropical countries, therefore, in many tropical countries, suffering from malaria remains a risk.

Malaria is a dangerous disease that potentially causes deaths. Fortunately, bitter leaves can be an effective herbal treatment for infection.


One of the active substances present in the leaf is andrographolide. Andrographolide is known for its antiparasitic property.

According to some studies, the substance is an active ingredient that inhibits the growth of the parasite and can therefore be extracted for antimalarial medication.

Andrographolide achieves this result by disrupting the defense system of Plasmodium and preventing its development.

As the parasite’s immune system goes down, the oxidative process is affected and the parasite is easily destroyed.

However, the scientific world has not concluded the proper method and dosage for the treatment of malaria using the extract of bitter leaves.

Therefore, you should never use it as your primary treatment, unless you cannot get access to the medications prescribed by the doctor.


11.- Treat typhus

Worldwide, there are at least 26.9 million cases of typhoid fever reported annually. The diseases generally take about 200,000 deaths.

Typhoid fever is an infection from the bacteria Salmonella typhimurium that is transmitted from one human to another.

The bacteria enter the human body system through feces or infected food and drink.

The bacteria first enter the human body through the mouth and then travel to the intestine and into the bloodstream. This is where it gets dangerous.

Typhi spreads to other organs and tissues without much defense by the human immune system because bacteria can safely live inside host cells.

High fever and stomach pain are the main symptoms of the infection.


If typhoid patients do not receive proper treatment, they will be at risk of death because the bacteria kills 25 percent of those infected.

However, when it is treated early, it will be successfully eradicated.

Antibiotics are generally prescribed by doctors to kill the bacteria. During this period, bitter leaf mixture or bitter leaf supplements in other forms can also be taken to accelerate healing.

Andrographolide, tannin, flavonoid, and saponin have antibacterial properties that will be a good help to eliminate bacteria.

12.- Benefits of bitter leaf for blood pressure

Hypertension is also a disease that affects many people in the world. Avoiding this common disease is not an easy task, however, the disease poses a danger when not properly treated.

Prolonged, untreated high blood pressure will cause some complicated problems, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, blurred vision, and even death.


Doctors generally prescribe drugs such as diuretics, beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers for their hypertensive patients.

However, these chemical medications are not the only treatment for hypertension.

There are several herbal alternatives for people suffering from hypertension and one of the effective herbal ingredients is a bitter leaf.

Bitter leaves can prevent and treat hypertension because they contain a large amount of potassium that can stimulate the body’s salt secretion.

In addition, the leaf also contains very little sodium, which is supposedly responsible for the increase in blood pressure.

Also, the potassium in the bitter leaf will dilate the arteries and prevent arteriosclerosis. As a result, it also eases blood flow and stabilizes high blood pressure.


13.- Improves the immune system

Another benefit of bitter leaf is the ability to boost your immune system. Our immune system is our best defense against infections and diseases that threaten our health.

When your immune system is weakened, you are under threat from many contagious diseases.

Fortunately, drinking bitter leaf tea or taking bitter leaf extract can give your immune system a significant boost.

It is the reason behind the popularity of bitter leaf tea as an herbal drink in some parts of the world.

14.- Treat hyperuricemia

Hyperuricemia is the condition when uric acid in the blood is abnormally high. Typically, this abnormal condition manifests itself in gouts, such as monoarthritis in the big toe, knee, and joints.

It can also trigger a form of hematuria, which is pain felt in the area of the abdomen, flank, or groin region accompanied by nausea.


Chronic pain can disrupt activities and sleep. To treat the disease, a proper diet must be planned and followed.

It is also recommended to incorporate bitter leaves in the daily diet of patients to aid treatment.

The ketones, aldehydes, and flavonoids in the bitter leaves will neutralize the uric acid level and eliminate the symptoms.

15.- Benefits of bitter leaf for skin

Some substances in bitter leaf benefits are natural antibacterial agents that will kill bacteria that cause inflammation on the skin when acne occurs.

In addition, these substances also have antioxidant properties that naturally fight free radicals that accelerate the aging process.

Drinking bitter leaf tea will keep wrinkles and sunspots at bay. Your skin tissue will be rejuvenated and you will look younger and healthier.


Side effects of bitter leaf

There isn’t sufficient credible information available on the side effects of bitter leaf.

However, scientific evidence instructs that bitter leaf should not be consumed in great amounts – because, at high doses, it comes to be toxic and poisonous to human cells.



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