Discover the health benefits of kinkeliba, their history, how to use them in herbal medicine, and recipes explained step by step.
Other names : long life herbal tea, kolobé,talli etc.
Variety : Combretum micranthum.
What is kinkeliba?
Kinkeliba is a plant whose leaves are mainly used in traditional medicine to stimulate biliary function, promote biliary excretion, protect liver cells and for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
The plant is a bushy shrub that can reach 4 or 5 meters, part of the large family of combretaceae, which makes up the shrub and tree bottom of savannah forests.
It grows in the Sahelian countries of Senegal, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, even if it is also found in Togo in Côte d’Ivoire or in Sudan. For the anecdote, we call the places where they grow the “tiger bush”, because the vegetation is made of a succession of bands of shrubs separated by bands of bare soil, which gives it, seen from the sky, a tabby appearance.
In Senegal and Mali, kinkeliba leaves are consumed a lot during breakfast or during the break in the Ramadan fast instead of coffee or tea. It is sometimes, wrongly, considered the breakfast of the poor, many preferring milk, supposedly nobler.
It has a very pleasant woody flavor .
What are the health benefits of kinkeliba?
Kinkeliba stands out for its content of tannins, betaines, potassium nitrates, heterosides, polyphenols, flavonoids, combretins and catechetical tannins. The leaf also contains acid-alcohols and quaternary amino acids.
It is renowned for its diuretic, cholagogue, depurative and digestive properties.
In traditional African medicine, it is used as an infusion against constipation, to protect liver cells, to stimulate biliary function and promote biliary excretion. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
Below are the health benefits of kinkeliba;
Action on the liver
Kinkeliba is therefore prescribed to treat all liver ailments : viral hepatitis, hematuric bilous fever, jaundice, gallstones (gallstones), etc.
It activates the production of bile, facilitates the evacuation of bile, and increases urinary secretion. In fact, it will activate all of the body’s waste disposal channels. It is therefore a plant with purifying effects, with the advantage of having a very pleasant taste, slightly woody and not at all bitter, unlike other detox plants having the same effect.
To improve its general cleansing action, it is interesting to associate it with white birch leaves , which are cleansing through an action on the kidneys, and not on the liver, so the two plants are complementary.
kinkeliba is rich in cathechins and epigallocatechins, powerful antioxidants, also present in green tea or in cocoa beans . Its antioxidant effect helps the body to fight against the action of free radicals , for example from pollution or pesticides, and to slow down the premature aging of cells, and thus protect us against diseases related to aging. Associated with blueberry leaves , the medicinal leaves of Vaccinium myrtillus, its antioxidant action is amplified and more effective.
From there, comes its name of protective plant or even plant of long life (not to be confused with centalla asiatica , a medicinal plant used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, also called plant of long life).
Kinkeliba, especially its leaf has strong anti-inflammatory activity . So, this property makes it possible to fight what is called low-grade inflammation , unlike acute inflammation which is expressed by pain.
Low grade inflammation is more sneaky inflammation because it doesn’t feel, but leads to many long term health issues, serious issues.
Indeed, diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, cancer, and all degenerative diseases all have one thing in common: inflammation.
Combating this inflammation requires a healthy lifestyle, a good diet, and also the consumption of naturally anti-inflammatory products such as kinkeliba.
As such, it can be replaced or associated with moringa leaves , or meadowsweet , medicinal plants in particular used for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies on kinkeliba leaves have shown that they help lower blood sugar levels . We know that our so-called modern diet is far too glycemic, and that too high blood sugar is a health risk. Natural products like kinkeliba can help balance the scales.
Action on digestion
By stimulating hepatic and biliary function and the contraction of the intestinal muscles, kinkeliba strengthens the digestion process , especially for the digestion of fats, and helps stimulate appetite.
It helps fight constipation and soothes people with infectious diarrhea thanks to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. In the context of severe constipation, it is preferable to use infusions of Tinevelly’s senna , a laxative medicinal plant, used to fight against constipation, to purify the digestive tract and the intestinal flora.
Kinkeliba would fight malaria in Africa, but mugwort infusion remains the most effective anti-parasitic treatment indicated against malaria.
It would have slimming virtues and would fight against obesity. The Senegalese use it against anemia, as a tonic and febrifuge plant.
It is possible to make external use of the leaves in order to accelerate the healing of wounds.
In humans, the beta-sitosterol present in the leaf would reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood and would be beneficial for the prostate.
How to use kinkeliba?
Use and dosage
Kinkeliba is prepared as a decoction . Put 20 g of dried leaves in 1 l of water. Bring to the boil, when it starts to boil, count 3 min then remove from heat, and let infuse for about 20 min. Filter and it’s ready.
The resulting drink can be drunk throughout the day. It is quite common to sweeten, and even add another ingredient (see next paragraph).
For a cure, count 2 to 3 cups per day for 3 weeks, otherwise, the kinkeliba is drunk a bit like tea, once in a while for pleasure while doing good.
Some beneficial associations
It is very common to combine kinkeliba with other plants, whether to improve the taste or the benefits, among the common associations, we find:
– Mint and lemon
Mint and milk
Lemongrass and basil (called “Choukolan” in Mali or “Ngoune Ngoune” in Senegal)
External use of the plant
In traditional West African medicine, it is recommended to make a concentrated decoction with 50 g of dry leaves for 1 l of water, and to apply twice a day with a clean cloth for 15 to 20 minutes, or just clean a wound or a burn and promote healing.
It is also common to prepare an ointment with a fatty substance, vegetable oil or shea butter and apply it on bruised areas of the body or on sprains.
A decoction of Kinkeliba can be used as a rinse water for the hair to make it shine and make it more silky.
Contraindication and precautions for use
It is not recommended to consume kinkeliba in pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as children under 2 years old, without the advice of a doctor.
There are no known interactions to date, whether with other medicinal plants, supplements, or drugs. The plant is known to have almost zero toxicity based on toxicological studies and observations.
For the little story
In Africa, it is common to iron the same leaves three times, thus: the first infusion is drunk as is or with just a lemon zest , the second, lighter, is drunk with a hint of milk, the third too.
Wood and roots are used a lot in Africa, but it is in the leaves that most of the taste and active ingredients of the plant are found. In Senegal, the dried leaves are sold tied in twigs and tied up in large cigars with strips of palm trees.
Depending on the place the kinkeliba is harvested, you will find slight differences in flavors, a question of terroir.
We hope the article on the health benefits of kinkeliba has been of help to you.