Growing up in West Africa with six children in a household, I never recall our ever getting sick from things like the flu, the cold, or malaria; ever.
My mother was a very modern, contemporary woman yet like most African mothers, she believed in the healing power of herbs. Once a week, she would gather all six children around the family dining table, and give us a purging type of concoction that made your stomach reel in convulsions just from the sheer and utter bitterness. Sometimes, she would throw in some cod liver oil; I think she really liked to see us children squirm. But you know what? We never got sick. We never picked up any viruses or spreadable diseases when we went to school. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall any of my school mates ever not coming to school because they were sick; it would have been a rare occasion indeed.
Cleansing and working with herbs is an ancient African tradition. When we get fevers, hormonal problems (male or female), aches and pain, or whatever else, we use herbs and plants that grow in the field, mud from the earth, water from the stream, and hot liquid from the decocted bitter greens to heal ourselves and our families.
One such plant is okra. Okra or Okro, Abelmoschus esculentus, is valued for its edible green seed pods and frequently found in various African soups across the continent.
Okra is not commonly eaten here in the West mostly because of its slimy texture. The slime okra is known for is called mucilage, and is its most beneficial healing component so removing it or cooking okra at high heat strips all of its healing benefits. However, for those who love okra, it has a dense nutrient-rich profile containing significant amounts of magnesium, folate, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants such as Vitamin C, K1, and A.
An essential vegetable, okra's high fiber, low calorie, and mucilage content are also ideal for helping with digestion, easing constipation, lowering blood sugar, removing mucous-like toxins from the body, and supporting the body's excretion pathways. Remember, in herbal medicinal protocols, like attracts like; to get rid of mucous in the body, it is recommended to eat mucous-like vegetables such as okra or drink our beloved SKIN GOLD™ Prebiotic Luminescence™ Herbal Tisane which contains mucilaginous adaptogen herbs such as certified organic Slippery Elm and Marshmallow roots to help coat and soothe intestinal inflammation in the gut.^
Another and even more important reason okra is such a high-value ingredient, is that African women enjoy eating okra to maintain womb wellness during their cycles, to help ease symptoms of bloating, and during pregnancy due to its high folate content. It also helps during the last few weeks of pregnancy to help facilitate ease of pushing during natural childbirth. For men, you know what they say, "the way to an African man's heart, is through his stomach." 😉
Cooking okra the Nigerian way with herbs, spices, and bitter greens creates such a flavorful profile that is deeply satisfying and nutritive to the body.
For a vegetarian or vegan option, you may exclude cooking with the meats shown in the video and still be able to enjoy this nourishing meal with friends and family.
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May you always be #kokobernabeautiful.
^These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
kokoberna, Nigerian okra soup, nutrition, nourish, African culture