OUR GUIDE, Rev (Dr) Mike Oye, a Naturopath/Alternative Medicine practitioner points out that it is very possible to live healthy without drugs through good diets, discipline, and adequate appropriation of nature. He asserts that whatever is natural is always better for human consumption than the synthetic alternatives. In continuation of our series on the USE OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE through the preparation of herbs from plants that abound in our natural environment. Today, we continue with our exposition on medicinal herbs and plants with an expose on TOMATO
LYCOPERSICON ESCULENTUM (SOLANACEAE)
ENGLISH NAME: TOMATO
NIGERIA: Yoruba = tomato;
Hausa = atumaatur; Igbo = afufa-bekee
GHANA: Akan-Asante = tomatese
TOGO: Bassari = dikambil
SIERRA LEONE: Kissi = tamasisio; Kono = Kibonki
LIBERIA: Mano = kwi
COTE DIVOIRE: Abe = tomato
An annual herb, sprawling or trailing to 1m high with succulent fruit reddish when ripe.
Pulped leaves are an embrocation for lacal pains.
A lotion of boiled leaves is applied to infants as a soothing dressing, and instilled for earache.
The leaves are considered as antibiotic and fungicidal on sores.
An infusion of the leaves is used in treating gonorrhea.
The leaf is diuretic and beneficial for diseases of the urinary passage and liver troubles.
A poultice of the fruit is used for vetiligo.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and potassium.
They also provide thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus, which are necessary for health.
They are usually low in calories, cholesterol, fats and sodium, excess of which are detrimental to health.
They are rich in fiber and water, making them help in elimination and weight-loss.
As part of vegetable and fruit diets, tomatoes help prevent high blood pressure, heart disorders, and stroke.
They are rich in beta-carotene, which enhances the condition of the eyes and the skin.
The presence of lycopene in tomatoes makes them useful against skin lines and wrinkles caused by ultraviolet rays. It also improves bone mass, thus preventing osteoporosis.
Vitamin K and calcium in tomatoes help to strengthen and repair bones.
Lycopene reduces the risk of many cancers, including prostate, mouth, cervical, pharyngeal, esophageal, stomach, colon, rectal, and ovarian cancers. Vitamins A and C, as antioxidants, also fight free radicals that damage cells.
As a good source of chromium, tomatoes help regulate blood sugar level.
Vitamin A in tomatoes improves vision, prevents night blindness, and reduces the risk of having macular degeneration.
The same vitamin A helps to make hair strong and shiny.
Tomatoes can be used to prevent gallstones and kidney stones. Some research has shown that those who eat tomatoes without the seeds have less chance of developing the diseases.
Tomatoes are rich in bioflavonoids and carotenoids which are anti-inflamatory. These phytonutrients help to reduce pains and can be useful against rheumatism and arthritis.
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