Awusa as fondly and popularly called is one of those nuts I love so much when I was small.
One of the reasons I love Awusa is the bitter taste it gives when you drink water after eating.
The fruit itself is not bitter. In fact, you’ll enjoy eating it. But, if you drink water immediately after eating it, your tongue, taste buds, throat and the entire mouth becomes bitter.
It seems like walnut is going into extinction now because I barely could see them aeounfy again.
Walnut is called Asala or Awusa in Yoruba; Ukpa in Ibo; and Okhue or Okwe in Edo.
It is botanically called Tetracarpidium conophorum or Plukenetia conophora, African walnut belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae.
Walnut(Awusa) has been scientifically proven to contain some minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients needed for the healthy functioning of the human’s body which include; thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, cyanocobalamin (vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, C and E), niacin, manganese, l-arginine, pyridoxine, selenium, melatonin, ascorbic acid, pantothenic acid, tocopherol, ellagic acid, polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids and oleic acid.
In folk medicines, the leaves extracts are usually taken by pregnant women to prevent the risk of miscarriages.
The leaf extracts of the African walnut (ukpa) can be used for regulating menstrual flow in women suffering from irregular menstruation.
The leaves extracts of the African walnut are taken to stop and relief constant and prolonged hiccups.
Also, the oil from the nut is used in the formulation of wood varnish, vulcanised oil for rubber and leather substitute.
That being said, let’s focus on the health benefits of the seed/fruit:
Walnut seeds have been reported effective for tackling male infertility issues by boosting sperm productions in the testicles.
Walnut is an excellent source of healthy polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. This has made it effective for reducing the body’s cholesterol level.
Walnuts contain antioxidants that are so powerful at free radical scavenging like polyphenols.
Research has shown that walnut polyphenols may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage.
Walnut polyphenols had the best efficacy among the nuts tested and also the highest lipoprotein-bound antioxidant activity.
These antioxidants can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging and also increase health span.
Walnut also contain antioxidants called alpha linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acid that serve as stress relieving agents.
Walnuts also contain melatonin, a hormone that induces and regulates sleep.
Walnuts also contain many plant chemicals, including tannin which helps to fight inflammation. Researchers have suggested that these chemicals may put the nut in position to help combat asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.