Prekese is a local Ghana name which refers to Tetrapleura tetraptera. It is an indigenous West Tropical Africa belonging to the family fabaceae. The plant can grow up to 20-25 metres tall. When fruits are matured, they turn brown and fall off. It is then dried before use. The fruit has a pungent aromatic odour attracting it as a key species in soup, stews as a herbal medicine, among others. Its usage is facilitated by its rich nutrients source such as lipids, protein, sugars, vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, sodium, copper, calcium, and antioxidants. Studies has proven that, the seeds, whole fruits and pulps of T. tetraptera comprises of varying degree of concentrations of vitamins and trace elements (iron, copper, manganese, cobalt, selenium, and zinc). It is not surprising that it is utilized in herbal medicine in African countries such as Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria.
EIGHT BENEFITS FOR CONSUMING T. TETRAPTERA
Several health benefits are associated with the consumption of T. tetraptera. However, eight of the importance of the usage T. tetraptera are outline below.
Prekese can be prepared as tea which is used for reduction in weight. In addition, the Prekese drink has the ability to cleanse the extra fats in our bodies.
FEVER AND ENEMA
A person recovering from a medical condition is often asked to put the fruit in water and bath with it, this gives fast relief from feverish conditions. Similar guide also helps people suffering from constipation, enema, and emetic.
An investigation on rats demonstrated that T. tetraptera contributes to controlling type 2 diabetes mellitus. Additionally, T. tetraptera fruit extract was beneficial in lowering blood glucose levels in both fasting and non-fasting conditions. Basically, it is used in Nigeria for the treatment of these situations as a folkloric medicine.
The liquid from the fruit is mostly used traditionally to heal complications such as diarrhoea, vomiting or stomach pain. The presence of phytochemicals is known to fight against gastrointestinal-related ailments.
The number of people living with hypertension and high blood pressure is predicted to be 1.56 billion worldwide by 2025.The alarming rate of this condition is partly attributed to lifestyle and dietary factors. This ranges from physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and tobacco use, and foods containing high levels of sodium resulting from processed and fatty foods. T. tetraptera has been identified as a powerful medicinal plant for curing blood pressure.
In conventional medicine, herbal mixture out of ingredients including stem, fruit, and leaves has a positive effect on treating convulsions. A survey by University of KwaZulu-Natal revealed that the aqueous extract (liquid) of the fruit encompasses anticonvulsant properties which is useful for epilepsy management and control among patients. Thus, slowing down the nervous system.
The fruit has an indestructible smell, due to which it is often used as a mosquito repellent and is effective too. This property is attributed to the presence of essential oils.
Edeminang pod is used as a supplement in the soup served to postpartum mothers to avoid contraction. The pods are rich in potassium, iron, and calcium, the three major ingredients required for postpartum women. The soup also helps produce milk in new mothers and helps to restore the lost blood.
PREPARATION OF HEALTHY PREKESE JUICE
- Cooking pot
- 3 medium-sized prekese
- Fresh ginger
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Honey (optional)
- Wash the prekese thoroughly, bruise it and break it into small pieces
- Pour water into a cooking pot and boil it over high heat.
- Soak the pieces of prekese in the warm water and cover them with a lid for at least 30 minutes and at most one hour. The longer it soaks, the more it releases all the juice and flavour from its pods.
- Squeeze juice out of the lemon, wash ginger and crush it.
- Add the lemon juice and crushed ginger to the soaked prekese and mix thoroughly.
- Leave it for about 30 minutes. This helps the ginger to infuse well in the juice.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the ginger stalk.
- Add honey to taste and stir properly until it dissolves.
- Pour the juice into a bowl or bottle and preferably place it in the fridge to chill.
- You can serve chilled or while hot.
T. tetraptera continues to provide many health benefits to many rural people through their foods and drinks. A section of them have adopted its juice as a normal breakfast tea in their various homes. However, its preparation, concentrations and quantities to be used remains unknown to many. This call for research to further deepen our understanding of this limited information. Hopefully, entrepreneurs could add value and take prekese drink to the next level and to enter the international market.