African plant Orka? is a Great source of protein
African Names — Akan (Twi): nkruman, nkruma (okra); Bantu: ki ngombo, ngumbo, gombo; Congo, Angola: quillobo, ki ngombo;
Botanical Name — Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench
The common okra, Abelmoschus esculentus, grows in the whole of tropical Africa, whereas West African okra, Abelmoschus manihot (L.) Medik is a cultigen occurring mainly in West and Central Africa. Okra is also part of the bamileke tribe diet.
The decoction of okra fruits is used to treat various conditions, such as gonorrhea, catarrhal infections, and dysuria. It can also be used as a blood volume expander or plasma replacement. The seeds from hard and mature capsules are stimulant, antispasmodic, and cordial.
The seeds from this plant have a variety of properties, such as their ability to stimulate the development of new neurons. They can also be used in various forms of poultices, including as an antiscorbate, an emollient, or a sudorific.
The immature leaves and fruits are eaten in various ways. The dried or fresh fruits are commonly used in soups, while the leaves are used as a potherb. The mucilage is also utilized as a raw material for industrial purposes.
Compared to other fleshy vegetables, such as tomatoes and eggplants, okra is rich in both ascorbic acid and Ca. Its seed meal is also high in protein, which is why it is referred to as a protein source by the UN. The amino acids present in the seed protein of okra are equal to or exceed those found in casein and eggs.
The seed protein of okra is similar to that of soybean protein. It also has a 20% oil content, which is similar to that of cottonseed oil. The seeds are full of phenolic compounds, such as oligomeric catechin compounds and flavonol derivatives.
The skin's composition is characterized by the presence of quercetin and hydroxycinnamic derivatives. Okra is considered a good source of food fortification due to its high nutrient content. It has also been used as a treatment for diabetes and duodenal ulcers. The mucilage of okra has been shown to inhibit the adhesion of Helicobacter to human gastric tissue. Its leaves and fruit have antioxidant properties.
It has been known that the phenolic content of okra seeds is related to their antioxidant activity. In studies, it has been shown that roasting the seeds at 160 degrees Celsius for around 40 minutes increased the okra seed flour's antioxidant activity. This activity was determined by free radical scavenging. A methanolic extract obtained from the seeds of okra was also shown to exert antihypoxiaic effects in two different mouse models.