Kenaf the multipurpose plant we hardly talk about.
Scientific names: Hibiscus cannabinus
Local names: Bra, bito (Upper East), bri, bre (Upper West)
Hibiscus cannabinus is a single-stemmed, erect, and annual to perennial plant growing around 1.8 metres tall. The stems can become more or less woody and persistent. Kenaf provides food, medicines and a range of commodities. For 6,000 years, Kenaf has been cultivated as a fibre crop in Africa and the plant is now widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, for its fibre, as an oil crop and also as a food crop. Fibre, and oil are obtained from the seed, whilst the leaves are sold in local markets as a source of food and medicine. It is widely consumed by the people in the Northern part of Ghana.
Health and nutritional benefits of Kenaf
Kenaf plant is rich in zinc, manganese, iron, copper, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, nitrogen and phosphorus.
Shoots and young leaves cooked and used as a potherb or added to soups.
The seed are used in making cooking oil.
The juice of the flowers, mixed with sugar and black pepper, is used in the treatment of biliousness with acidity.
The seeds are aphrodisiac and stomachic (promotes digestion and increase appetite)
The seed promotes weight increase.
The leaves are used as a poultice on pains and bruises.
The leaves are purgative.
An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of coughs.
The leaves are used in the treatment of dysentery and bilious, blood and throat disorders.
The peelings from the stems can use in the treatment of anemia.
Kenaf soup Recipe
• 200 g kenaf leaves, clean with salt water and cut to desirable pieces
• 350 g raw groundnuts pounded to a rough texture
• 200 g grinded tomato
• 50 g fish powder
• 60 g dawadawa
• 15 g grinded hot pepper
• 180 g chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon of ground ginger
• 1 tablespoon of ground garlic (optional)
• 400g dry flaked guinea fowl
• Salt (to wash bito leaves and for soup to taste)
• 3500 ml water
- Wash and flaked guinea fowl into sections.
- Add grinded tomatoes hot pepper, ginger, garlic, salt and anion to the flaked and allow to simmer for 10minutes.
- Add pounded dawadawa and fish powder and allow to simmer for 2 more minutes
- Add pounded raw groundnut and some water and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- boil Kenaf leaves and drained some of the water because of the sour nature
- Add already boiled kenaf leaves to the already prepared guinea fowl source, stir occasionally and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
- Bring off fire
Serve with tuo zaafi, banku, akple, rice balls or serve alone.
The next time you are contemplating on what vegetable to add to your soup or stew, think of Kenaf as well.