He was very sick and all efforts to revive him proved abortive. The nurses and doctors said the red blood cells in his body had depleted, yet they kept him in their custody. Is he really going to die because he doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment? Lost in thought, a mother sat at the reception, hoping for a miracle that would revive her child.
Feeling empathy towards the mother, one of the nurses approached. ‘Madam, if you don’t mind, can I talk to you briefly?’ She startled the woman who was already lost in thought.
‘It’s been two days since your boy was admitted here and from all indications, he is very short of blood. Apparently, you cannot afford pants of blood but I am definite you can afford vegetable.’ She noted
Surprised at the unwarranted insinuations of the nurse, the woman busted into tears.
The nurse became confused as she was only trying to help. Finally, the woman spoke, ‘So this seems like a joke to you eh? What is the correlation between a sick patient and vegetable? You must think I have the luxury of time to talk’, she responded.
The nurse only smiled heartedly and tried to calm her while also educating her.
‘Actually Madam, I was not trying to make a joke. I am very sure you know Ugu?’ She chipped in.
‘Yes! What about it? She asked curiously.
Happy to oblige, the nurse continued. ‘Do you know that when you wash the leaves and squeeze it, then mix the extract with milk, it serves as a supplement for red blood cells in the body? And that if you do that continuously for few days, it can revive your son in the absence of blood transfusion?’ She asked.
‘So, you mean squeezing Ugu and mixing the extract with milk would restore the red blood cells in my son?’ She questioned.
‘Yes, ma! In fact, it would also make his skin fresh and he would not look pale again.’
Obviously relieved, she asked if she could take her son home. The nurse advised against it but suggested she can go and prepare it while she monitors her son’s status.
Immediately, she rushed home.
Interestingly, there were various plantations in her compound, from vegetables of different kinds to pepper, plantain, banana, sugarcane etc. So she went to the Ugu quarters and cut some leaves, rinsed them and started squeezing. Afterwards, she added milk into a bowl containing the extract from the Ugu leaves.
Everything was set. So she hurried back to the hospital, met with the nurse and administered the Ugu leaves extract mixed with milk to her son. She did this three times before the day ended.
Surprisingly, the following morning, her son was up and bubbling with energy. Not that he had any serious ailment but the injections and drugs he was given worsened his condition since his blood level was low.
Full of smiles, the woman said ‘So, we ended up paying hospital bills when the solution was right within!
Ugu is not only edible when prepared as a vegetable, there are other uses that are beneficial to the body. Also called Fluted pumpkin or pumpkin leaves and scientifically known as Telfairia Occidentalis, this vegetable is one of the nice vegetables that happen to be very low in calories, supplying just 26 Cal per 100g and it is free of saturated fats and cholesterol.
In fact, research shows that when the essential ingredients are very much intact, it has the capacity to increase the red blood cells within a short period of time after consumption. If you want to speed up the increase in the red corpuscles, you can mix it with beverages like malt drinks and milk. It is indeed a natural method to regain blood quickly.
What is more interesting about this vegetable is that aside its ability to grow almost anywhere, it is a very rich source of fibre, minerals, vitamins A, B6, C, protein, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese, anti-oxidants and vitamins, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants like lutein, xanthins and carotenes. When the fresh leaves are sliced and mixed with coconut water and salt, stored in a bottle, it is very effective for treating convulsion in ethnomedicine.