Way back before it was cool to juice vegetables, i remember my mum used to do it without any fancy equipment especially when i was recovering from a bout of illness. Malaria was the most common culprit which always knocked me down time and time again. Whenever this happens, momma would go into action.
She’d get a handful of Ugu leaves, wash and steam it for a short while to extract the juice, strain the liquid and mix it with something sweet like malt (i’ve got a sweet tooth so i couldn’t take it ordinarily) then give it to me to drink. In a short while, i’d regain my strength and become my normal bubbly self. It got to a point where, i got so used to this drink that whenever i was feeling faint or looking Anemic, i’d beg to be given the juice mixture because it worked like magic….even way faster than refined drugs such as folic acid & vitamin B complex. Pumpkin leaf “Ugu” juice is packed with loads of nourishing goodness. It is often often taken plain or mixed with malt, ginger or fruits such as apple, pineapple, orange or grape to improve the flavor
Method 1: If you don’t have a blender, simply place the leaves in a pot, add water and heat it up for about 5 minutes. This is done to sterilize it and kill the germs.Turn off the burner and let it steep for a while in the hot water. Once it cools down, mix it with chilled malt, orange/ginger/grape/apple/ pineapple juice and serve.
Method 2: Instead of boiling, you could simply rinse with salt and place the leaves in a blender, add some water and blend. Strain out the juice and mix it with any of the drinks listed in method 1. Serve!
Health benefits of Pumpkin leaves:::
The Fluted pumpkin leaf (Telfairia occidentalis ) is known by different names across Africa. In Nigeria it is known as Ugu, In Ghana it is known as Krobonko, while people from Sierra Leone call it Gonugbe. Fluted pumpkin leaves is rich in potassium, calcium, iron and some Folic acid. it also contains a healthy amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fibre, riboflavin, Copper and Manganese.
• The anti-oxidants, such as alpha-carotene and Beta–carotene contained in it helps to slow down ageing process and also helps to eliminate free radicals which are responsible for cancerous growths.
• Carotene converts to vitamin A in the body. Aside from the vision benefits in Vitamin A that the leaves provide, there are also numerous skin benefits.
• The iron contained in the leaves helps to improve blood levels as well as prevent anemia. This means that the leaves is good for those with; Heavy menstrual periods, Pregnancy or childhood growth spurts, Poor absorption due to gut diseases such as, coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease, those who eat poor or restricted diets, those with red blood cell problems such as thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia and those with bone marrow problems and leukaemia.
• Vitamin C in the leaves helps to heal wounds, form scar tissue, maintain healthy bones, skin, and teeth.
• It is rich in vitamin E, which promotes a healthier skin and in turn slows down the aging of the skin.