Aridan fruit (Tetrapleura tetraptera) is a flowering plant whose fruit is widely used in Nigeria for cooking (spice) and traditional medicine. The flowers that are sort of cream and pink in colour and tend to change to orange colour on maturity.
The aridan fruit hangs on stout stalks at the edges of the branches and they are characteristically brownish in colour. The fruit (pod) measures about 15 to 25 cm long and is distinguished by its 4 longitudinal ridges that are slightly curved.
The fruit is native to West Africa and is locally called aridan in Yoruba, Oshosho in Igbo and Dawo in Hausa.
Although aridan fruit is used as a spice in preparing many local dishes like meat pepper soup, palm kernel soup (banga soup or ofe akwu), nsala (white soup), fish pepper soup etc, it is more than just a spice as it has been seen to useful in both preventive and curative medicine.
It contains a high amount of essential phytochemicals and nutrients that are vital for the healthy functioning of the body. It is an excellent source of potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, flavonoids, phosphorus, tannins, alkaloids, saponins, steroids and phenolic compounds. It contains up to 234.42 to 379.48g/cal of food energy, 7.44% to 17.50% of crude protein and 4.98% – 20.36% of crude lipid.
Aridan pods can be used by crushing, grounding, grating or broken into tiny pieces before adding to food or medicinal purposes. The pod can be broken into two or added whole to food during preparation and scooped out from the food before serving.
For herbal medicines, the stem, bark, root, leaves and pods of aridan can be infused, boiled, soaked, squeezed, extracted, crushed or transformed into concoctions.
Medicinal Benefit of the Aridan fruit
Amazingly, the fruit can be dried and blended into powdered form for producing soap, this is because the plant is high in antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
The aridan fruit helps to promote soap foaming as well as its hardness. To make soap with aridan, the dried powdered herbs can be combined with shea butter, palm kernel oil or any other bases of choice.
This is because the saponin and ethanol extract from the stem and bark of this plant has an inhibitory effect on luteinizing hormone released by the pituitary gland.
Management of Leprosy
Research have shown that aridan fruit can be used for treating leprosy, which is an infectious disease that affects mainly the skin, nerves and the mucous membranes thereby causing blemishes and lumps on the skin.
Supports the Immune System
Being an excellent source of key vitamins such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc, aridan helps to strengthen the immune system.
Management of convulsion
In folk medicine, both the stem, leaves, and fruit of the dawo are used for producing herbal concoction for managing convulsion. Studies reveal that the aqueous extract of this plant exhibits anticonvulsant activities and this confirms it’s inhibitory effects on the central nervous system.
Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders
Studies have also shown that the fruit can be used for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting etc due to its constituents of phytochemicals.
Researchers reveal that water extracts and alcoholic mixture of the aridan fruit can inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. The presence of glycosides and tannins in ethanolic and water extracts of aridan have been proven effective for inhibiting the growth of bacteria.