What is Aframomum melegueta?
Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta), also known as the melegueta pepper, is a member of the ginger and turmeric family. It has a taste reminiscent of black peppers but with a little bit of citrusy touch. This aromatic plant will bear pods that start off green before becoming red, signaling that it is now ready for harvest. Once harvested, the red pods are dried for about one week before it is opened to reveal the thousands of golden red-brown seeds that can now be used as a spice, either grounded or whole.
Origin of Aframomum melegueta
Grains of Paradise originated from West Africa, with Ghana as its largest producer and exporter. It used to be a popular spice even in European countries when camel caravans reached Sicily and parts of Italy. The caravans introduced the spice as African pepper, but Europeans renamed it to its current name, “Grains of Paradise”. It was a spice of choice until the 19th century, until more accessible substitutes became available, like black pepper and nutmeg. The spice, however, continues to prove its worth as a subtler but more complex substitute to cardamom, ginger, and citrus in West Africa and in some areas of North Africa.
How does it work ?
Chemicals in the seeds of grains of paradise seem to decrease swelling (inflammation), kill certain bacteria, and help burn body fat.
Health Benefits of Aframomum melegueta
Like many other herbal products, this spice holds a lot of health benefits to it. Some of which are:
Grains of paradise are high in phenolic compounds. These are natural antimicrobials. Studies on the extract from grains of paradise have shown that these compounds can inhibit the growth of Salmonella and Staphylococcus—two dangerous microbial pathogens. You can take small amounts of grains of paradise simply to ward off infection.
- Gastrointestinal problems
Grains of paradise can be used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. Historically, grains of paradise have been found effective in treating stomach pain, ulcers, diarrhea, and worms.
- Heals Wounds
Traditionally the seeds are crushed and prepared in a brew that is used to heal wounds. It is now known that the astringent properties of grains of paradise do in fact help wounds heal faster and resist infection.
Grains of paradise are rich in phytonutrients such as terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, cardiac glycosides, saponin, and phenolic compounds. All of these chemicals work as powerful antioxidants that bind with free radicals in the body to help prevent cancer and reduce the inflammation that leads to other degenerative conditions. Again, grains of paradise have been traditionally used to treat conditions that we now know are caused by inflammation, but scientific research has borne out this practice. Grains of paradise are loaded with antioxidants.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is a natural and necessary physical response to some kind of irritation in the body. Infection and injuries will cause inflammation as the body works to heal these conditions. However, when inflammation becomes a chronic condition it leads to debilitating problems like arthritis. Because grains of paradise contains things like gingerol that work the synthesis of biochemicals associated with inflammation, they provide a real benefit for alleviating things like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Analgesic Properties
Grains of paradise also work as an effective analgesic. By making an aqueous extract from the seeds after they have been macerated, you can make a tincture that is highly effective for ordinary pains. You can use grains of paradise to treat joint pain, toothaches, stomach pain, and the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Weight Loss
In addition to these benefits, grains of paradise are also a great stimulant. Like caffeine, grains of paradise can give you quite a pick-up which is one reason grains of paradise have found their way into sports and workout supplements. This stimulant effect also helps burn calories and give you energy for your workout.
To get a better idea of how grains of paradise help you lose weight we need to understand what we mean when we talk about fat in the body. There are two forms of fat, or adipose tissue: white and brown. White adipose tissue is characterized by large round cells that are filled with drops of lipids or fats. White adipose cells store these lipids to be used as energy when you have not eaten and provided your body with available sources of energy. White adipose tissue tends to be stored on the waist and thighs.
Brown adipose tissue is smaller. The diminished diameter of brown adipose tissue means it can only store small amounts of lipids. This is the kind of body tissue that functions primarily to insulate the body and keep us warm. For this reason, in cold weather brown adipose tissue tends to become depleted and this leads to shivering. Babies do not generally shiver because they have far more brown adipose tissue than adults. Brown adipose tissue is found largely around the neck.
Clinical trials have shown that grains of paradise extract and reduce white adipose tissue at the cellular level. This is to say that grains of paradise actually cut down the number of cells in white adipose tissue so that there is not as much space to store fats. By doing this, grains of paradise transform white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue. In this way, grains of paradise changes the way your body stores fat and reduces the available space for your body to retain fat. Grains of paradise help you lose weight and keep it off.
Finally, anecdotal information suggests that grains of paradise work as an aphrodisiac. If the powerful therapeutic effects are not enough, grains of paradise may actually improve your love life.
Grains of Paradise side effects
Grains of paradise is quite similar to things like ginger and turmeric. They have little or no side effects in adults. Children who consume grains of paradise may experience irritation of the stomach, intestine, and urinary system. It is best to be cautious about letting children consume grains of paradise.
Little is known about how grains of paradise may affect women who are pregnant or nursing.
Nutrition of Aframomum melegueta
It is important to keep in mind that the benefits of grains of paradise are not in the nutrition as much as they are found in the chemical makeup of the plant. We will get to these healthier benefits below. For basic nutrition information, a serving size of 5 grams, and based on a 2000 daily calorie count, the Grains of Paradise contains 0% carbs and 0% protein, with a 5kcal count. It also contains 2% calcium and has 19mg sodium.
The proper dose of grains of paradise depends on a number of factors. Your age, health, and health conditions need to be taken into account before you use grains of paradise for medicinal purposes. Also, grains of paradise are a plant-based herbal supplement and the concentrations of the active chemicals can vary from one harvest to another.
As a general rule, about 30 mg of dried grains of paradise is the best place to start. You can go up to 80 mg but be careful not to exceed this since you may experience stomach upset.
If you are interested, please feel free to contact XI’AN AOGU BIOTECH !
XI’AN AOGU BIOTECH CO.,LTD is devoted into the research and innovation in natural nutritional supplements ingredients. Our own factory and lab with the strict quality control system to ensure quality stability and real price of Aframomum melegueta extract. At the same time, we have our own source for the raw material to make sure the production ability.