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The African locust beans
13-05-2016, 06:54
Post: #1
The African locust beans
The African locust beans (Parkia biglobosa, (Jacq.) G. Don) is a member of the leguminoseae family. The tree is a 7–20 m tall perennial deciduous tree named Parkia Biglobosa after Mungo Park, Scot who made two remarkable journeys of exploration into the interior of West Africa (Adewumi and Igbeka 1993; Audu et al. 2004) The multipurpose tree has seeds with a hard testa and these seeds are large with a mean weight of about 0.3 g/seed and the cotyledons form about 70% of the weight. These seeds are borne in pods that may carry up to 30 seeds embedded in a yellow pericarp and the colour of these pods change from pink brown to dark brown as maturity sets in. The tree also bears alternate, dark green bipinate leaves and hermaphrodite flowers. The seeds are brown-blackish. Each seed has a 0.5–1 cm funicle, spherical-ovoid and slightly compressed laterally. The testa is hard, smooth and glossy. Seed size varies within pod, with those at the centre being largest. It is widely used for its remarkable nutritional value and the dietary value it contains. The seeds are rich in protein, lipids and vitamin B2 and when fermented are rich in lysine. The fat in the beans is nutritionally useful (approximately 60% unsaturated). The seeds are which are particularly valued for their high protein are fermented for cooking. Fermented locust beans are commonly used in soups and stews. The embedding yellow pulp of the seeds sometimes called dozim which have a high energy value is used as a sweetener as it contains 60% sugar (Audu et al. 2004) It is also supposedly a water purifier and is taken for fevers. The fruit is a source of food during drought. The leaves are edible and sometimes mixed with cereal and are added in lotions for sore eyes burns, haemorrhoids and toothache. Medicinally, the bark is used as a mouthwash and also macerated in baths to cure leprosy. It is also used for a wide range of ailments such as malaria diarrhoea, jaundice and so on (Audu et al. 2004). The tree is a good source of timber though is rapidly spoiled by pests.
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