Bitter Leaf Plant

Benefits of the Bitter Leaf Plant

The benefits of the Bitter Leaf plant (not to be confused with Betel Leaf which also has awesome benefits) are incredibly amazing and make this a highly beneficial plant to have. It is a fantastic  plant to grow or at least have in your arsenal of go to healing plants. Based on it’s medicinal properties, this plant has many uses as a tea, in juice mixtures, antiseptic uses, soups and stews, as well as, as a salad or chewed fresh….. This African plant is a wonder when it comes to all of its medicinal benefits and uses. Keep reading to discover the various potential health benefits of this plant.

Bitter Leaf Plant



This shrub like plant is scientifically known as Vernonia Amygdalina, originating from the tropical regions of Africa. It is extremely popular in West Africa, where it is used in soups & stew, as well as, tea tonics, and as a medical aid in the form of an antiseptic dressing for cuts and wounds, among other uses.

Can I Grow This Plant or Does It Only Grow in Tropical Regions?

This plant is truly resilient and can be grown in various zones, including zones that experience wintery weather. Do keep in mind that if you live in one of the zones that do experience winter, you will have a dormant plant until spring comes around.

The best way to ensure that this plant survives winter is to make sure you have a well-established plant with very good drainage when it comes to the soil. Typically, this plant loves loamy soils, but will grow in any soil environment.

Although this plant is very resilient, it is possible to kill this plant especially if you over water it. All other factors considered, this plant is quite resilient and will survive almost any adverse condition.

If you want to err on the side of caution, then you can always have a potted cutting (yes, cutting is best as opposed to growing from seeds) of this plant growing indoors, especially when temperatures dip into the 30s (Fahrenheit).

Just so you know, in case you choose to grow this plant, there are a couple of pests that will eat the leaves. In my experience various pests from caterpillars to leaf hoppers have chosen to eat the leaves of this plant. Even snails have reportedly been attracted to this plant, so beware and be on the lookout for these pests as they can damage this plant greatly and in some cases spread disease (leaf spots, leaf curling, etc.).

This plant is capable of reaching heights of 17 ft and sometimes more. Bitter Leaf is a plant that is rich in various vitamins and is well-known and used for medicinal purposes in Africa.


What are the Health Benefits of Bitter Leaf Plant?

This plant is a great digestive aid and helps in the digestive process. So if you are often faced with digestive issues such as bloating and indigestion, then you may want to consider using the bitter leaf plant to settle those discomforts. Just be sure to brew it as a tea and do your best to skip the sweetener and drink it straight. Bitter leaf is all around great for amping your digestive juices and getting everything flowing smoothly.

This plant is fantastic when comes to aiding the liver and helping ensure that it is functions optimally and is in great health provided there are no pre-existing conditions, such as a liver that is already failing.

Regular use of this plant helps with the detoxification of various organs in the body, as well as, cleansing the blood.

It is also useful in clearing the body of parasitic infections. And curing or stopping various ailments such malaria (a mosquito transmitted disease that is often common in tropical areas) pain, headaches, diarrhea, etc.

The Good and the Bad

If you like bitter foods then drinking tea made from bitter leaves will not be an issue. Better yet you can simply chew the leaves raw and reap the benefits of the bitter leaf plant that way. But if you are trying it for the first time, a little nibble would save you from being completely taken aback by how bitter it is.

However,  if you absolutely detest all things bitter, then this plant may not be great for you as a tea. You can still reap the benefits of it though by doing the following: Blend 2-3 fresh leaves in your fruit smoothie or any smoothie for that matter. You can also, add some natural sweetener like raw honey or agave syrup to freshly brewed tea if you choose to take it in tea form. Or you can add it to your salad or greens in small quantities so it does not over power your mix.

The only con to this plant is the palatability – it is so bitter! I truly have not come across a more bitter plant. The first time I chewed the raw leaves, I had a very hard time making it through the chewing process. Fast forward almost a year later, I am growing this wonderful plant and enjoying its benefits. I prefer it in soups, but there are days when I prefer to eat the raw leaves, because I crave the bitter flavor…never thought I would ever say that (ex-sugarholic here!).

Other Health Benefits This Plant May Hold

This plant is also a good source of antioxidants, which have been known to get rid of free radicals. Therefore, this plant may prove very helpful in preventing various cancers, as well as, helping boost healthy cells in the body and keep them from becoming cancerous.

Because of its blood cleansing properties, this plant can also aid in preventing heart disease, as it capable of helping remove plaque from blood vessels and lowering cholesterol levels that create heart dis-ease.

Brewing the leaves of this plant and drinking it as a tea can also be helpful in lowering blood sugar levels and in turn reduce the risk of diabetes, as well as, stabilize  and better control the sugar levels of someone who is diabetic.

Bitter leaf is also good as a sleep aid, helping you get better rest through the night, by relaxing your body and mind.


Based on its medicinal uses and properties the Bitter Leaf Plant is a super versatile plant and is a fantastic plant to have in your arsenal of highly beneficial plants when it comes to maintaining good health. So, if at all possible,  make sure to include this herb in your rotation of health boosting herbs and foods in order to reap all the benefits held within it.

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 Disclaimer: Please note that the statements made in this article in regards to health benefits are done as a result of research and as always your doctor or personal physician should always be contacted in regards to any changes or implementations in addition to your regular treatment(s) to avoid any adverse effects or interactions with your medications. This is not meant as an article to give medical advice (I am not a doctor), but to purely inform the public of what is out there and various options that you may want to consider discussing with your physician.  

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