There is a vast variety of plants in Ghana which are used for either food or medicine. Occasionally these plants grow right in our backyards but unfortunately this is reducing due to rapid urbanization and climate changes. However, there is still a good chance you will find some of these herbs right in your vicinity.
Below are 5 common herbs that are commonly found in Ghana, their benefits and how you can use them for tea.
Hibiscus is easily one of the commonest herbs in Ghana. Its local name is Sobolo and you will find it in almost every marketplace. Hibiscus flowers produce a refreshing red tea which is mostly served chilled but can also be enjoyed as a warm brew. Hibiscus is known to promote good heart health and soothe an inflamed digestive tract. To prepare Hibiscus tea, add one teaspoon of dried hibiscus flowers to 250ml of boiling water. You can add spices such as cloves, ginger and sweeteners like honey or sugar if preferred. Strain and enjoy either warm or chilled.
Lemongrass is a sweet, scented grass that is also common in Ghana. In fact, most local tea companies have a lemongrass blend as part of their products. It is used traditionally to manage stomach discomfort and fever. To prepare Lemongrass tea cut a few stalks of the Lemongrass plant, remove the outer covering on the stalk and wash properly. Tie the stalks into a knot (because it is long, and you need it to fit into your cooking pot). Add about 500ml of water and boil for about 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy. You can add some ginger or honey or just enjoy it as is.
Moringa has been called the miracle tree and for good reason. It possesses a lot of health benefits and is a great addition to your diet. One of its popular benefits is its antioxidant activity which helps with cell repair in the body. Other benefits include it helps reduce blood sugar and blood cholesterol. Moringa leaves are usually sold as dried leaves or in powder form. Add one teaspoon of dried leaves to 250ml water and boil. As a powder, prepare based on manufacturers instruction.
The Senna plant is amazingly so common in Ghana. Natives mostly use it to manage constipation. At the marketplace you will find the leaves being sold in large sacks and sold in small bags per amount requested. Senna however should be used with caution as it can lead to rectal bleeding and dehydration if used excessively. To prepare Senna Tea add one teaspoon of dried leaves to 250ml freshly boiled water.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is gradually becoming scarce mostly due to urbanization, but many homes have it as potted plants. Aloe vera is a necessary plant for every household. The gel is for the skin, it promotes wound healing, moisturizes the skin and reduces the risk of infection. The juice made from the gel can be used as a remedy for peptic ulcer and irritable bowel syndrome. To make Aloe vera juice, blend two tablespoons of clear Aloe vera gel with 500ml of water. You can add some fruit and ice to create a refreshing drink.
The standard quantity for preparation is one teaspoon of dried herbs or two teaspoons of fresh herbs to 250ml of water. Nature offers healing and plants are no exception. Take advantage of the ease of availability of these local herbs and make yourself an tasty cup of tea.