- Posted July 8, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
How does your culture use rice?
Medicinal uses of rice in Nigerian culture
Rice is being used in many part of the world for different purposes, some as food while some are medicinal. As a matter of fact, the use of rice as food is medicinal since food consumption in itself is not different from taking medicine.
Rice is believed by some to have medicinal properties. Although, this is not scientifically proven effective, it has been used in many countries for medicinal purpose according to health reports. For instance in Nigeria, Rice polishings-the bran-is extracted and used as an excellent source of Vitamin B to prevent and cure beri-beri.
In Malaysia, In the Medicinal Book of Malayan Medicine, it is prescribed that boiled rice "greens" can be used as an eye lotion and for use with acute inflammation of the inner body tissues. The book also recommends applying a mixture of dried, powdered rice on certain skin ailments, while in Cambodia, The hulls (husk) of mature rice plants are considered useful for treating dysentery. The hulls of a three-month old rice plant are thought to be diuretic.
Meanwhile in China, they believe rice strengthens the spleen, as well as "weak stomach," increases appetite, and cures indigestion. Dried sprouted rice grains were once used as an external medicine to aid in digestion, give tone to muscles, and expel gas from the stomach and intestines.
In India, Rice water is prescribed by the Pharmacopoeia of India as an ointment to counteract inflamed surface.
However, apart from the previously mentioned medicinal use of rice among Nigerians, for people in the south western region of Nigeria-the Yorubas, it is also used to produce a medicinal kind of pap called Gbangba, this is done by grinding the rice into liquid form, after this the liquid rice is cooked with lemon grass, lemon orange and grape. It is believed to have medicinal power that can cure malaria when served hot.
For people in the northern part of Nigeria, rice is an indispensable food, apart from mere cooking it which hardly happens, it is often used for producing tuwo or tuwoshinkafa-a rice flour made from the grinding of rice into powder form. This flour is however baked and made ready for consumption with the aid of delicious stew.
While preparing the soup, most of the times spices and other vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin, or okra are added to the soup. The stew is prepared with meat, which can include goat or cow meat but not pork due to Islamic religion restrictions. Beans, peanuts, and milk are also served as a complementary protein diet for the Hausa people.
For the Igbo people of the eastern part of Nigeria there is no much modification to the use of rice, it is cooked as either fried rice or jollof rice.