Vernonia amygdalina, a member of the daisy family, is a small shrub that grows in tropical Africa. V. amygdalina typically grows to a height of 2–5 m (6.6–16.4 ft). The leaves are elliptical and up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long. Its bark is rough. V. amygdalina is commonly called bitter leaf in English because of its bitter taste. African common names include grawa (Amharic), ewuro (Yoruba), etidot (Ibibio), onugbu (Igbo), ityuna (Tiv), oriwo (Edo), chusar-doki (Hausa), mululuza (Luganda), labwori (Acholi), olusia (Luo), and ndoleh (Cameroon).
The cooked leaves are a staple vegetable in soups and stews of various cultures throughout equatorial Africa.
The Tongwe use cold concoctions of this plant as a treatment for malaria, intestinal parasites, diarrhea, and stomach upset. For numerous African ethnic groups, a concoction of this plant is also a prescribed treatment for malarial fever, schistosomiasis, amoebic dysentery, and several other intestinal parasites and stomach aches.
In Nigeria, twigs and sticks from this plant are used as a chewing stick for dental hygiene and the stems are used for soap in Uganda.
- Ijeh II; Ejike CECC (2011). "Current perspectives on the medicinal potential of Vernonia amygdalina Del". J Med Plant Res. 5 (7): 1051–1061.
- Egedigwe CA (2010). Effect of dietary incorporation of Vernonia amygdalina and Vernonia colorata on blood lipid profile and relative organ weights in albino rats (Thesis). Department of Biochemistry, MOUAU, Nigeria.
- Kokwaro, John (2009). Medicinal Plants of East Africa 3rd ed. Nairobi, Kenya: University of Nairobi Press. ISBN 978-9966-846-84-6.
- Huffman, M.A., Seifu, M (1989). "Observations on the illness and consumption of a possibly medicinal plant Vernonia amygdalina (Del.), by a wild chimpanzee in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania". Primates. 30: 51–63. doi:10.1007/BF02381210.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)