Whenever 'mukombero' is mentioned, the first thing that rings in the minds of many Kenyans is 'cure for erectile dysfunction'. It might not be proven but from where it originates from, the Luyha community in Kakamega, it is given as a remedy to impotent men.
Now let's move away from that and focus on the root's other uses. According to an article on Slow Food Foundation, the roots (fresh or dried) are used to flavor food such as meat stews. When dried and powdered they are often mixed with porridge to increase appetite. Also, the root bark is chewed to simply freshen ones breathe; it is bitter but becomes sweet when chewed and emits a vanilla-lie aroma.
Aside from the roots, onother part of the mukombero plant that is edible is its leaves. Luyhas cook fresh leaves and eat them as vegetables. Dried and powdered leaves are used as a condiment.
In the Luyha community mukombero is consumed by people of all ages. Traditionally it was used as a sign of peace and power; people chew it for good luck before embarking on a tough journey or task.
Medicinally the plant is also widely used because it has healing properties. Herbalists use it to treat high blood pressure, stroke, anaemia, asthama, hangover and allergies. Other remedies include improving sleep, enhancing urination and easing birth pains.
Finally; scientifically the plant is known as Mondia whitei.
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