Aframomum Melegueta extract , according to wikipedia, is a herbaceous perennial plant native to swampy habitats along the West African coast. Its trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 to 7 cm long pods containing numerous small, reddish-brown seeds. Popularly referred to as grains of paradise, melegueta pepper, and alligator pepper, aframomum melegueta is among the species that belong in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. It is natively found in many of South Africa's west coast, most abundantly in the countries of Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, and Nigeria.
Grains of Paradise have been traded since the 9th century, and were very popular in Europe. They come from West Africa and were taken across the Sahara Desert by intrepid spice traders. They were used as a pepper substitute as they were cheaper than peppercorns, although now they are a rare commodity in Europe, and more expensive than pepper. There are actually two plants which produce these seeds or grains,Aframomum melegueta and Aframomum granum paradisi. They are also known as Guinea grains and Alligator pepper. The seeds are red-brown and have irregular shapes.
For centuries, aframomum melegueta has been used in South Africa to treat a variety of physical ailments that include stomach aches, snake bites, diarrhea, cough, colitis, bronchitis, syphilis, colds and rheumatism - hence it's given the name grains of paradise. Additionally, it has also been reported to have significant amounts of gingerol and other related compounds that make it an efficient medication against many cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.
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