|AFRAMOMUM MELEGUETA - ALLIGATOR PEPPER.|
Aframomum grana-paradisi, Alpinia grana-paradisi, Amomum melegueta.
Alligator pepper, atar, graines de paradis, grains of paradise, grana paradise, grani de Meleguetta, grani de paradiso, guinea grains, malagettapfeffer, malaguette, nengrekondre pepre, paradies kõrner, paradijs korrels, poivre de Guinée.
Zingerberaceae (Ginger family).
Alligator pepper is an herbaceous tropical perennial growing up to 5' tall; originally from West Africa, brought over to Surinam by the slaves.
It grows now abundantly in Suriname.
This plant has lanceolate leaves up to 9" long. The trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 - 7 cm long grayish - brown, wrinkled dried pods (capsules) containing the numerous very small seeds. These are almost oval in shape, hard, shiny, and have a reddish-brown color.
The important parts of this plant are the seeds and rhizomes; the small (3-4 mm =1/8") reddish - brown seeds have a pungent aroma with a pepper - like heat.
This much sought after spice is tempered with, among others, flavors reminiscing of hazelnut, butter and citrus.
The essential oil from grains of paradise consists of two sesquiterpenes, humelene and caryophyllene and the oxides of these.
It has an exotic tropical scent and flavor and is used for the production of beer, wine and spirits, and the flavoring of vinegar.
It is used in the Surinam cuisine to flavor dishes such as vegetables (okra and tomatoes recipes), soups (lentil and chicken) and fish recipes.
The rhizome of the plant is used medicinally and is also is an important part from the diet of Western lowland gorillas in Africa.
Used as a purgative, galactogogue (to increase production of breast milk), anthelmintic- and hemostatic agent (purifies the blood). It is also effective against schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
Further against intestinal infections, infestations; to calm indigestion and heartburn.
The seeds of Aframomum melegueta possess potent anti-inflammatory activity with a favorable gastric tolerability profile.
Aframomum may successfully be used to treat diseases where inflammation is in play like cardiovascular conditions, arthritis, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease.
There are some reports of the use of this pant as an aphrodisiac and testosterone booster.
It may also have anti estrogenic properties.
Aframomum may have a superior ability to counteract skin irritation.
It is used in West Africa for alleviating stomachache and diarrhea as well hypertension.
Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of alkaloids, cardio glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes, and oils, while the methanol fraction contains alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, and resins.
The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones such as (6)-paradol; the essential oils occur only in traces.
Also visit our Alligator pepper tincture page!
USDA zone 9 - 11.
Seeds and rhizomes.
Full sun / partial shade; well drained soil.
It needs high humidity.
Plant in frost free spots.
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