Tree by an African roadside.

The Benefits of Akuamma Seeds

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What if you discovered that a seed on a common tree near your house was useful for supporting wellness? Would you find a way to make this seed a part of your life? For many people living in West Africa, the Picralima nitida tree presents this kind of opportunity. Learn about the benefits of akuamma and the most common akuamma uses in traditional medicine.

The Wonder Seed of West Africa

Similar to kratom in Southeast Asia, the seeds of the akuamma tree (Picralima nitida) have long been used as a home remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Crushing the seeds and other parts of the plant, people in Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda have traditionally applied akuamma’s benefits for the following illnesses and ailments:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hypertension
  • Parasites
  • Malaria
  • Jaundice
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal disorders

While the benefits of akuamma are not yet famous in wellness hubs in the United States and abroad, studies from prestigious African researchers provide a strong case for including this herb in our wellness toolkits. Read on to learn more about this amazing plant and its research-based benefits for health.

Properties of Picralima Nitida

To begin with, the benefits of akuamma come from the plant’s many bioactive compounds, including:

  • Alkaloids
  • Tannins
  • Flavonoids
  • Polyphenols
  • Glycosides
  • Terpenoids
  • Protein
  • Steroids
  • Resins
  • Reducing sugars
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Oils
  • Minerals, including potassium, sodium, ferrous iron, and zinc

Of these chemicals and compounds, it is the alkaloids that have the primary influence on akuamma’s benefits. In fact, akuamma’s most abundant alkaloid, akuammine, is actually similar in its structure to Mitragynine — the primary alkaloid in Mitragyna speciosa!

Akuamma Is An Anti-Diarrheal

No one likes to get the runs, and in some cases, dysentery can even be deadly. Traditionally, West locals in Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, and
Uganda have sought to combat this uncomfortable condition with ground-up akuamma seeds.

In July 2020, an animal study was published that examined the benefits of akuamma in rats. What they found was that a methanol extract of the ground-up seed slowed the rats’ bowel movements after taking castor oil and also slowed the transit of charcoal meal. The akuamma extract at a dosage of 400 mg/kg was more effective than the standard drug loperamide for slowing and stopping the induced diarrhea.

Akuamma Is An Anti-Malarial

Malaria is a mosquito-borne parasitic disease that is common in subtropical and tropical climates and claims the lives of approximately 440,000 people each year (mostly in Africa). The deadliest strain of the disease is Plasmodium falciparum, which accounts for around 50% of malaria cases worldwide and nearly all of the deaths from malaria. This strain is now resistant to many of the drugs typically used to treat it.

An in vitro study published in 1994 examined the effects of an akuamma seed extract on two kinds of malaria: Plasmodium berghei berghei and Plasmodium falciparum. While the chosen extract of akuamma had no benefits for rats infected with P. berghei berghei “in vivo”, it slowed the growth of an “in vitro” culture of multi-drug-resistant human P. falciparum by 50% at a dose of 1.75 micrograms/ml. The researchers conclude that the results justify the traditional use of akuamma seeds for human malaria.

Akuamma In An Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic

Interest in akuamma and its benefits for pain initially exploded after a Ghanian hospital offered akuamma seed powder in capsules as a natural analgesic. After this encapsulated powder took off, researchers showed a new interest in studying the seed’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

One of the most well-known studies about using akuamma seeds for pain relief is an animal study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2002. In this trial, researchers studied the effects of the alkaloid pseudo-akuammagine in rats with carrageenan-induced paw edema and a rat tail-flick. What they found was that the alkaloid demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory action on paw inflammation and offered some pain relief via the opioid receptors in the brain. However, the alkaloid did not offer the same strength of pain relief as highly-potent plant-based opioids.

Other Uses of Akuamma Seeds

As a holistic remedy, akuamma offers a host of other benefits that we’ll briefly list for our readers here:

  • The aqueous extract of akuamma seed reduced blood pressure in rabbits. This effect was thought to be a result of the presence of cholinomimetic substances in the extract. 
  • Akuamma seed extracts were tested with a range of bacteria in vitro and found to be effective antibacterial agents against some pathogenic bacteria and several gram-negative bacilli
  • A methanolic extract, chloroform fraction, and methanol fraction of akuamma seeds were found to reduce gastric ulcers, decrease gastric acidity, and speed up gastric emptying in laboratory rats.
  • A peer-reviewed in vitro study found that akuamma extract demonstrated promising effects when cultured with the breast cancer cell line MCF-7. On the basis of their results with akuamma and three other African plant extracts, the researchers observed that “medicinal plants can be promising sources of putative anticancer agents.”

When you start to explore, each medicinal plant offers a host of benefits that science is only beginning to uncover. As always, please talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider before adding any new supplement or medication to your routine.

Fresh is Best

If you’ve decided to try akuamma and experience its benefits for yourself, it is essential to use akuamma seeds that are freshly packaged and haven’t lost moisture — as this can cause the active components to degrade. It’s also important not to use akuamma seeds if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as the seed has been observed to adversely affect the offspring of pregnant rodents.

At Kratora, we purchase extremely fresh akuamma seeds from local organic farmers in West Africa and package the seeds immediately to ensure optimum freshness for our customers. We offer both powdered seeds for convenience and time-saving as well as the whole seeds so that you can grind them yourself and enjoy the benefits of the akuamma seeds’ fresh natural oils and proteins.

Shop our akuamma seeds, kratom, and alternative products today to receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturdays (excluding holidays). Every order is eligible for Kratora rewards points and bonus points if you refer a friend!

FDA Disclaimer: Please note that the US FDA has not approved kratom to be sold for human consumption, sold for external use only. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. None of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.

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