Aidan fruit scientifically known as Tetrapleura tetraptera is a species of a flowering plant in the pea family native to West Africa.
It is popularly known in Ghana and Nigeria as Prekese and Uhio or Aridan respectively.
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The Aidan fruit is a pod reaped when ready from an Aidan tree, thus giving it name Aidan fruit. It is mostly seen in our Ghanaian dishes such as Palm nut soup, light soup and others.
They are commonly used for purposes such as flavoring of food, giving food a nice aroma, for medicinal purposes etc. it is a funny saying that goes like “It aroma makes it difficult to hide food when cooking and even after it's cooked.”
The potential use of these fruit with some of their corresponding phytochemicals has been identified as molluscidal, antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, toxic and insecticidal. The insect repellent aspect of the fruit is due to the essential oil content giving a distinct fragrance.
Its fragrance could be detected from a long distance due to its flavoring aroma that goes far. It has become an essential part of the West African dish that it has been transferred from old generations to today. Aidan fruit is not rare in most Ghanaians, Nigerians and other West African homes.
Before the aidan fruit is put to use it is thoroughly washed to get all bacteria’s off it skin. For excessive hygienic precautions, they are further smoked to kill bacteria’s in the fruit.
From this stage, it could be either cut into pieces or grinded into a powdery form. All these processes aid in the hygienic preparations of the fruit before use.
The fruit is not only used by Herbalist for their concoctions but also medical doctors inculcate it into the preparation of medicines. Sometimes people with no medical background boil aidan fruit together with other ingredients and drink as nutritional source. It has become a big part of our society that can never be forgotten.
Hypertension; The and the back of the Aidan tree could be used to treat hypertension.
Boost immune system; the Aidan fruit and plant are rich of vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc and other nutrients. The presence of for instance zinc provides protection against viruses, whiles potassium helps in managing muscle disorders. These and many other nutrients strengthen the immune system.
Treatment of leprosy; Some chemicals found in the aidan fruit and plant helps in the treatment of leprosy.
Seizure management; studies reveal that the aqueous plant extract from the fruit, stem and leaves of the aidan tree leads to anticonvulsant activities and affects the central nervous system.
These and many other uses including conceptive properties, wound healing properties, fever, postpartum care properties and many other properties that the fruit possesses.
However, the alarming rate of deforestation in Ghana puts this plant at risk of disappearing. Large areas of lands are turned into cocoa farms and other farming purposes. Also mining, deforestation and many other soil threatening activities are posing dangers to the plants.
Another challenge is that, the aidan tree does not do well in pure stand plantations so if measures are not put in place to protect them, they might become scarce in not less than twelve to fifteen years just like the other indigenous trees we see no more.