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Locust Beans for Fertility: A Natural Boon for Couples trying to conceive

[Updated On: December 6, 2023]

A 2022 study shows that Locust Beans
may be able to reduce sperm abnormalities and improve sperm quality, thanks to zinc and antioxidant content [1]

What are locust beans

African locust beans, also known as Iru, Ogiri, or Dawa Dawa, are the fermented seeds of the Parkia biglobosa tree. They are a common ingredient in West African cuisine and are used to add flavor and umami to soups, stews, and sauces.

Image of African locust beans for fertility

It’s also used for medicinal purposes in Africa and has been shown to have several pharmacological properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic effects, protective effective on s€x hormones.

Research shows that 100g of locust beans contains about 191mg of Vitamin C and 49,175 micrograms of carotenoids making it an antioxidant-rich food [2]. Vitamin C has been shown to protect against oxidative stress-induced cellular damage by scavenging reactive oxygen species [3].

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A comparative study suggests the intake of vitamin C and a carotenoid-rich diet may increase the fertilization rate [4]. Also, our body equally converts some of these carotenoids into vitamin A, which is essential for better vision and for the maintenance of the male genital tract and spermatogenesis [5].

What is more, the Locust bean is rich in Phenol, Carotenoids, and Ascorbic Acid which have antioxidant properties that play an important role in our body as they aid our bodily functions. Incorporating Parkia biglobosa into our diet may give us another opportunity to boost our body’s antioxidant activities.

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Locust Bean nutrition

Analysis shows that 100g of Parkia biglobosa has the following nutrients:

  • Protein 6.56%,
  • Fat 1.80%,
  • Crude Fibre 11.75%,
  • Carb 67.30%.
  • Carotenoids, 49,175ug
  • Ascorbic Acid 191.20mg

Locust Bean Major Bioactive compounds

  • Phytic acid 60.00mg
  • Saponins, 17.80mg
  • Tannins, 81.00mg
  • Phenols, 204.60mg
  • Hydrocyanic acid 17.30mg

Benefits of Locust Beans for fertility

1. Rich in antioxidants

In the aspects of reproduction, antioxidants play a crucial role, especially in scavenging free radicals that are detrimental to reproductive health. Studies on the beneficial impact of locust beans on fertility are ongoing. Some have linked it to its antioxidant composition, available data also suggest promising results especially mitigating between oxidative stress and reproductive parameters.

2. May boost sexual performance

Emerging reports suggest locust bean extract may boost testosterone levels, as a powder made from the pollen grain is reported to improve sexual performance when inhaled 2 hours before sexual intercourse.

However this, claim is based on anecdotal evidence from herbal experts, and is yet to be proven scientifically.

3. May Improve sperm quality

African locust beans are rich in fertility-boosting nutrients such as zinc and antioxidants which are vital for a healthy and functional sperm.

Evidence from several studies has shown that Parkia biglobosa seed can improve sperm quality, and reduce sperm abnormalities by its free radical scavenging properties, a process that enhances our body’s antioxidant defense

One of the studies was conducted on 24 adult male Wistar rats with KBrO3-induced sperm abnormalities. After 28 days of treatment with locust bean extract, sperm parameters were evaluated [1, 6].

The results show that Parkia biglobosa seed extract attenuated these effects in a dose-dependent manner by reducing the abnormalities. This suggests that Parkia biglobosa seed extract may be a potential treatment for male infertility.

Other evidence from studies shows that locust bean extract can protect the brain and testicular tissues against oxidative stress induced by streptozotocin by modulating serum testosterone concentration and enhancing the antioxidant defense system [7].

4. Useful ingredients for the treatment of infertility

Locust bean has a reputation for its role in treating fertility-related problems. In the West Bank area of Palestine for example, traditional healers use its extract in making herbal remedies used for the treatment of infertility in males and females [8]

To be precise powder made from locust bean pollen grain is reported to improve sexual performance when inhaled 2 hours before sexual intercourse, However, this lacks scientific backing as its mechanisms of action are unclear.

5. May prevent Imbalance of s£x hormones

A study that investigated the effect of African locust beans on potassium bromate-induced sex hormone perturbations in adult male rats found that the seed extract protective effect prevented s£x hormone dysregulation [9].

According to the study, 24 adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into four groups. Group A received distilled water. Groups B, C, and D received potassium bromate. Groups C and D also received African locust beans. The rats were treated for 28 days. Blood samples were collected from the rats.

Potassium bromate triggered an abnormal fluctuation in sex hormones leading to a decrease in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and testosterone in rats that didn’t receive lucost bean extract.

However, African locust bean extract prevented the disruptions in the balance of sex hormones in rats fed that given its seed extract.

Health benefits of daily intake of Lucost bean

African locust beans are a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium. They also contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic effects

Here are some of the benefits of African locust beans:

Improves gut health

African locust beans are a good source of prebiotics, which are fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria help to improve digestion, absorb nutrients, and boost the immune system.

Reduces inflammation

African locust beans contain compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. This can help to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

Lower blood sugar levels

African locust beans have been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This is likely due to their fiber content, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Boosts immunity

African locust beans are a good source of antioxidants, which help to protect cells from damage. This can help to boost the immune system and protect against infections.

In addition to these health benefits, African locust beans are also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They can be added to soups, stews, sauces, and even desserts.

How to prepare locust beans for use

Here are some tips for using African locust beans:

  • Soak the beans in water for at least 30 minutes before using them. This will help to soften them and make them easier to cook.
  • Grind the beans into a powder before using them. This will help to release their flavor and make them easier to incorporate into dishes.
  • Start with a small amount of beans and add more to taste. African locust beans have a strong flavor, so a little bit goes a long way.

Possibly Health Concerns

African locust beans are generally safe to eat for most people. However, there are a few potential health concerns that you should be aware of.

Allergies: African locust beans can cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms of an allergy to African locust beans can include hives, swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating African locust beans, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Overconsumption: Overeating African locust beans can cause digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. It is important to eat African locust beans in moderation.

Pregnant women: There is not enough research to determine whether African locust beans are safe for pregnant women. It is best to avoid eating African locust beans if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

People with kidney stones: African locust beans are high in oxalate, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. People with a history of kidney stones should talk to their doctor before eating African locust beans.

African locust beans are a safe and nutritious food for most people. However, it is important to be aware of the potential health concerns listed above and to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Locust Beans for Fertility: A Natural Boon for Couples trying to conceive
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