Okra or Lady’s Finger is a very common vegetable. Its botanical name is Abelmoschus Esculentus and belong to family Malvaceae. It is native to tropical Africa and now cultivated throughout India. The immature green, Okra or Bhindi(Hindi) are eaten as food vegetable. It is a healthy vegetable with lots of fibre, vitamins, calcium and folate.
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Okra contains high amount of pectin like mucilage. This mucilage has many medicinal properties and contains calcium, carbohydrates, flavonoids, saponins and coumarins. This sticky substance has stomach cytoprotective (protect the stomach mucosa against injury by increasing gastric mucous secretion) activity. Mucilage is also helpful in absorbing mucous waste of intestinal tract. It is laxative that is helpful in constipation. It can heal ulcers and also reduces acid reflux. Mucilage has ability to flush the toxic substance from body and controlling of bad cholesterol.
Okra has Antioxidant, Anti-ulcer Anti-cancer, Antimicrobial, Hypoglycemic, Hypolipidemic and Anti-diabetic properties.
Scientific name: Hibiscus esculentus, Abelmoschus esculentus
Kingdom: Plantae;Division: Magnoliophyta;Class: Magnoliopsida;Order: Malvales;Genus: Abelmoschus;Species: A.Esculentus
Bengali: Dhoras;Gujarati: Binda;Hindi: Bhindi;Kannada: Bendekayi;Malayalam: Venta;Marathi: Bhendi;Tamil: Ventai;Telegu: Bendakaya;Trade name: Lady’s finger
Okra Raw Nutrition Value per 100 g
|dietary fibres||3.2 g|
|Vitamin A||36µg (7%)|
|Thiamine(B1)||0.2 mg (17%)|
|Riboflavin(B2)||0.06 mg (5%)|
|Niacin (B3)||1 mg (7%)|
|Vitamin C||23 mg (28%)|
|Vitamin E||0.27 mg (2%)|
|Vitamin K||31.3 µg (30%)|
|iron||0.62 mg (5%)|
|magnesium||57 mg (16%)|
|potassium||299 mg (6%)|
|zinc||0.58 mg (6%)|
Percentages are related to US recommendations to for adults. (Source: USFDA database)
Medicinal uses of Okra or Lady’s finger fruit
Okra is Anti-Diabetic
Okra is an effective anti-diabetic herb. Diabetes, which is metabolic disorder is characterised by increase in blood sugar level. The increased blood sugar level has a negative effect on all body organs. It is very important to maintain blood sugar level in normal range. Okra or Bhindi can be helpful in doing so. Bhindi has hypoglycemic (lowering blood sugar level in blood) and hypolipidemic (reducing lipid concentrations in the serum) activities which causes lowering of increased blood sugar level in diabetes.
The aqueous extract of Okra has maximum anti-diabetic effect. For preparing the aqueous extract, few okra fruits are taken (5-7), washed and chopped. These cut pieces are soaked in water at night. Next morning, the pieces are squeezed so that the mucilage enters the water. This mucilage containing water is taken orally in morning, regularly for one month to control the elevated blood sugar level.
Okra Cures Constipation
Okra is rich in fibre and mucilage. The high fibre content makes okra a good laxative. Fibres causes sufficient level of water in stool and mucilage further softens bowel.
Okra for skin conditions
The okra has antimicrobial and emollient properties.
For psoriasis and burn injuries, the okra fruits are grinded to make paste. This paste is applied on affected area and kept for 2-3 hours. This should be done for fifteen days.