• Xylopia aethiopica is an ever green tree which is Native to West Africa, it is known as “Uda” by Igbos, “Kimba” by Hausas and “Erunje” by Yorubas.
  • In the South Eastern part of Nigeria, the plant’s fruit is an essential ingredient in preparation of local soups to aid new mothers in breastfeeding.
  • It is an important item of local trade throughout Africa as a spice, and flavouring for food and for medicine.

Phytochemical composition of the aqueous fruit extract of Xylopia aethiopica (O.O. Okwari et. al)

Constituents Aqueous
Alkaloids +
Cardiac glycosides ++
Saponins +
Flavonoids ++
Reducing sugars ++
Polyphenols +++
Tannins ++

Where: + = Presence, ++ = Presence in excess, +++ = Presence in much excess, – = Absence.

  • The fruit is sometimes put into jars of water for purification purposes (Wikipedia)
  • According to Grace Oluwakemi Babarinde and Gabriel O. Adegoke, The potential of X. aethiopica to retain antioxidant properties of tomato promises to reduce the problems of synthetic preservative in post harvest handling.
General structure of Xylopia aethiopica alkaloids


  • Xylopia aethiopica fruits are mostly used as condiments and ingredients in foods;
  • It is used in the preparation of special types of soup for the treatment of cold and catarrh; malaria fever
  • It is one of the main spices in the preparation made for women just delivered to assist in the cleansing of the womb
  • According to John Peter Fetse et. al, extracts of Xylopia aethiopica fruits are used in the treatment of cough, biliousness, bronchitis, rheumatism, dysentery, malaria, uterine fibroid and amenorrhea;
  • the fruits can also be crushed and mixed with Shea butter and used as body creams, cosmetic products or perfumes;
  • it has also been showed that the essential oil from the seeds of Xylopia aethiopica can be used in the formulation of shampoos due to its high saponification;
  • in Benin Republic, the dried fruits are commonly used as a constituent of extracts for bathing, and as a potion administered to new-borns
  • the seeds are crushed and applied topically on the forehead in the treatment of headache and neuralgia. It can also be taken as a decoction, concoction or even chewed and swallowed for the management of various aches and pains;
  • it has also been shown experimentally, that the seeds possess good anthelminthic activity against Nippostrongylus brasiliensis
  • various extracts of Xylopia aethiopica have also demonstrated some promise in its employment as an adjunct therapy in the management of sickle cell disease;
  • an oily extract of the seeds is used as a lotion for boils and eruptions, and as a liniment for lumbago. Traditional medical  practitioners and birth attendants use a decoction of the seeds to induce placental discharge postpartum due to its abortificient property
  • alkaloids isolated from the methanolic extracts of the aerial parts of Xylopia aethiopica include the oxoaporphine alkaloids, oxophoebine and liriodenine. Also, the alkaloids oxoglaucine, O-methylmoschatoline and lysicamine have been isolated from ethyl acetate extracts of the plant. Most of these alkaloids have demonstrated some cytotoxic effects in various studies;
  • aside the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities exhibited by Xylopia aethiopica, it has also been shown to possess anti-protozoan activity


  • According to Chinedu Imo, The fruit which is a pop­ular spice in Nigeria has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic properties,
  • the fruit extract of Xylopia aethiopica has been reported to be medicinal in the treatment of dysen­tery, oedema, and bronchitis;
  • it is also used in treatment of cough, as a carminative and some­times as a purgative;
  • the fruit extract could be used as anti-microbial agent against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.
  • it is also used for treating rheumatism as well as other inflammatory conditions.
  • it is also used as anti-helminthic and as analgesic for the treatment of chest pain.


Proximate Analysis of Xylopia aethiopica, Xylopia aethiopica (Fruit) O.A. Abolaji et. al

Moisture 16.04±1.25
Total ash 4.37±0.85
Crude fibre 12.14±0.70
Total fat 9.55±2.10
Crude protein 2.10±0.25
Total Carbohydrate 55.80±4.26

Mean ± S.D, n = 3

Mineral composition of Xylopia aethiopica fruits (ppm). Chinedu Imo,

Mineral Value
Magnesium 5.297 ± 0.0005
Calcium 12.773 ± 0.0010
Manganese 0.319 ± 0.0001
Chromium 0.226 ± 0.0004
Copper 0.075 ± 0.0006
Zinc 0.422 ± 0.0002
Iron 2.408 ± 0.0007
Potassium 6.270 ± 0.1500
Sodium 4.030 ± 0.1200
Phosphorus 1.090 ± 0.2700

Values are mean ± standard deviation of triplicate determination.

Total phenol, total carotenoid, vit C and E contents of Xylopia aethiopica Armand Abdou Bouba et. al

Total phenols (g GAeq/100 g) 12.7 ± 0.2i
Total carotenoids (g vit A eq/100 g) 5.7 ± 0.0d
Vit E (g α-tocopherol eq/100 g) 0.8 ± 0.0b
Vit C (g/100 g) 1.3 ± 0.0def

N = 6; means ± sd; values with different letters within a column are significantly different at 5% level

Vitamin composition of aqueous extract of Xylopia aethiopica; (O.O. Okwari et. al)

Compound µg/dl
Vitamin A 63.67 ± 0.04
Vitamin C 22.48 ± 0.02
Beta carotene 94.67 ± 0.41