Ugba and its many health benefits

Ugba, otherwise known  as Ukpaka is a fermented traditional food condiment common among the south eastern tribe.

It is a black, hard and woody pod measuring about 35-36cm long and 5-10cm wide.

African as a continent is blessed with nutrients and resources more than we can ever imagine.

However, the lack of awareness of these nutrients sometimes make us lose the opportunities that would make our health better. One of such nutrients is Ugba.

Interestingly, while few farmers in the eastern part of Nigeria plant the exotic oil bean,  women in the community acquire their means of lively hood through the task of breaking the shell of Ugba. 

The fermentation process varies from community to community.

Firstly, the seeds are boiled in water for 16-18 hours to remove the strong and rough testa after which the cotyledon is sliced and boiled for another 30 minutes .

Finally the sliced cotyledon are washed in  a clean, water. “it does go well with tapioca,stock fish, garden egg leaves, kola nuts.

How to prepare ugba

The following ingredients are needed to prepare ugba. They are; Ugba, garden egg leaves, stockfish.

Others include; red palm oil, pepper, pomo( cow skin), stock fish, crayfish, salt, onions, garden egg leaves, dry fish, powdered potash, ogiri igbo(seasoning), stock cube.


  1. Rinse the ugba and drain in a sieve.
  2. Cook the stock fish and pomo, slice them into smaller pieces ,
  3. Dissolve the potash in  water and set side
  4. Slice the pepper and onions and garden egg leaves.
  5. Break the crayfish and smoked fish into small pieces
  6. Pour the palm oil in a pot and melt
  7. . Then, slowly pour the edible potash solution and stir
  8. Once it becomes thick, add ogiri igbo, grounded crayfish, smoked fish, stock fish, pomo and stir
  9. Put thepot on  stove, add ugba, pepper and the stock from cooking the pomo and stock fish
  10. Stir until it is properly combined, then add salt to taste.

Health Benefits and Uses

Ugba is fully packed with many benefits. Asides from the fact that it is rich in potassium, amino acids, iron ,vitamin, phosphorus copper and manganese.

It also has an excellent source of phyto nutrients that are crucial to the  nutritional health of humans.

These phyto nutrients include glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, alkaloid and sterols.

Its richness in amino acids, fatty acid, protein minerals are essential for the production of animal feeds which enhances continuous breeding of healthy animals.

Another good thing about the African oil bean is that both the back and seed can b e used to produce local soap and ointment for skin treatment, itches.

This vitamin components in the seed rejuvenates and feeds the skin to achieve utmost beauty result.

Its oil extract can also be used in making candles, cooking oil. While the edible seeds can serve as decoration items, for bead making and other crafts.

In the same vein, it is used in preparing numerous African dishes as it adds a fresh and earthy taste to the food. It can be prepared with Abacha, cow leg, sausage, porridge and Okporopo soups.

With all these and more benefits, it can be deduced that Africa is indeed a blessed continent.

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