African traditional healers are known to put to use different plant species for medicinal reasons and one of them is the locust beans. For ages, traditional healers in Africa have found the bark, roots, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds of the locust beans useful in treating various health challenges including “parasitic infections, circulatory system disorders, such as arterial hypertension, and disorders of the respiratory system, digestive system and skin.”
In a study published in Science Journal based in Dakar, Senegal, “researchers tried out locust beans on rats to find out whether it actually has any impact on controlling blood pressure and the result obtained showed that adequate doses of locust beans helped to decrease arterial blood pressure.”
The findings showed “that the diastolic blood pressure measurement enjoyed more reduction than even the systolic blood pressure. It also revealed the many wonders of African locust bean tree. The pulverised bark of African locust bean tree, for instance, is employed in wound healing and serves as one of the ingredients that are used in treating leprosy.” This healing capacity is aside locust beans food value, of course, as it is a delicacy for some people.
Its yellow pulp, for instance, which contains the seeds, is naturally sweet “and is processed into a valuable carbohydrate food known as sikomu and daddawa among the Yoruba and Hausa people respectively.”
The beans can be found in diverse environments across the African continent, particularly West Africa. The most valuable parts of the locust bean are high in lipid (29%), protein (35%), carbohydrate (16%), and is a good source of fat and calcium for rural dwellers.