The wildernesses of Africa hold a wealth of healing herbs. In the countries of Sudan, Tanzania, Senegal, Congo, and many others, a certain towering tree— which can quickly grow to be 170 feet tall!— is widely known for being a wealth of natural healing medicine on its very own.
Many parts of the tree are used for a wide variety of health purposes in folk healing, even still today. It’s also called by many different local names: djansang, akpi, njangsa, njansang, bofeko, and others. Regardless of what it is called or where it grows, the different names for this tree, its healing properties, and the varying plant parts used for healing (seeds, bark, root) all belong to one genus, collectively known as Ricinodendron.
Never heard of this powerful medicinal tree (and especially its popular health-boosting seeds)?
Or maybe you’ve already heard a bit about Akpi seeds but want to learn more. If so, you’ve come to the right place— read on!
What is djansang?
Djansang is only one of the many names for this common African tree, which you can find growing as several different species all over the continent (also in Liberia, Angola, Mozambique, Zaire, Uganda…the list goes on!)
We’ve already touched on a few, like akpi (or akpi seeds) and njangsa. But there are many others, like kishongo, wama, essessang, munguella, and even okhuen in Nigeria. This is just more proof of how widely popular, effective, and beloved this herbal tree remedy truly is, with a unique name for djansang found in almost every African country.
These trees don’t only grow to be incredibly tall, but incredibly wide, too. Mature trees may have a trunk with a diameter of around 8 feet— that’s enormous! There are either male or female trees and both flower around April or May.
For seeds to be produced from the flowers, the pollen from a male tree needs to fertilize the flowers from a female tree. While many parts of the djansang or akpi tree are used for health purposes, by far, the most-used part for food and medicine is the seeds.
What are akpi seeds?
Djansang or akpi seeds have a ton of flavor! These chickpea-like seeds in appearance are usually harvested, extracted, dried, and then ground into a type of seasoning or spice for cooking. Still, they’re also bursting with healthy compounds and healing benefits. Some common dishes akpi or djansang seeds are added to are peanut sauces, meat, seafood, and sauces.
Before the seeds can be used, they’re extracted from the djansang fruit, which looks a little bit like a small unripe pear or green loquat, but more kidney-shaped. When the fruits are in season, they’re harvested from the tree and left to rot for a little while, making their flesh easier to separate from the seeds.
Next, the actual usable part of the seed is accessed by cracking open the whole seeds pulled from the flesh. When dried and ground, they have a very impressive shelf life for cooking and medicine for many years and years to come, if stored correctly.
Health benefits of djansang seeds
“Food as medicine” describes djansang or akpi seeds perfectly. They don’t just taste good when used as a culinary spice— they’re also rich in compounds that bring healing, restoration, and better health to many bodily systems when added to foods or used as medicinal preparations (like teas, washes, etc.)
Including but not limited to:
- Stimulating appetite in the weak or sick supporting anemia
- Moisturizing and healing skin (lotion ingredient)
- Reducing hormone-caused acne (in women)
- Treating or breaking mild fevers (especially in infants)
- Reducing minor infections (such as eye infections)
- Gentle laxative for constipation
- Healing pain and inflammation of rheumatism
- Improving energy, aphrodisiac qualities
- Relieving menstrual pain or cramping
- Supporting healthy childbirth and post-natal care
- Increasing fertility and reducing miscarriage risk
- Helping manage menopause symptoms
- Managing symptoms of STD’s
- Boosting tissue, strength, and size of buttocks, hips, breasts
Cosmetic benefits of akpi seeds
Both eating djansang seeds and topical preparations help women produce a lot more estrogen, thanks to a high presence of phytoestrogens. The more estrogen women produce, the more natural (and healthy!) fats are produced and stored in the hips, breasts, and buttocks to give you that voluptuous, sexy figure you’ve always wanted (and spice up those bedroom benefits, too).
Women also get the added effects of better fertility, smoother periods, and potentially less pain and cramping with help from these tasty seeds!
The benefits of akpi seeds or djansang work differently for men, thanks to their different set of hormones. No, consuming akpi seeds or using them topically in a lotion WILL NOT give you curves if you are a man (thankfully)! Instead, djansang is said to have benefits to the male organ directly by increasing size and appearance and stamina, energy, and desire.
There are so many reasons why you will enjoy akpi seeds. They bring amazing flavor to the kitchen for your cooking, and their many health properties can have an almost tonic effect on your body in many ways (especially for women and their hormones).
The benefits akpi seeds bring to the bedroom and intimate wellness, however— whether male or female— is their greatest gift of all, especially when it comes to their benefits to outer beauty and enhancing your romantic life with help from a little boost. In both appearance and confidence!