Have you heard of Sand Paper leaves (Ficus exasperata) before?
Yes, there is a leaf called Sandpaper leaves.
The surface is as rough as sandpaper.
Some communities use it to clean the back of pots in the days of cooking with firewood.
It is used to treat a lot of ailments in many communities even though some uses have not been confirmed to be scientifically true.
Local names: Ewe ipin (Yoruba), Baure (Esan), Asesa ( Igbo).
Most of the time, communities are light years ahead in knowledge of the effectiveness of home or herbal remedies.
Let’s look at some of the traditional uses of Sandpaper leaves.
Different parts of Sandpaper such as the leaves, sap, root, root bark and stem are used to treat different ailments.
Numerous scientific studies have proven that sandpaper leaves have the following properties:
- Anti-inflammatory:- reduces inflammation or swelling
- Antiarthritic – relieve or prevent arthritic symptoms, such as joint pain or joint stiffness.
- Antinociceptive – Pain killer
- Anticonvulsant- control (prevent) seizures (convulsions) or stop an ongoing series of seizures.
- Anxiolytic: Reduces anxiety
- Antiulcer – prevent or treat ulcers
- Antipyretic – reduces fever
- Antimicrobial – kills microorganisms (microbicide) or stops their growth (bacteriostatic agent).
- Antidiabetic – prevent or control diabetes.
60 Health Benefits Of Sand Paper
Studies have shown that the leave extracts have the following properties
- Gastrointestinal protective effects,
- Diuretic activity
- Lipid-lowering effects:
A study demonstrated that adding sandpaper leaves to diet (either 10% or 20%) caused a significant (P<0.05) decrease in the plasma total cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
- Reduces hypertension: Sandpaper leaf is commonly used to manage high blood pressure because it helps the body get rid of excess water in the body. Also, Zobo a drink made from Hibiscus will equally lower hypertension. Reduced blood pressure and restoration of tissues of the blood vessels to almost normal levels have also been achieved using the leave extract
- Anti-inflammatory activity
- weak antipyretic activity
- Antitumor activity
- Inhibition against trypsin activity
- Control diabetes: Studies have shown that the leaf extract can cause a significant reduction in hyperglycemia, polyurea, and hyperlipidemia
- Wound healing. A study demonstrated that the wound healing property of sand paper leaves extract can be attributed to the antimicrobial activity which eliminates infection and allow the initiation of natural tissue repair processes. It also suggests the leaf extract may play useful role in accelerating the healing of old wounds by eradicating already established infection
A decoction of the leaves is taken for
- treatment of dysentery;
- For Severe headache, the head is washed with a decoction of the leaf
- diseases of the kidneys and urinary tract;
- respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, flu and asthma; hypertension.
- The young leaf is chewed and swallowed in case of gastric ulcers.
As a decoctions
- Treatment of urinary tract ailments
- Worm expeller
- The root is chewed in case of cough.
The root bark is used against eye problems.
- The body is rubbed with root scrapings as a tonic
- The wood ash or charcoal is applied on lesions caused by leprosy
Decoctions of the bark are used in the treatment of
- Spleen enlargement
- Heart problems.
- A maceration of the bark, combined with Senna occidentalis and Setaria megaphylla is taken to facilitate childbirth or to heal gonorrhoea.
Sap from the stem bark is used
- To stop bleeding,
- wound healing
- Eye ailments,
- removal of spines
The ash of burnt stem bark is sprinkled on wounds.
The stem bark is locally applied on the body for the treatment of malaria
Leaves and Young Stem
- Poison antidote
- Mouthwash against thrush, inflammation of the gums and other mouth and throat ailments. Scour the tongue and throat for the treatment of mouth and throat ailments.
- The abrasive leaf surface is used to scarify the skin to promote penetration of medicines,
Leaf pulp or sap is externally applied for the
- Treatment of eye ailments,
- Leprous Sores,
- Fungal Infections,
- Rheumatism, And Lumbar And Intercostal Pain. The Powder Of The Dried Leaf Is Sprinkled On Burns.
The fruit is eaten
- as a treatment of coughs
- venereal diseases.
- The dried and powdered fruit is added to porridge for the treatment of sterility in women.
- Water with the seed powder is drunk as a tonic in case of fever
Some traditional healers consider it corrosive to the skin and dangerous to ingest.
Pregnant women should not take this herb because it can induce contraction of the uterus.
How to use sandpaper leaves.
There are different ways of using sandpaper leaves.
- hand maceration,
For hypertension, you can simply squeeze the fresh leaves in water and take a glassful of Sand paper leaves juices three times a day.
Or you boil a teaspoon in a glass of water. Take 2 glassful daily.
It is very important that you have a good knowledge of hypertension.
Check our frequently asked questions on hypertension to learn more.
Urinary tract infection
Boil the root in water and take half a glass twice daily.
Gonorrhoea or Enlarged Spleen
Boil the bark in water and take half a glass three times a day for two weeks.
Every part of sandpaper is medicinal.
Even though there is not much scientific evidence to back up the claims.
Now that there is a growing interest in using medicinal plants to treat ailment and you can easily improve your health if you consider it as part of the your early morning tea.
The plant is very effective in treating a lot of ailments like hypertension.
More studies should be done on Sandpaper leaves due to its wide range of actions.
1. Victoria Nonyelum Umeh 1 et al. (2016) Wound-healing activity of the aqueous leaf extract and fractions of ficus exasperata (Moraceae) and its safety evaluation on Albino Rats, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411016302395 (Accessed: 25 November 2023).
2.E. Woode, R.A. Poku, G.K. Ainooson, E. Boakye-Gyasi, W.K. Abotsi, T.L. Mensah, et al.
An evaluation of the anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and antinociceptive effects of Ficus exasperata (Vahl) leaf extract
J Pharmacol Toxicol, 4 (2009), pp. 138-151
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