Xylopia aethiopica is an evergreen, aromatic tree, of the Annonaceae family that can grow up to 20m high. It is a native to the lowland rain forest and moist fringe forests in the savanna zones of Africa. The dried fruits of X. aethiopica (grains of Selim) are used as a spice and an herbal medicine.
Xylopia aethiopica possesses great nutritional and medicinal values and all the parts are useful medicinally. It contains copper, zinc, protein, camphene, manganese, alkaloids, Diter penic, Limonene, Folic acid, Flavanoid, Vitamins: A, B1, B2, C and E. The plant is said to contain anonaceine which is an alkaloid resembling morphine in action. The fruit contains a volatile aromatic oil, a fixed oil and rutin. It can be taken as a decoction, concoction or even chewed and swallowed for the management of various aches and pains. Xylopia aethiopica is used in the treatment of a number of diseases including cough, malaria, constipation, uterine fibroid and amenorrhea. The powdered fruits can be mixed with Shea butter and used as body creams.
According to an article in the Journal of King Saud University – Science Volume 30, Issue 4, October 2018 titled, ‘Essential oil of Xylopia aethiopica from Cameroon: Chemical composition, antiradical and in vitro antifungal activity against some mycotoxigenic fungi’ by Alphonse SokamteTeganga et al, the essential oil of X. aethiopica has a good antifungal activity which could be used effectively to control fungal growth.
An infusion of the plant’s bark or fruit has been useful in the treatment of bronchitis and dysenteric conditions, or as a mouthwash to treat toothaches. It has also been used as a medicine for biliousness and febrile pains. The bark, when steeped in palm wine, is used to treat asthma, stomach-aches and rheumatism. Staplefoods.org recommends the use of Negro pepper for its nutritional and medicinal properties