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Aframomum Melegueta also known as Grains of paradise is an herbaceous perennial

Image of Aframomum Melegueta plant at Google

Aframomum melegueta which is also known as Grains of paradise, nengrekondre pepre, alligator pepper, guinea grains, graines de paradis, atar, paradies kõrner, grani de Meleguetta, paradijs korrels, Grana paradise, poivre de Guinée, malaguette, Malagettapfeffer, grani de paradise belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae.

It is an herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to a height of 5 feet. The plant’s seed when ground gives a pungent smell and the flavor is similar to that of black pepper. It is a native of West Africa and Southern Ethiopia.

The flowers are purple in color and trumpet shaped. They develop pods that are 5 to 7 cm in length that have reddish brown seeds in them. The pods are grayish brown and wrinkled. The seeds are oval and shiny and hard. The plant has leaves that are lanceolate and the length is about 9″. This is a spice that is used well in Surinam cuisine. It is flavored along with hazelnut, butter and citrus usually.

The grains have essential oil. Medicinally, it is used as a purgative, galactogogue (production of milk during feeding time), anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic (it purifies blood), schistosomiasis (bilharzia) and hemostatic agent. It is also used to treat intestinal infections, infestations, to calm indigestion and heartburn. It is a folk medicine used for warming and digestive properties.

These are used even in veterinary practice and to give a fictitious strength to malt liquors, gin and cordials. It is used in flavoring beers, gins and Norwegian aquavit. This is also used in raw food diet and is known to be less irritating on stomach than black pepper.

Growing/Caring conditions for Aframomum melegueta:
– This plant can be propagated from seed.
– This plant can be propagated from rhizome parts more easily.
– The rust Puccinia aframomi has been observed so care should be taken from this rust.
– The seeds should be harvested when the fruit becomes red and mature.
– The plant is best grown in USDA zone 9 – 11.
– This plant need full sun to partial shade but prefers lots of sunshine.
– This plant needs well drained soil.
– It needs high humidity and hence it should be maintained.
– Plant in frost free spots.
– Mulch the plant to retain moisture.
– Seeds that are over watered are prone to rot and fail to germinate.
– Maintain evenly moist soil.

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