Okra (also known as Bhindi and ladies’ finger) is a mucilaginous seed pods (fruits) used as vegetable in India and Africa.
Botanically, it is Abelmoschus esculentus (Hibiscus Esculentus) and it belongs to MALVACEAE Family.
Unripe seedpods (fruits) contain mucilage substance, which is beneficial for increasing muscular strength and improving skin health.
|Scientific Name||ABELMOSCHUS ESCULENTUS (HIBISCUS ESCULENTUS)|
|Plant Family||MALVACEAE (MALLOWS)|
|Sanskrit Name||TINDISHA, PITALI, GANDHAMULA|
|English Name||OKRA, LADIES’ FINGER, EDIBLE HIBISCUS, OCKRO|
|Other Names||BENDI, RAMTURAI, DUK|
Botanical Classification (Taxonomy)
|Infra Kingdom||STREPTOPHYTA (land plants)|
|Division||TRACHEOPHYTA (TRACHEOPHYTES or Vascular Plants)|
|Sub Division||SPERMATOPHYTINA (SPERMATOPHYTES or Seed Plants)|
|Species||ABELMOSCHUS ESCULENTUS (OKRA)|
|Type of Plant||Perennial flowering plants|
|Native Range (Geographic Distribution)||India, North Africa, South Africa|
|Height (grows up to)||1 to 2 meter|
|Habitat (type of environment)||Warm temperate and tropical regions|
|Leaves||10–20 cm long having 5 to 7 palmate lobes and broad in shape|
|Flowers||4–8 cm in diameter with 5 light yellow petals|
|Fruits/Pods||5 to 10 cm long Fibrous fruits (seedpods) containing mucilage substance and white seeds|
|Seeds||Round and white seeds|
- Ripe Seeds (okra seeds)
- Immature capsules or Unripe fruits
Okra (Bhindi) has following healing properties.
- Emollient (softening and soothing effect on skin) – bland viscid mucilage
- Demulcent (soothes the inflamed skin) – bland viscid mucilage
- Aphrodisiac (mucilage substance in unripe pods)
Okra (Bhindi) is helpful in following health conditions.
- Chronic dysentery
Skin & Hairs
- Used as soothing and softening poultice
Kidney & Bladder
- Dysuria (painful urination)
- Gonorrheal cystitis
Okra Benefits & Medicinal Uses
Okra (Bhindi) is nutritious and healthy food used as vegetable in Indian and African recipes. It provides Vitamin A, C and K. 100 grams okra immature seedpods provide only 30 calories, so it is also a great weight loss food. It reduces cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis, so it is also beneficial for cardiac health.
100 grams okra contains 3.2 grams fiber content, which helps keeping digestive system healthy. It also contains mucilage substance, which softens the stools and lubricates the intestines. Thus, it helps in a proper peristalsis and movement of fecal matter through the gut.
Bland mucilage present in okra (bhindi) is beneficial in chronic dysentery. In this condition, cooked or raw pods are not used. Okra soup is more beneficial in the treatment of chronic dysentery.
You can prepare soup using raw okra and boil them in 200 ml water. Then simmer the water with okra and until water remains half. Now, add a pinch of black pepper, a slice of ginger, a pinch of long pepper and 1 to 2 grams nut grass powder. This remedy helps in acute as well as in chronic dysentery.
Dysuria (painful urination), Cystitis, Urethritis & Gonorrheal Cystitis
Okra mucilage substance also has anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial action. It is also diuretic, which means it can increase urine output. Due to these characteristics, it helps in almost all problems related to kidneys, urinary balder and urethra. It reduces inflammation of these organs, eases in a proper urination, and alleviates pain during urination.
According to recent researches, okra can help in diabetes by reducing blood sugar level. Okra seeds help in this matter.
Animal studies showed that okra seeds could reduce the glucose absorption, which could also lead to reduction in the blood sugar level.
There is no restriction for food amounts, but daily and regular consumption of a single food is not suggestible.
Okra (Bhindi) seeds are used for therapeutic purposes, so we should consider the dosage of okra seeds. The maximum of okra seed powder should not exceed from 5 grams a day.
Caution & Side Effects
Okra (Bhindi) as a vegetable is LIKELY SAFE in food amounts. You can eat it as cooked veggie or raw, but daily consumption may not be suitable for some people and can result in loss of appetite.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Okra as vegetable is LIKELY SAFE in pregnancy and breastfeeding. The information about safety profile of okra seeds in pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown, so be on safer side and avoid using okra seeds in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Okra seeds can interact with METFORMIN, a drug used in diabetes. Excess okra intake can reduce METFORMIN absorption and result in treatment failure, which ultimately lead to increased blood sugar level instead lowering it.