Last Updated 01/07/2022

Uda seed (also commonly known as Negro pepper) is an aromatic spice with lots of amazing health benefits to offer.

Uda seed is known as Negro pepper or Grains of Selim in the English language, Erunje or Erinje in Yoruba language, Uda in Igbo language and Kimba in the Hausa language.

Uda seeds are not only commonly found in Nigeria but in other African countries like Ethiopia, Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, just to name a few.

Negro pepper (Uda seeds) has a wide range of  health benefits and uses including medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic uses. And every part of the  Uda plant including its leaves, seeds, stem and bark are all useful for one thing or the other.

This blog post explores everything you need to know about Uda seeds and more. 

uda seed picture

Uda seed in a bowl

Quick Facts About Negro pepper (uda seed)

Other names: Negro pepper,  grains of Selim, Ethiopian pepper,, Kani pepper, Moor pepper, Negro pepper, Senegal pepper, spice tree, many red-fingers, African pepper, Senegal Pepper, Xylopia and Uda Seeds.

Scientific Name: Xylopia aethiopica

Colours: Dark brown (Matured) and Green (Young)

Shape: Small cylindrical bean-pods like.

Taste: Sharp, intense taste with a little bitter aftertaste.

Uses of uda seed

  1. Can be used as a preservative.
  2. Used as food spice e.g it used in pepper soup recipe.
  3. Used as one of the ingredients for weevil repellent. 
  4. Used in conjunction with other spices to make creams, perfumes and other cosmetic products.

Uda Seed Benefits

Uda seeds boast of plenty of useful health benefits because of their rich phytochemical profile and antioxidant properties. Here are the health benefits of Uda seeds:

1. Promotes Weight loss

Regular use of uda seeds as a spice can help promote weight loss by boosting your metabolism and helping you eat less. 

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2. Bronchitis treatment

Uda seed is a potent natural solution that can be used to tackle the respiratory disease, bronchitis.

3. Asthma relief

Uda seeds are packed full of  anti-inflammatory compounds that can be effective in preventing asthmatic triggers and relieving asthma attacks. 

4. Treats other Respiratory Diseases

A couple of research studies have shown that Uda seed contains chemical compounds that help relieve other respiratory system diseases like common cold and bacterial pneumonia, just to name a few.

5. treatment of Digestive Issues

The anti-hepatotoxic and anti-bacterial action of Uda seed make is a useful tool in treating digestive issues such as dysentery and diarrhoea.

6. Relief Toothaches

Uda seed makes a great remedy for toothaches because of its anti-bacterial properties. As a matter of fact, Uda has long been used traditionally as a mouthwash.

7. Helps fight Rheumatism

Rheumatism or rheumatic disorders (as they are also called) is a general term used for any disease condition that causes chronic pain and inflammation in the muscles, joints connective tissue.

Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of uda seeds, it helps fight against rheumatism and associated pain.

8. Can help take care of Menstrual Problems

Uda seed has long been associated with the treatment of menstrual issues. In some places, Uda has been traditionally used in treating amenorrhea and improving menstrual blood flow. 

9. Can Help Prevents & Treat malaria

Uda seeds have been reported to help prevent and treat Malaria, all thanks to Uda seed's potent anti-malaria properties.

10. Great for treating Skin Issues 

Uda seeds have long been used traditionally to treat skin conditions such as itches, boils, pimples and so on.

11. Has Anti-spirochetal Properties

Uda seed has anti-spirochetal properties which can potentially help in treating infections like syphilis, yaws and others

12. Helps to Relief headache

Traditionally, crushed Uda seeds are topically applied on the forehead for the treatment of  headaches and neuralgia.

13. Helps in the Management of diabetes 

Uda is commonly used as a herbal treatment for diabetes.

14. Helps In Lactation

Crushed Uda seed is used by some lactating mothers to increase dmilk production and flow. 

15. may be Beneficial to Epileptic Patients

Uda Seeds either taken as a concoction or chewed raw are usually used in treating epilepsy and numbness.

16. Helps in treating anaemia.

Uda Seeds either taken as a concoction or chewed raw is also used in the traditional treatment of anaemia.

17. Has Anti-inflammatory Properties 

Uda seed is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which can help can help fight unwanted Inflammation in the body

18. Packed with Antioxidants Properties 

Uda seed is blessed with antioxidants in abundance, which helps fight free radicals damage in the body and helps prevents a wide range of sicknesses and diseases 

Side Effects of  Uda Seed (Negro Pepper)

  • Intake of  Uda seed can cause nausea or dizziness for some people 
  • Uda seeds can react with certain medications, be sure to consult with your doctor before taking uda seeds.
  • Prolong intake of Uda seed can lead to secondary infertility in men (according to a study in the International Journal of Scientific Research)
  • Uda seed intake has been reported to induce abortions. However, as of now, there is no scientific research that confirms this.
  • Indiscriminate intake of Negro pepper or its extract can be toxic to the liver and kidney.

Frequently Asked Questions About Uda Seed (Negro Pepper)

Here are the most common questions asked about Uda and quick answers:

What is UDA seed used for?

Uda seed is used for food seasoning and the making of traditional medicine. 

What is the health benefit of UDA?

Due to Uda's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Uda has a wide range of health benefits including the treatment of respiratory diseases, toothaches, skin issues, malaria, rheumatism and so on.

How use UDA seed for breast enlargement?

Unfortunately, there is no medical research that supports the use of  Uda seed for breast enlargement.

How can I use UDA to prevent pregnancy?

Drinking a glass of Uda water immediately after sexual intercourse with a man is said to help prevent pregnancy.

Is UDA good for fertility?

Uda is not good for fertility because research studies have shown Uda to have anti-fertility properties, especially in men. 

How to use UDA seed for pepper soup?

Blend your uda seed and add it into your boiling pepper soup pot. Cover pot and allow to boil on high heat for another 10 minutes. Wash and add your vegetable of choice (if using) and allow to boil for another 2 minutes. Your  pepper soup is ready.

How do I cook with UDA?

You cook with uda by blending it and adding it to your food as a spice.

Is UDA edible?

Uda is edible when you crush them and add them to your food as a spice. Note that uda has a slightly bitter taste and should be used in spice quantity. 


Abolaji O.A., Adebayo A. H, and Odesanmi O.S. (2007), Nutritional Qualities of three medical plants (Xylopia aethiopica, Blughia sapida, and Parinari polyandra), commonly used by pregnant women in some parts of Africa.

Puvanendran, S., Wickrammasinghe, A., Karunaratne, D.N., Carr, G., Wijesundara, D.S.A., Andersen, R. and Karunaratne,(2008), Antioxidant constituents from Xylopia championiiPharmaceutical Biology, 46(5): pp.352-354

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