Akanwu also known as potash in English, kanwa in Hausa or Kaun in Yoruba dialect is a natural mineral that has many health related uses to man. It is a type of lake salt, sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate that appears whitish or greyish in colour.
Akanwu is available in form of powder, granules and lumps. It has so many uses but only the health related uses of the powdered form of akanwu will be discussed in this article.
Constituents of Akanwu (Potash)
Akanwu is a mixture of different chemicalsand impurities, It’s always found in combined forms with other minerals. Chemicals and minerals including potassium, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, calcium etc are present. Sand and other impurities are also present in kaun.
Health Related Uses of Akanwu
Some of the health related uses of akanwu includes the following;
Granulated akanwu is a special food ingredient in some Nigerian local dishes.
It is used as a tenderising agent in local dishes preparations like yam porridge, abacha, ugba and nkwobi.
While making ewedu and okro soup, akanwu is added to boost the viscosity as well as to increase the greenness and texture of the vegetables. It is also used to soften beans, fiofio, akidi faster when cooking.
To Induce Abortion
Pregnant women are always advised not to eat foods prepared with akanwu because it induces abortion. Potash can actually cause miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy because it increases uterine contractility in women.
Locally, akanwu has been used to ease toothache. This is done by mixing water with grounded akanwu before applying on tooth to relieve toothache. However, it is best you visit a professional dentist to find out about the cause of the pain and the perfect treatment option.
Another important health related use of akanwu is in cough relief. Research shows that potash can act as an expectorant thus capable of curing cough.
Boost Breast Milk Production
Studies has proven that akanwu can increase breast milk production and quality after childbirth. For example, Hausa women use kanwa to prepare special porridge with millet and guinea corn which is often taken after childbirth to increase milk production.
Research shows that potash can as an antacid, thus can be used for constipation and flatulence relief.
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