Utazi Leaf: Simple Facts, Uses You Want To Know


Utazi (Gongronema latifolium), commonly known as Utazi by the Igbos, Arokeke  by the Yoruba’s, Utasi by the Ibibio tribes of Nigeria.

Is a vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, like ugu (fluted pumpkin), water leaf, scent leaf etc. its used in soup, stew and sauce.

Based on the 2009 Angiosperm Phylogenetic Group III (APG III) classification, Gongronema latifolium Benth is in the Apocynaceae family. 

Utazi is native to West Africa and is commonly found in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon.


Utazi is a leafy green plant defined by its large, glossy, dark green leaves. 

The leaves are aromatic and have a slightly bitter flavour. 

They are heart-shaped and have sharp edges. 

When fully grown, the plant can grow as a shrub or vine and reach heights of up to five meters. 

A climbing shrub with a woody base, hollow stems, and fleshy roots. 

A milky latex or exudate is produced by the soft, hairy stems. 

Nutritional  Information

Proximate composition of dry milled Utazi

Crude protein 27.2%
Lipid extract6.07%
Ash 11.6%
Crude fiber 10.8%
Potassium332 mg/kg
Sodium 110 mg/kg
Calcium115 mg/kg
Phosphorus125 mg/kg
Cobalt116 mg/kg

Source: National library of medicine


For food

Utazi leaves are a common ingredient in traditional Nigerian cuisine, especially in the southeastern part of the country. 

Soups, stews, and sauces are frequently enhanced with the slightly bitter and aromatic flavour of the leaves. 

Examples of some soups are Nsala (White Soup), Ofe Onugbu (Bitterleaf Soup), Utazi Soup and Pepper soup etc.

It can also replace other vegetables in soups.


Beyond its culinary uses, it has been employed in traditional medicine for a number of purposes. 

In addition to being a digestive stimulant, it is thought to have anti-malarial and anti-diabetic qualities.

In herbal medicines, the leaves are occasionally used to treat conditions like intestinal parasites, stomachaches, and indigestion.

Difference Between Utazi and Uziza Leaf

Most times its confusing to differentiate utazi leaf from uziza if you’re not very familiar with them

Some of the differences are 

TasteBitter spice
Leaf StructureHeart shapedNarrow heart shape

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