Uziza: Simple Facts, Uses You Want To Know


Piper guineense, the botanical name for Uziza, is well-known for its leaves and fruits.

However, it is commonly linked to its fruits (seeds).

The fruits are used as a spice, and the leaves are used as vegetables in different recipes.

In Nigeria and throughout West Africa, it is one of the most highly valued spices.

The species of piper native to West Africa is Piper guineense (Uziza).

The fruit (seed) of the piper plant is known by several names, including Ashanti pepper, Benin pepper, Edo pepper, fake cubeb, and Guinea cubeb. 

It is called locally kale, by the Urhobo people, The Igbo people of Nigeria refer to it locally as uziza and the Yoruba’s refer to it as Iyere.

It shares relations with long pepper, black pepper, and cubeb pepper.

Uziza leaves can be confused with utazi leaves but they are different vegetables, while they both have heart shaped leaves that of uziza is narrow

Utazi leaf is bitter in taste.


The Fruit or Seed: 

Uziza seeds are spherical, tiny, and usually have a dark brown to black hue. 

They feel compact and firm.

The Leaves: 

Uziza leaves have a deep green hue and are frequently glossy in appearance. 

In general, the leaves have an ovate or elliptical form. 

The leaves are relatively tender, and they can easily be added into dishes without requiring extensive cooking time.

Nutritional Information

Nutrition content per 100 g.

Uziza LeafUziza Seed
Crude protein11.32%7.82%
Crude fiber18.19%2.88%
Ash content14.25%6.51%

Source: University of Agriculture, Umudike

Similarity Between Uziza Seed and Black Pepper Seed

  • Both seeds belong to the piperaceae family and piper genus
  • They are both used as spices
  • Their plants are both climbing plants

Difference Between Uziza Seed and Black Pepper Seed

Uziza seedBlack pepper seed
Botanical namePiper guineensePiper nigrum
Size Smaller in sizeBigger in size
Taste More intense Mild 
Location Native to West AfricaNative to Asia


For food

Uziza is used for cooking and it adds spice and a strong scent to soups and stews. 

If you haven’t tried Piper Guineense leaves or seeds in your food, you’re losing out on a lot. 

The fruit or seed is blended and added to food as spice

Soups that are typical to southeast Nigeria, like oha soup, okra soup, and pepper soup, are frequently flavored with uziza leaves.  

The leave can be used to cook other kind of soup like Egusi, ogbono the leave can replace vegetables like ugu, bitterleaf, okazi oha in soup recipes.

As well as combining it with other vegetables e.g ugu, bitterleaf, oha when cooking

And the blended seed used as seasoning.

In south east and south south regions of Nigeria, women consume meals made with the spice after giving birth. E.g Pepper soup, Nsala soup

Due to its ability to promote uterine contraction and the return of the uterine muscles to their natural shape, the seeds are added to the postpartum diet of nursing mothers.

For Medicine 

In the eastern region of Nigeria, extract from leaves, roots, and seeds is used as an adjuvant for the treatment of bronchitis, gastrointestinal issues, rheumatic symptoms, and weight control. 

Its commercial, economical, and medicinal advantages are also highly valued. 

Hope this article was helpful.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *