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No, drinking squeezed jute leaves won’t make childbirth ‘easy’

A Facebook post shared in Nigeria claims eating jute leaves can make childbirth easier.

The post explains that the plant is called jute in English, but that “Igbo people call it ‘achingbara’, Hausas call it ‘lalo’ and it is botanically known as Corchorus Olitorius”. The jute plant is also known as “ewedu” in the Yoruba language. 

The jute or jute mallow is primarily used for its fibre, to make ropes and strong fabrics, but the plant’s leaves, fruits and roots are edible. It is found in tropical and subtropical areas from Asia to Africa.

The post says: “It has been observed especially among Yoruba speaking communities in Nigeria that pregnant women who eat ewedu soup made from ewedu leaves frequently experience quick, smooth, almost painless delivery.”

If a woman is having a difficult labour, the post says to squeeze a bunch of jute leaves, with the stem, and have the woman drink the juice: “It will lubricate the system for easy delivery.”

Is there any truth to this?

Not medically proven


Babagana Bako, professor of fetomaternal medicine in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, told Africa Check the claim has not been medically proven. “It is not certain to work for all cases,” he said.

“Jute leaf is a green leaf, meaning it is rich in folic acid, as long as it isn’t cooked or boiled. The folic acid helps with the shortage of blood which is common for women in labour. It has nothing to do with making delivery easy.”

“There are three underlining causes of prolonged labour: the uterus, the baby and the human pelvis. If the uterus is the primary cause, it means the woman isn’t having contractions, despite being in labour. At that point, oxytocin is administered to the woman to make her have contractions. If it is the pelvis that is the underlying cause, it is most likely that a caesarean section would be done.” 

While jute leaves may be rich in folic acid, eating the leaves won’t help prevent a painful labour or a caesarean section. – Jennifer Ojugbel

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