Back to Africa Check

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

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.