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Okra and quick ejaculation cure

By Saheed Ibrahim

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Okra, also known as the “ladies’ finger” (Abelmoschus esculentus), is a flowering plant in the mallow family native to East Africa. It bears edible green seed pods and is also used in traditional soups in some parts of Africa.

Okra is enjoyed as a vegetable soup in various dishes. Due to its mucilaginous properties, it is also used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces. The Yorubas call it “Ila,” the Igbos call it Igbo, Olewele, while the Hausas call it Kubewa.

However, on Feb 28, 2024, an X user, Prince Fynn, claimed that okra can be used to eliminate quick ejaculation. He listed the vegetable as part of his thread:

“Best ingredients that eliminate quick ejaculation and simple ingredients to cure low spêrm count.” He posted: “You can also try using okra to eliminate quick ejaculation. All you have to do is – Get three pieces of okra, slice them, get the dry seed of okra, and ferment everything with soda water for two days. After that, take half a cup daily for one week.”

As of March 10, 2024, the thread has over one million impressions. The post on Okra has 67,300 views, 58 retweets, 142 likes, and 131 bookmarks.

X users who commented on the post were seeking more information on how okra can be used to eliminate quick ejaculation.

Given the virality of the post and its significance to public health, DUBAWA decided to fact-check if okra truly cures quick ejaculation.

Verification

We used keywords on Google search and found that a blog in 2022 published that “Okra is the most popular food for treating premature ejaculation in people who eat a normal diet.” The blog claims that okra contains vitamins K, A, and zinc that can improve men’s sexual health.

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The blog advised men to “Soak 3-4 coarsely sliced okra in water overnight. For a month, sip on the filtered water first thing in the morning. In both cases, they are successful.” A similar article was also published by Kindly Health blog and on Nairaland

However, some publications claim that okra can cause infertility in men due to the presence of Gossypol in the vegetable, which inhibits sperm production and motility. These claims can be found here.

In 2017, Dr Ochuko Erikainure, a Senior Research Officer at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, Lagos State, warned that Okra could lead to infertility in men of reproductive age despite its nutritional value.

He said, “Okra seeds are very rich in toxic pigment called Gossypol, which promotes infertility in men by arresting sperm production (spermatogenesis) even at lower doses. Gossypols are oil soluble and natural polyphenols secreted by plants as a defence against predators.”

What studies say

A study, titled ‘Antifertility Effect of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) in Men,’ published in the Asian Journal of Research in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2018, concluded that okra can lead to male infertility due to its ability to reduce sperm production.

The study’s conclusion reads: “The presence of gossypol in okra seed played a significant role in the pathogenesis of the diseases. The antifertility effect of okra was ascertained in mice, and it was confirmed that methanolic extract of okra fruit affects testes, testicular tissues, and semen parameters (motility, count, and morphology). These detrimental effects alter the semen integrity and may subsequently halt fertilisation.”

The study recommended that “The consumption of okra as food (vegetable) and medicinal plant by healthy fertile humans should be properly assessed. Likewise, infertile men under medication should stop the consumption of okra, especially raw.”

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The findings of this study are in tandem with studies published in the International Journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research in 2014 and another one published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research in 2015. The two studies concluded that consistent consumption of Okra fruits may be destructive to the testes and could impair male fertility.

The studies, however, recommended further research on okra to establish its male reproductive safety.

Experts’ Opinion

To further ascertain the relationship between okra and men’s sexual health, we engaged experts in food science and Urology.

Prof Adebanjo Badejo, a Food Science and Biotechnology specialist at the Federal University of Technology, FUTA, said there is a need for adequate research to establish that okra can cause male infertility or cure quick ejaculation.

“Igbo-Ora, a small town in Oyo State, has the highest dizygotic twinning rate. It has been estimated to be about 60 sets per 1000 births. Although the real cause of this phenomenon is uncertain, the residents generally believe their traditional diet of Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) may be responsible. However, this is yet to be established scientifically.

“Internet frenzy has also reported that okra water when taken, can increase libido in women. This is also lacking scientific data. Okra is rich in bioactive compounds such as carotene, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, oxalic acid, and amino acids. All these are very good for health.

Prof. Badejo, however, confirms that okra seeds contain gossypol, which is said to affect men’s sperm production negatively.

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“Okra seeds, in particular, contain gossypol. This is a pigment found in some plants that can act as an inhibitor of some enzymes. The presence of gossypol in okra has been reported to affect fertility negatively in men.”

The food scientist and biotechnologist stressed that as research progresses, more functions and roles of okra concerning human sexuality and fertility will be revealed.

He concluded that “More scientific research is needed to substantiate the claims. As long as research is ongoing, you don’t conclude on what has not been discovered scientifically yet.”

Also speaking, Dr Olurotimi Ogundiniyi, a urologist consultant at Ondo State Ministry of Health and lecturer at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, said that research to determine the effects of okra on men’s sexual health still lacks significance.

He explained that “Premature ejaculation is caused by psychological factors such as performance anxiety, stress, and underlying erectile dysfunction. Some hormonal imbalance also causes it. Many men will experience it at some point in time. It has nothing to do with diet, to the best of my knowledge.

“Okra cannot cure it. We eat okra a lot in Nigeria, but men still have premature ejaculation.”

Dr Ogundiniyi also concluded that more research needs to be done to ascertain the effect of okra on men’s sexuality.

Conclusion

The claim that Okra can be used to eliminate quick ejaculation cannot be substantiated as there is no scientific evidence to support it.

This report is produced for the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking Fellowship in partnership with The Hope to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria.

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