Plant of the Week – False Sesame

Ceratotheca sesamoides is also called ‘false sesame’ due to its similar appearance to the sesame plant. In Chichewa it is called ‘chewe’. This plant is indigenous to Africa and its leaves, seeds, and flowers are all edible. The seeds can be used similar to sesame, and added to breads, soups, or other recipes. Research has shown that these plants can provide significant nutritional sources of manganese, iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc.

Chewe can be found growing in the wild throughout Malawi, but their beautiful flowers make them a great addition to any functional landscaping design. Culturally, the false sesame has been used as a treatment for conjunctivitis, diarrhea, as a lubricant, and in the processing of shea butter.

Useful Plants of Malawi states that the leaves of the plants are sometimes used as a soap substitute, and that a porridge made from chewe mixed with bran and maize flour is sometimes given to young children and the sick people as it is easily swallowed.

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