Yoruba Herbs And Their English Names & Uses

Yoruba is one of the four primary languages spoken in Nigeria. Not every Nigerian is familiar with the Yoruba language, but sometimes you just need to know what a particular herb is called in Yoruba – for example when you see a cool recipe but aren’t familiar with the terms.

Moreover, there are some uncommon Yoruba names that even Yoruba natives know. Luckily, our guide to Yoruba herbs and their English names is here to help you!


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1. Yoruba name for almond

In Yoruba language, almond is known as imumu ofio omu, ofio omu, or simply omu.

2. Yoruba name for beetroot

Since beetroot is not a very common vegetable in Nigeria, there is no widely known Yoruba term for beetroot – this veggie is often referred to simply as a beet.

3. Yoruba name for cinnamon

Cinnamon in Yoruba is a very popular plant that has a variety of uses. In any Yoruba source, you will find that oloorun is what cinnamon is called.

4. Yoruba name for maca root

Maca root is a well-known plant in Nigeria and has its own Yoruba name – it’s known among Nigerians as isu baka.

5. Yoruba name for mint leaf

Mint leaf is a valuable ingredient both in Nigerian cuisine and medicine that every Yoruba native is familiar with. Mint leaf is called ewe minti in Yoruba.

6. Yoruba name for parsley leaf

Parsley leaf is featured in hundreds of Nigerian authentic recipes, and in most Yoruba texts you’ll find it mentioned as effirin.

7. Yoruba name for spinach

Spinach is widely known for its healing abilities and is a staple in many Nigerian families who love cooking healthy meals. In Yoruba spinach is called efo tete.

8. Yoruba name for turmeric

Turmeric is one of the most popular medicinal ingredients in Africa that is mainly used as powder on its own or as an ingredient in various healing mixtures. Yoruba language refers to turmeric powder as atale pupa.

9. Yoruba herbs and their uses

Yoruba people have spent the last centuries crafting the ideal recipes for treating all kinds of diseases and conditions. You can find the most helpful recipes in numerous Yoruba sources and use them to get better whenever you’re not feeling well.

Some herbs in yoruba language:

  • Basil plant – Nchanwu in Yoruba
  • Fenugreek – ewedu in yoruba, hulba in Hausa
  • Hibiscus plant – Zobo
  • Tamarind – tsamia
  • Tumeric –  ata Ile pupa in Yoruba
  • Cayenne – Bawa
  • Chilli – Shombo in Yoruba
  • Black pepper – iyere in Yoruba, Oziza in igbo
  • Thorny pigweed/prickly amaranth – tete eleegun in yoruba
  • alternanthera nodiflora – Dagunro
  • Butryospermum paradoxum – Shea tree – Ori
  • Allium sativum -Garlic – Ayu in yoruba
  • Capsicum frutescens – Tabasco pepper – Ata-wewe
  • Lactuca capensis – Lettuce – Yanrin
  • Bryophyllum pinnatum – Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf or Goethe Plant – Abamoda
  • Zingiber officinale – Ginger – Jinja, Atale in yoruba
  • Dioscorea dumetorum – Sweet Yam- Esuru
  • Enantia chloranta – Awopa
  • Khaya grandifoliola, K. senegalensis, K. ivorensis – Oganwo
  • Sphenocentrum jollyanum – Akerejupon
  • Olax subscorpioidea – Ifan, Ifon
  • Tetrapleura tetraptera – Aidan, Aridan
  • Lecaniodiscus cupanioides – Akika
  • Lippia multiflora – Efirin-gogoro, Efirin-oko
  • Jatropha curcas – Botuje, Lapalapa
  • Jatropha gossypifolia – cotton-leaf physicnut- Botuje pupa
  • Jatropha multifida – coral plant, physic nut or Guatemala rhubarb – Ogege
  • Cymbopogon citratus – lemon grass- Kooko-oba
  • Pterocarpus erinaceus – Apepo, Agbelosun
  • Pterocarpus osun – Osun
  • Pterocarpus santalinioides – Gbengbe
  • Catharanthus roseus -Madagascar rosy periwinkle – Apabida pupa
  • Carica papaya – Papaya – Ibepe
  • Dioclea scandens – Dasa
  • Dioclea reflexa – Agbarin, Epe, Arin

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My name is Inna. I am a content writer with an English and literature background. As a mother of a 2-year old son, I love learning about children’s health and development, as well as finding new interesting toys and activities for my little one. I am also in love with all things tech and always keep my finger on the pulse of new smartphone and gadget releases. Another big passion of mine is beauty and makeup – every day I read about new trends in skin care and makeup and always look forward to trying them. Plus, I love pop culture, travelling, crafts, and anything that can make our daily life more thrilling!