There is no doubt that it will interest you to learn more about a particular plant whose almost every parts of the body including the stem, bark and leaves can be used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

The fact is that there are several plants in existence whose medicinal, nutritional and economic values have not yet been completely unraveled and are thus less exploited for human use.

But emphatically, having a good knowledge of such plants and herbs around us is not only essential for maintaining a friendly atmosphere but as well for maintaining a healthy body.

One of such vital plants is Lophira lanceolata, which is also known as  ironwood. It is important to know why this plant is very important to human race, what this plant is, what it does, how it should be used and for what reasons.

Basically, this plant  belongs to  the  Ohanacea family and it is originally from  Africa.  Lophira lanceolata is the most common species especially in the dry Savannah areas while Lophira procera is more common in the forest zone of West Africa.

Different African countries have different names for the Lophira lanceolata plant such as; Igbo people call it okopia, the Yorubas call it ikponhon,  Hausa call it namijin   kadanya. Lophira lanceolata is also known as beung (false shea), or meni oil tree.

Within the African continent, the Lophira lanceolata plant is mostly found in places such as Nigeria, Cote de-Voire, Sudan, Uganda and Benin. Lophira lanceolata can grow up  to  5 to 12 meters tall  or up  to the size  of  a  big  tree with short  branches. The  stem  bark  of  the  Lophira lanceolata plant is  rough in appearance, broken  into  thin corky  patches and gray in colour.  

The  leaves  are rounded  at  the top and elongated in nature. The stem  bark  extract  of  the  Lophira lanceolata plant  has  been shown to contain flavonoid, tannins, resin, saponin and alkaloids. Lophira lanceolata usually starts developing its fruits between February and April. So let’s now see some of the benefits of this powerful plant;


1. Dermatological Treatment
Lophira lanceolata seeds can be pressed into oil, which can be used as hair lotion and for eradicating head lice. Moreover, the oil can be applied on the skin to prevent dryness.

2. Treatment for Fatigue
The Lophira Lanceolata sap can be used for treating individuals suffering from tiredness.

3. Anti-viral Properties
Research by Ewolan in 1994, shows that the stem-bark extracts of Lophira Lanceolata (Ochnaceae) contains anti-viral properties. The study also identified anti-tumor agents to be present in the plant.

4. Wounds Treatment
The roots can be decocted and used for washing and treating chronic wounds.

5. Consumption Purposes
Although the Lophira lanceolata seeds are bitter, yet are eaten by some villagers in the African countries. This is because it is believed that the seeds are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. Consuming the seeds especially in poor rural settings is believed to be helpful in ensuring that the right amount of nutrient and energy are assimilated by children suffering from malnutrition. The oil of Lophira lanceolata can also be used by some rural villagers in West African countries for cooking food.

6. Antibacterial Properties
The bark of Lophira Lanceolata contains several active compounds such as flavonoids, which possess antibacterial properties.

7. Chewing Sticks
The immature stems and roots of Lophira lanceolata can serve as chewing sticks.

8. Toothache Treatment
The Lophira Lanceolata oil can be used for treating toothache. Also the bark can be infused and used as a mouthwash for treating toothache.

9. Menstrual Pain Relief
The roots can be decocted and the aqueous solution taken by women to relieve menstrual pain during monthly period.

10. Malaria Treatment
The leaves can be boiled and used for treating malaria.

11. Constipation Treatment
The roots can be blended and combined with flour for treating constipation.

12. Pulmonary Disease Treatment
The trunk and root bark of the Lophira Lanceolata tree can be used for treating pulmonary diseases.

13. Gastrointestinal Treatment
Root bark of the Lophira Lanceolata plant can be used for treating gastrointestinal problems. The leaves can be decocted and used for treating intestinal pain, diarrhea and dysentery.

14. Cosmetological Benefit
Lophira lanceolata oil can be used for manufacturing cosmetics  such as  shampoos, soap etc.

15. Fever Treatment
The leaves can  be infused and used for treating fever and respiratory tract infections.

16. Headache Treatment
The leaves can be decocted and used for treating headache.

17. Rheumatism Treatment
The leaves can be boiled and used for bathing by patients suffering from rheumatism.

18. Nutritional
Lophira lanceolata (Ochanaceae) is an excellent source of phenols, flavonoids, glycoside, anthraquinones, tannin, steroid, carbohydrate and  saponin.

19. Fertility Enhancer
Lophira lanceolata is used by herbalists for tackling fertility issues in both men and women. The bark  extract  is  so  popular especially in the northern part of Nigeria due to its acclaimed sexual  enhancement  abilities as supported by Etuk et al. (2009).

20. Other Benefits
The tree can serve as firewoods, for constructing bridges, for manufacturing mortars and for producing household wood-related equipment.

This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your health care provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.


1. Ali S. A., Abdulraheem R. O., Abdulkareem S. S., Alemika E. T. and Ilyas M. (2011), Structure Determination of Betulinic Acid from the leaves of Lophira lanceolata Van Tiegh, Ex Keay (Ochnaceae), Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science 01 (08), p.244.

2. Audu S. A., Mohammed I., Kaita H. A. (2007), Phytochemical screening of the leaves of Lophira lanceolata (Ochanaceae), Life Science Journal, Vol 4, No 4, pp. 75,79.

3. Etuk E. U. and A. A. Muhammad (2009), Fertility enhancing effects of aqueous stem bark extract of Lophira lanceolata in male Spargue dawley rats,International Journal of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Vol. 1(1) pp. 001-002.

4. Ewola A. (1994), Lanceolins and B:Nitrile Glycoside Esters From Lophira Lanceolata, Journal of Natural Products, vol. 57, no.7. p.971.

5. Igboeli N., Onyeto, C. A., Okorie, A. N., Mbaoji F. N., Nwabunike I. A. and Alagboso D. I. (2015), Antidiarrheal activity of methanol leaf extract of Lophira Lanceolata Tiegh (Ochnaeceae), Merit Research Journal of Environmental Science and Toxicology, vol. 3(4), p.61.

6. Lohlum S. A., Maikidi G. H. and Solomon M. (2010), Proximate Composition, Amino Acid Profile and Phytochemical Screeing of Lophira Lanceolata Seeds, African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development, vol. 10, no. 1.

7. Nonviho G., Paris C., Muniglia L., Sessou P, Agbangnan D.C.P., Brosse N. and Sohounhloué (2014),Chemical characterization of Lophira lanceolata and Carapa procera seed Oils: Analysis of Fatty Acids, Sterols, Tocopherols and Tocotrienols, Research Journal of Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4(9).

8. Onyeto C. A., Akah P. A., Nworu C. S., Okoye T. C., Okorie N. A., Mbaoji F. N., Nwabunike I. A., Okumah N., Okpara O. (2014), Anti-plasmodial and antioxidant activities of methanol extract of the fresh leaf of Lophira lanceolata (Ochnaceae). Afr J Biotech; 13(16), p. 1731.

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  • Felix

    Very well written. Thanks for sharing this important facts about lophira

  • Tonita Miser

    Thanks for sharing this important article.

  • Ruth

    i dont know this Lophira Lanceolata

    • The plant is not a popular one but yet a very powerful one.