Grains of paradise, belongs to the family zingiberaceae. They grow wild in forest regions of West Africa, but are now cultivated.
The flowers and fruits are borne on the base of the plant. The fleshy fruits are red- orange when matured.
The seed are very pungent, roughly pyramidal but flattened. It has a very strong pleasant smell. It was first described from the Western side of the Atlantic, South American between1865 and 1920.It was exported to U. K. and Europe mainly as a spice and flavouring. The earliest record of melegueta was at a festival held at Treviso in 1214.
Physicians as far apart as Nicosia, Rome, Lyon and Wales included it in their prescriptions.
The spice was then carried by Mandingo traders from West Africa across the Sahara to the port of Mundibarca on the coast of Tripoli, but later brought by the Portuguese to the Guinea coast, which was also known as the Grain Coast.
It was one of the first export crops from Ghana with 86,719 kilos in 1871, 281,567kgs in 1872 and 68, 709kgs in1875.
U S E S
There are several uses especially for the seed, but locally the, fruit pulp around the seed is chewed as a stimulant. The active principle is paradol.
1. The seed yields a lot of Essential oil very good for perfumes and other cosmetic products( As fragrance}
2. As a spice, grains of paradise are used for flavouring food,Barbecue and strengthening drink. The seeds are also very good for digestion so they are added to many dishes. They are believed to be An aphrodisiac. They are sometimes mixed in palm wine or home made spirits.
Seed in enemas is good for gastro- intestinal pains or disorders.
Medicinally, alone or with order plant parts, tt is used to relieve various ailments,
Root decoction for expulsion of worms, for treating carminative (flatulence) and