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Bitter RootsThe Search for Healing Plants in Africa$
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Abena Dove Osseo-Asare

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226085524

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226086163.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use (for details see www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 16 December 2018

Take Grains of Paradise for Love

Take Grains of Paradise for Love

(p.71) Chapter 2 Take Grains of Paradise for Love
Bitter Roots

Abena Dove Osseo-Asare

University of Chicago Press

The chapter questions how a pepper with such wide geographic and historical roots became the subject of Peya-Biotech’s patent for erectile dysfunction in the United States. Earliest references to grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) date to the 1330s, when trade between the West African coastal growing areas and North Africa brought it wide attention. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, people used grains of paradise to stay well on board ships, and began its cultivation in the West Indies and South America. In Europe, the widely imported pepper became celebrated for its aphrodisiac properties (alluded to by Geoffrey Chaucer). In the twentieth century, Cameroonian, Congolese, and Canadian scientists developed a process for extracting chemicals from grains of paradise to treat impotence. Overall, the chapter investigates why popular knowledge of the pepper’s effects on male virility has overshadowed records of how women use it in Africa.

Keywords:   Aframomum melegueta, African Union, Aphrodisiac, Biovigora, Cameroon, Guinea Grains, Healing Plant Diaspora, Peya Biotech, Option Biotech, Republic of Congo

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