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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Guizotia abyssinica, Seeds, Ethnobotany

I bought some shiny dark seeds at an Ethiopian grocery store. The proprietor said they were good for sore throat. The name of the seed sounded something like 'nuk.' Can you tell me what plant they are from? And is it safe to use them?

Answer:

By guessing at different possible spellings, I came across a plant whose Amharic name sounds like 'nuk' or 'noug.' I also showed your sample seeds to an Eritrean colleague, and confirmed that they were familiar to him for their high oil content, but also for steeping in hot water to make a kind of tonic. I can't recommend consuming them medicinally; you would need to speak to a medical professional. But I can tell you that the plant source is Guizotia abyssinica. It is in the daisy family (Asteraceae), and has a yellow flower that might remind you a little of a yellow daisy. There is research being done at University of British Columbia's Botany department on this plant and its potential as a crop to increase food security and alleviate poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Purdue University researchers are looking into cultivating this plant (also called Nigerseed) in the Midwestern United States.

Wikipedia has additional information about this plant.

Date 2017-01-06
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August 01 2017 12:36:01