Ewedu or Jute leaves belongs to the family Malvaceae. The seeds are grown for their leaves and also for their fibre. The leaves are consumed mostly as a vegetable. Jute leaves grow to about 1.5m high under favourable conditions. They are annual crops and grow well in lowland tropics. Jute leaves grow best in the presence of rain, but do not like waterlogging.
Method of propagation
The seeds of Ewedu are broadcasted. Firstly, the seeds are soaked in warm water for some hours to break dormancy in the seeds. The seeds are then mixed with sand before broadcasting to ensure even distribution of seeds on the field. The plants can then be transplanted after a week or more with a spacing not less than 20cm, and not more than 50cm. Compost can be added to the soil to serve as manure for optimum growth. Harvesting of jute leaves can begin after 6 weeks of propagation. The leaves can be harvested by pruning the branches for new ones to grow out.
- Jute leaves grow to about 1.5m high.
- They prefer temperatures between 16.8-27.5°C. pH between 4.5-8.2 is recommended for jute leaves.
- The plant prefers fertile, humus-rich, warm and well-drained alluvial soils.
- They are highly sensitive to waterlogging.
- Jute leaves contain 17 active nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, sodium, potassium, beta-carotene, niacin, ascorbic acid, riboflavin amongst others.
- They are used to cure internal bleeding because of their vitamin K content. Jaundice and gastrointestinal tract problems can be treated using jute leaves.
- Jute leaves are known to improve vision. Eye deficiencies and cataracts caused by ageing can be cured by consuming Jute leaves.
- They support skin health and improve cell growth. Vitamin A in Ewedu has the ability to heal wounds quickly when consumed.
- Ewedu is known to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol because of its copper content.