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Prekese, is a shiny, glabrous dark purple-brown fruit, 15-25 cm long and about 5 cm across, with four longitudinal, wing-like ridges. It has a slightly sweet, stringent taste. When cooked into soups and other dishes it adds a depth of flavor and a sweet, fragrant aroma.
Dried Prekese pods are available year-round.
Botanically known as Tetrapleura tetraptera Prekese is widely used in West Africa as a cooking spice and as a traditional medicine. The fruit grows on a deciduous tree commonly known as the Aidan tree. The Aidan tree is a deciduous tree growing 20-25 meters tall.
Prekese is rich in protein, lipids, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, sodium, copper, antioxidants, sugars, and vitamin C.
The fruit is rich in sugars and is used to flavor food, especially traditional West African soups such as pepper soup and palm nut soup, as well as a flavoring in desserts and baking. The long hard fruit is dried and grated, or boiled into soup and removed before serving. In addition to being used as a seasoning, Prekese is widely used as a medicine for many ailments. The fruits and flowers are also used as perfume in locally made products.
Prekese is well known as a medicinal plant throughout Africa. It is cooked in soup and fed to mothers to prevent post-partum contraction. It is also used to prevent certain types of ulcers, to inhibit the growth of bacteria, as an anti-microbial, to reduce hypertension, to manage asthma, and to promote blood flow. In Ghana, Prekese has been used to flavor soft drinks. Other names for Prekese include Aridan, Oshosho, Imiminje, Apapa, Edeminang, Ighirehimi, and Ighimiaka.
Prekese has been known as a medicinal plant in Africa for centuries; the therapeutic properties of the plant have been documented since 1948 and authenticated in laboratory and field experiments. It ranges all over West Africa, from Senegal to Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, South to Angola and Tanzania. The Aidan tree thrives best in secondary forests and rainforests, but is also found in savannah woodlands and occasionally in African plains as well.