Monday, 27 September 2010

Article 59: "EFINRIN" (The Scent Leaf)

By S.Olanrewaju Disu

The "Efirin" (scent leaf) is an important vegetable sold in large markets in Lagos Area because of its manifold medicinal usages. The "efirin" is a very peculiar plant in the tropics. It is a shrub that grows up to 1-2m in height. Since ancient times, this plant has been connected with the traditional treatment of fever in our clime, hence its acronyms such as "fever plant","fever leaf","mosquito plant" as well as "scent leaf"It is commonly grown around houses as a mosquito repellant.

The botanical name of "efinrin", the scent leaf is "Ocimum grattissimum, Family Labiatae". The many uses to which the plant is subjected to locally are incredible. To mention some of the uses, the leaf serves as a decongestant for head colds, bronchitis and sinusitis. The pulped foilage is belived to have antiseptic properties. The leaf is also chewed traditionally for all tooth and gum disorders.

Some ethnic peoples livings in Lagos State e.g the Ijaws from the south-southern part of Nigeria eat the leaves in sauces and soups with meat and condiments to embrace the taste; while others put the leaves into salads.

Finally, it is good to report that the plant has magical attributes too!In rural tropical West Africa, it is fetish for exorcising spirits and demons. The Yoruba's traditionally use the plant in an "Odu" incantation to imprecatewitches already in a house to departand to fumigate a house as protection against witches entering.
Photos: The "efirin" vegetable on sale at the "Wey Street" Weekly Farmers' Market


  1. is efirin not a component of some mouth washes in the stores now, i remember my grandma using it as a mouth wash after her regular brushing with pako. Thank you for your blog.

  2. Thank you for your blog Sir. Very informative. I have some efinrin growing in my backyard now and I was just curious to find the botanical name. Thanks for providing that information. God bless you and your family.

  3. I'm most grateful to have stumbled upon your blog. Excellent information!

  4. Thanks for providing these info! Could you please tell us the botanical name for partminger plant - all I know is that it is a kind of basil