Akpi (scientifically known as Ricinodendron heudelotii) is used in the seasoning of sauces, grills, garnishes and side dishes. It is found in many parts of the African continent under different names:
Akpi in Ivory Coast
Munguella in Angola
Bofeko in DRC
Wama in Ghana
Okhuen in Nigeria
It is extracted from a shade tree, sheltering edible caterpillars and mushrooms. The leaves can be used as fodder in the dry season for goats and sheep. Its fruits are very important because they provide oil seeds rich in energy, fat, carbohydrates, protein and calcium.
It is also called “passe partout” by consumers because it is used in the preparation of almost all sauces. It is eaten as a condiment either for its taste, smell or the way it thickens the sauce. Before cooking, it is crushed either simply by stone or by machine (mill) in general with the other condiments, or “fried” in oil before being crushed, or roasted like peanuts. It is then put into the sauce at the same time as the other condiments. The sauce made with njansan can be accompanied by any other condiment. The condiments that accompany njansan in the sauce most often are ginger, garlic, onion, white pepper, black pepper, celery, parsley and basil. In general, there is no substitute for its taste.
Ricinodendron heudelotii almonds are relatively rich in protein, fat, phosphorus and potassium. It is also known for its antioxidant and ovulation inducing properties in the treatment of female infertility.
Medicinal virtues of Akpi
The njansan tree is also prized for its bark, which is used to treat coughs, gonorrhoea, leprosy, elephantiasis, dysentery, diarrhoea, hernia and syphilis. Bark extracts are also used against yellow fever, anemia, malaria, skin diseases, stomach and toothache, headaches, intestinal worms and as an aphrodisiac.
The bark treats anemia, elephantiasis, miscarriages, painful menstruation and improves breast milk. Leaves and latex have a purgative action. The sap heals the filaria. The roots treat diarrhoea and constipation. They would also have aphrodisiac properties in some people. Mixed with the bark, the root treats dysentery.
Cooking at varsis
US National Institute of Health