Aframomum melegueta is a species in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. This spice, commonly known as grains of paradise, Melegueta pepper, alligator pepper, Guinea grains, fom wisa, or Guinea pepper, is obtained from the ground seeds; it imparts a pungent,peppery flavour with hints of citrus. Although it is native to West Africa, it is also an important cash crop in the Basketo district (Basketo special woreda) of southern Ethiopia.
The essential oil from grains of paradise consists of two sesquiterpenes, humelene and caryophyllene and the oxides of these.
It has an exotic tropical scent and flavor and is used for the production of beer, wine and spirits, and the flavoring of vinegarIt is used in the Surinam cuisine to flavor dishes such as vegetables (okra and tomatoes recipes), soups (lentil and chicken) and fish recipes.
The grains of paradise is also medicinal. It can be used as a purgative, galactogogue (to increase production of breast milk), anthelmintic- and hemostatic agent (purifies the blood). It is also effective against schistosomiasis (bilharzia). It can also be used against intestinal infections, infestations, to calm indigestion and heartburn.
The seeds of Aframomum melegueta possess potent anti-inflammatory activity with a favorable gastric tolerability profile.