Grains of Paradise

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Aframomum melegueta (Grains of Paradise) is a spice with a similar composition as Ginger that belongs to the same Zingiberaceae family. It shows some promise in fat-mass control at doses possibly consumable via food products.

Grains of Paradise is most often used for


Aframomum melegueta (Alligator Pepper, Grains of Paradise) is a herb where the seeds have traditional usage mostly as a pungent spice to season foods with. This herb is botanically in the same family as Ginger and shares many bioactives, and has been (medicinally speaking) traditionally used mostly for digestive and intestinal health with some other sporadic uses not related to food.

When looking at the evidence, most of it is preliminary and a full compositional analysis does not appear to exist at this moment in time. It seems very related to Ginger, and has many of the same bioactives.

Aframomum melegueta appears to have some anti-diabetic and anti-obese mechanisms, although neither are remarkable (the one human study conducted in humans has confirmed an increase in metabolic rate, but required both cold exposure as well as brown fat on the person in question as prerequisites). The aphrodisiac and testosterone boosting properties are both preliminary (with the former not appearing too potent, relative to other herbs) and the anti-estrogen mechanisms are still fairly preliminary and of unknown practical relevance.

Aframomum melegueta may be promising for a spice to add to a diet in hopes of body recomposition and particularly for men, but there is overall a lack of evidence to support its usage as a supplement and higher oral doses may still have some toxicity associated with them (which needs to be more thoroughly investigated)

What else is Grains of Paradise known as?
Note that Grains of Paradise is also known as:
  • Grains Of Paradise
  • Melegueta Pepper
  • Alligator Pepper
  • Guinea Pepper
  • Guinea Grain
  • Aframomum Melegueta
Dosage information

The only current human study used a 95%-ethanolic extract of Aframomum melegueta at 10 mg daily. There is no evidence to suggest whether this is the optimal dose, but it appears to be a low enough dose that the spice itself can be used on top of food.

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1.^Ilic N, Schmidt BM, Poulev A, Raskin IToxicological evaluation of grains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) (Roscoe) K. SchumJ Ethnopharmacol.(2010 Feb 3)
3.^Ogbole OO, Ajaiyeoba EOTraditional management of tuberculosis in Ogun State of Nigeria: the practice and ethnobotanical surveyAfr J Tradit Complement Altern Med.(2009 Oct 15)
4.^Lans C, Harper T, Georges K, Bridgewater EMedicinal and ethnoveterinary remedies of hunters in TrinidadBMC Complement Altern Med.(2001)
5.^van Andel T, Myren B, van Onselen SGhana's herbal marketJ Ethnopharmacol.(2012 Mar 27)
6.^Konning GH, Agyare C, Ennison BAntimicrobial activity of some medicinal plants from GhanaFitoterapia.(2004 Jan)
7.^Ndamukong KJ, Ntonifor NN, Mbuh J, Atemnkeng AF, Akam MTMolluscicidal activity of some Cameroonian plants on Bulinus speciesEast Afr Med J.(2006 Mar)
9.^Ukeh DA, Birkett MA, Bruce TJ, Allan EJ, Pickett JA, Luntz AJBehavioural responses of the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais, to host (stored-grain) and non-host plant volatilesPest Manag Sci.(2010 Jan)
10.^Kamtchouing P, Mbongue GY, Dimo T, Watcho P, Jatsa HB, Sokeng SDEffects of Aframomum melegueta and Piper guineense on sexual behaviour of male ratsBehav Pharmacol.(2002 May)
11.^Gröblacher B, Maier V, Kunert O, Bucar FPutative mycobacterial efflux inhibitors from the seeds of Aframomum meleguetaJ Nat Prod.(2012 Jul 27)
12.^Sugita J, Yoneshiro T, Hatano T, Aita S, Ikemoto T, Uchiwa H, Iwanaga T, Kameya T, Kawai Y, Saito MGrains of paradise (Aframomum melegueta) extract activates brown adipose tissue and increases whole-body energy expenditure in menBr J Nutr.(2013 Jan 11:1-6)
14.^Agbonon A, Eklu-Gadegbeku K, Aklikokou K, Gbeassor M, Akpagana K, Tam TW, Arnason JT, Foster BCIn vitro inhibitory effect of West African medicinal and food plants on human cytochrome P450 3A subfamilyJ Ethnopharmacol.(2010 Mar 24)
15.^Riera CE, Menozzi-Smarrito C, Affolter M, Michlig S, Munari C, Robert F, Vogel H, Simon SA, le Coutre JCompounds from Sichuan and Melegueta peppers activate, covalently and non-covalently, TRPA1 and TRPV1 channelsBr J Pharmacol.(2009 Aug)
16.^Pearce LV, Petukhov PA, Szabo T, Kedei N, Bizik F, Kozikowski AP, Blumberg PMEvodiamine functions as an agonist for the vanilloid receptor TRPV1Org Biomol Chem.(2004 Aug 21)
21.^El-Halawany AM, El Dine RS, Chung MH, Nishihara T, Hattori MScreening for estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities of plants growing in Egypt and ThailandPharmacognosy Res.(2011 Apr)
24.^Inegbenebor U, Ebomoyi MI, Onyia KA, Amadi K, Aigbiremolen AEEffect of alligator pepper (Zingiberaceae aframomum melegueta) on first trimester pregnancy in Sprague Dawley ratsNiger J Physiol Sci.(2009 Dec)
25.^Inegbenebor U, Ebomoyi MI, Onyia KA, Amadi K, Aigbiremolen AEEffect of aqueous extract of alligator pepper (Zingiberaceae aframomum melegueta) on gestational weight gainNiger J Physiol Sci.(2009 Dec)