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Guinea Pepper (Aframomum melegueta) is a brown pod with wrinkled papery skin. Inside are found small reddish-brown seeds which are known variously as Alligator Pepper, Grains of Paradise, ataare, and other monikers. It appears in many ancient spells of West Africa and is particularly important in Orisa and Ifa rituals among the Yoruba people and practitioners in the Diaspora.
Guinea peppers grow throughout West Africa and are also used for culinary purposes. A member of the Ginger family, it has a hot and pungent flavor. It can be ground in a pepper mill or spice grinder and added to food to add a very tasty hot flavor. When eaten alone, it creates a warm sensation in the mouth and chest similar to raw ginger.
In Ifa practice Guinea Pepper is used to build ase (pronounced ah-shay)of the fiery nature, the breath of life. It is also used to strengthen the power of spoken incantations. Santeria practitioners frequently place guinea pepper pods or seeds near images of the saints to increase the energy of the spirit in a particular location.
Although guinea pepper has been eaten for thousands of years with outstanding results and is still a very common dietary item amongst many African people, Madame Koiteh makes no medical claims and assumes no responsibility or liability for your personal use. Only you can determine what is good for you to eat. Guinea pepper is a dried pod which can be stored indefinitely in a cool dry location. No refrigeration is necessary. To access the seeds, carefully break the skin of the pod and remove the individual seeds from the white honeycomb-like membrane inside the pod.
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