The huge genus Vernonia include the Asteraceae family, which includes bitter leaf. The plant is a shrub with moderate canopies that grows in areas of open, regrowing forests; it frequently grows close to habitations. The large, ovate leaves are spirally arranged on the branches. Regarding the cultural ways of preparation, bitter leaf is in a special class because it is a pot herb and a source of medicines. Toxic substances that seep out as frothy, brown exudates are washed off of the leaves by squeezing them in water with salt added. This is one way the vegetable is offered for sale in the market. Bitter leaf was one of the locally misused plants in the early 1980s when the fight for the use of herbal medicine started. Exudates that were typically removed from leaves before using them as vegetables were sometimes drunk. Two of my close friends recently experienced severe skin outbreaks that required medical attention. This is most likely caused by the presence of raphides, which are clusters of calcium oxalate crystals that resemble needles and are found in the bitter leaf. In Africa, bitter leaf has long been used both as food and medicinal. In African traditional medicine, the plant is utilized for a variety of purposes, including the management and treatment of a number of medical issues. African traditional healers, for instance, use the plant to treat and manage a variety of illnesses, including fever, malaria, stomachaches, skin infections (like ringworm and acne), diabetes, cancer, insomnia, hepatitis, toothaches, jaundice, diarrhoea, bilharzia, pneumonia, tuberculosis, stroke, arthritis, wounds, fatigue, and coughs. Additionally, it is used as a laxative, appetizer, aphrodisiac, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-helminthes, as well as for weight loss.