Wake Up, Philippines!


Posted in Alternative Medicines, Health, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on March 1, 2009

Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa, and is also the name given to the fruit of these plants. They are native to the tropical region of Southeast Asia, the Malay Archipelago, and Australia. Today, they are cultivated throughout the Tropics.

Containing three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – combined with fiber; a banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.

It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions making it a must to add to your daily diet (anemia, blood pressure, constipation, depression, mood swings, high body temperature, hang-over, heart burn, stress, hypertension, ulcers, warts, and mosquito bites).

Banana is a natural remedy to many ills. In fact, bananas have an exciting nutritional story. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. One banana has 16% of the fiber, 15% of the vitamin C, and 11% of the potassium we need every day for good health! When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It also contains chelating minerals and the bromelain enzyme, said to enhance the male libido—maybe that’s why Central Americans drink the sap of the red banana as an aphrodisiac, while Hindus regard it as a symbol of fertility.

This shapely suggestive and nutritious fruit is really loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals that can surely boost your sensuality and energy in bed. Eating bananas, therefore, will make your “banana” tougher and healthier.

Author:  Ruth and Dave


Health Benefits of Lemon Grass

Posted in Alternative Medicines, Health, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on March 1, 2009

Lemon grass is a perennial plant that is native to India and Nepal; it has a light, lemony scent and flavor, with a hint of ginger. Lemon grass is one of the wondrous herbs; it is very useful as medicinal plant and a delicious food flavoring. Few knows that the other name of Lemon grass is citronella, a popular scent in perfume, candles and soaps. Citronella is known for its calming effect that relieves insomnia or stress. It is also popular as a mild insect repellant.

In a study that was conducted it has shown that every 100g of edible lemon grass, when boiled can contain up to 24.205 micrograms of beta-carotene the powerful anti-oxidant that scientist believe can help prevent cancer. In another study it has shown that lemon grass oil has the potential as topical eye medication against keratomycosis, an inflammation of cornea often associated with burning or blurring of vision. Researchers note that lemongrass oil’s antioxidant qualities and ability to inhibit the enzyme that promotes the growth of cancer cells are promising.

Health Benefits of Lemon Grass:

  • It contains an antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • It helps to detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract.
  • Helps boost the immune system
  • Helps reduce uric acid, cholesterol, excess fats
  • It helps alleviates indigestion and gastroenteritis.
  • Helps improve the skin by reducing acne and pimples
  • It helps tone the muscle and tissues.
  • Helps in menstrual troubles
  • Helps reduce blood pressure

    and improve blood circulation

  • Helps reduce cellulite
  • Act as sedative for the central nervous system.
  • May help prevent color cancer.
  • Helps in reducing fevers
  • Help in flatulence and colic
  • Relieves arthritic pain and rheumatism

Lemon grass for Cooking: The leaves and base of lemon grass are used as a food flavoring especially in Southeast Asian dishes. The long thin grey-green leaves are tough and fibrous, the outside leaves and the tips are usually chopped very finely or discarded from the dish before it is served.

How to Use Essential Oil: Apply 2 drops of concentrated lemongrass oil per ounce of organic unrefined almond oil, olive oil or any of you favorite oil. You can use the mixture to your skin as massage oil, lotion and moisturizer. As a relaxing scent add 1 – 2 drops in a cloth and inhale to relax your senses.

How to make Lemon grass Herbal Tea:

  • Fresh Leaves: Pour 2 cups of water to ¼ cup lemon grass leaves, then boil and simmer for 3minutes. Let is cool and drink.
  • Dried Leaves: Pour a cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried lemon grass leaves. Steep for 5-10 minutes before drinking.

Where to Buy? Lemon grass can be purchased in Asian markets and health food stores and comes fresh, dried and powered. You can also grow lemon grass yourself, either indoors or outdoors in a warm climate. Fresh lemon grass is better than powdered or dried and the most potent form is lemongrass essential oil. Essential oils are 70 times more concentrated than their plant counterparts and have been used throughout history for health and wellness.

Author: By len7288

Health Benefits of Coconut

Posted in Alternative Medicines, Health, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on March 1, 2009

Coconut contains important vitamins, fiber, minerals, and natural oil to provide a wide range of benefits- from keeping one’s body healthy to aiding weight loss and even playing an important role as a beautifying agent. Let’s look at these various beneficial facets of coconut in detail.

When it comes to physical health, coconut and coconut oil help in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels, aids in proper digestion and also provides relief from kidney problems. In addition, it helps in increasing immunity thereby preventing you from various infections.

Other diseases like heart problems, diabetes, HIV, and high blood pressure can be prevented and even treated naturally with coconut. It additionally helps in the treatment of urinary tract infections along with being a natural stress buster. Thus, coconut aids in enhancing the overall health of a person.

If you are wondering of ways to reduce weight, then coconut can help you out. This is because coconut increases the metabolic rate of the body, leading to fast burnout of excessive fat. In addition, coconut oil is widely used by athletes as it helps in boosting energy and endurance, thereby helping athletes to achieve greater efficiency and performance level.

After having discussed about the various health benefits of coconut, let’s look at how it can aid in beautification of a person. Coconut has been found to nature’s fruit of beauty as it helps in keeping the skin soft, supple and glowing. It also protects the skin from the harmful effects of sun, thereby preventing premature freckles, wrinkles and age lines.

Along with skin care, coconut oil is widely used for hair care treatments. It nourishes the scalp and revitalizes dry and dull hair to provide them with natural shine and health. Coconut thus helps in improving the overall health of a person along with being quite useful in natural beauty treatments.


Benefits of lemon grass

Posted in Alternative Medicines, Health, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on March 1, 2009

Considered as a sacred herb by the ancients due to its magical healing and protecting properties, lemon grass is valued even today due to its ability to ward off problems like anxiety, headaches and fever amongst others. Along with its health benefits, this tropical grass is usually known for its aromatic citrus flavor which provides taste and unique aroma to turn a food item into an exotic delicacy. The common and popular name of lemon grass is citronella which is used as a common scent in candles, perfumes and soaps. It is also known for its soothing and calming effect which helps in relieving stress, tension and anxiety.

Along with providing scent and aroma, lemon grass is also useful for the various health benefits they provide to its consumers. It has been found that lemon grass has antibacterial and anti fungal properties along with possessing natural cleansing properties which help of the liver, kidneys and bladder. Moreover, it also helps in the healthy functioning of the digestive system as it helps in decreasing problems related to indigestion and gastroenteritis. This is because it helps in cutting down the levels of cholesterol, fat and toxins from one’s body along with aiding in the stimulation of blood circulation in the body. As lemon grass can help in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, it plays an important role in maintaining the health of one’s heart.

It has been found that lemon grass can prove to be beneficial for women as it helps in treating menstrual troubles and nausea. By mixing lemon grass with pepper, one can get rid of a majority of problems related to women’s menstrual cycle. Along with providing numerous health benefits, lemon grass also aids in the beautification process of the skin as it helps in preventing the formation of pimples and acne along with acting as a useful muscle and a tissue toner.

Lemon grass was usually known only for its aromatic properties. However, it also possesses numerous health benefits which makes it an invaluable herb which was rightly termed by our ancients as a “sacred herb”.


20 benefits of turmeric

Posted in Alternative Medicines, Health, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on March 1, 2009

turmeric.jpgTurmeric is one of nature’s most powerful healers. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.

Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it’s fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is to add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

Eat This!


‘Malunggay,’ the miracle tree

Posted in Alternative Medicines, Health, Nutritional Supplements by Erineus on March 1, 2009

By Neal Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:31:00 02/18/2009

Guests at the Kapihan sa Manila media forum last Monday were three presidents: Sen. Mar Roxas, president of the Liberal Party, Sen. Chiz Escudero, soon-to-be president of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (the two are also among the frontrunners for the Philippine presidential derby next year), and former senator Joey Lina, president of the Manila Hotel and self-proclaimed president of the so-called “Malunggay Republic.” I will discuss what Roxas and Escudero said at the Kapihan in a subsequent column and concentrate today on the “malunggay” (“marunggay” in the Ilocano language, horseradish tree in the United States), a common, easy-to-grow bantam-sized tree whose leaves and fruits are very nutritious and a common ingredient in many Filipino dishes.

The malunggay has so many uses that it is cultivated widely in India, Nicaragua and parts of Africa. If the coconut palm is “the tree of life,” the malunggay can be called “the miracle tree.” Fresh, dried or powdered, the leaves can be turned into almost anything edible. Aside from the usual ingredient in salads and viands, they can be turned into noodles, cookies, crostini, cupcake, munchkin, pastillas, patties, polvoron, pretzels, sugarbread, pan de sal, puto, cutchinta, bibingka, lugao and even ice cream. Dried and powdered, they can be used as tea or coffee. The brown seeds are a good source of biofuel.

If planted widely, the same way the Spanish colonialists encouraged Filipinos to plant coconuts, we would be freed of dependence on oil exporting countries by having enough biofuel from malunggay seeds, coconut oil, jatropha, and “alcogas,” or alcohol-gas, from sugar cane. When the fossil fuels from under the desert sands run out, the present oil sheiks will have to import biofuel from tropical countries like the Philippines.

Malunggay is even better than jatropha, which is now being widely propagated for fuel oil. Like jatropha, malunggay grows on poor soil where no other crop will grow healthily. But jatropha has only one use, the oil from its seeds. Its seeds (they taste like peanuts) are poisonous.

On the other hand, the leaves, fruits, and seeds of malunggay have many uses as food and are very nutritious. It contains vitamins A, B and C, and has more calcium, niacin, thiamin, phosphorus, ascorbic acid and iron than most vegetables. Nutrition experts say that 100 grams of malunggay leaves provide 75 calories of food energy, 6 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrates, and 353 milligrams of calcium.

Malunggay is a versatile and nutritious food. The leaves, flowers and fruits are commonly eaten as viand and green salad. They can be cooked with chicken, pork, beef, fish and beans. They can often replace any vegetable in any Filipino dish.

Aside from the usual kitchen preparations, it can be prepared into various delicatessens. Lorna M. Valera of the Marcos State University has prepared a handbook with tested recipes that can help combat malnutrition among children. Ask for copies from the MSU, Malunggay Republic, and Bureau of Plant Industry.

The malunggay grows abundantly in backyards and along farm fences, and requires little care. In fact, it can be used to reforest denuded areas. It can be propagated from seeds, tissue culture (26,000 plantlets can be produced from just one seed), and from cuttings. It is self-fertilizing and self-propagating. Rich in nitrogen, the leaves fertilize the soil. The brown, round seeds have “wings” or filaments. When the brown elongated fruits ripen and pop open, the seeds float away and germinate when they fall to the ground. Thus, when a colony of malunggay trees is established, they spread themselves, unaided, in the forest.

What’s more, its wood is soft. It is no good as lumber, charcoal or firewood. Thus, poachers will not bother to cut them like they do other trees. But they can gather the leaves and fruits anytime for food. We used to have three malunggay trees in our backyard in our compound in Malabon. Every time my auntie or sister had no vegetables to mix with the viands, they ask me to get some malunggay leaves to mix with the meat or fish.

The malunggay can be grown in commercial quantities. They are planted only millimeters apart and while the trees are still small, the leaves are harvested by grass cutter, scythe or by hand like picking tea leaves. They do not like too much water so there is no danger of the malunggay robbing rice of hectarage. They thrive best in marginal soil where no other crops grow, of which we have millions of idle hectares.

When grown from seeds—not from cuttings—malunggay trees hold the soil together. So they prevent soil erosion.

Malunggay trees have typically white blossoms. But growers have already bred trees with red, fragrant blossoms. What’s more, there are varieties whose leaves turn yellow. So imagine a hill or mountain reforested with malunggay. At certain times of the year, the hillsides would be yellow and red and suffused with fragrance from the leaves and blossoms. Interperse them with kakawati trees (also easy to grow and with pink flower like the famous Japanese cherry blossoms), and fire trees with their flaming red blossoms, and you will have countrysides afire with red, pink and yellow. They will be tourist attractions the same way Vermont, Massachusetts, and other New England States become tourist spots every autumn.

The Malunggay Republic is a movement that propagates the use of malunggay. It is composed of government officials (Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Environment, etc.), businessmen, farmers, environmentalists, civil society. Sen. Loren Legarda, by the way, distributes malunggay seedlings, free, to those who ask for them.


4 MIT students here studying ‘malunggay’

Posted in Alternative Energy, Research/Development by Erineus on March 1, 2009

By Tessa Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:17:00 01/27/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Our beaches are a lure, but these students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management were enticed to come for an entirely different reason — the lowly backyard malunggay.

Malunggay (scientific name: Moringa oleifera) is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree with leaves that can, among other things, increase lactation in nursing mothers and address the problem of malnutrition.

It has actually been dubbed “the most nutritious plant in the world,” and is also an obligatory ingredient in chicken tinola (soup).

But that’s not what Jose Torbay, 26, of Venezuela; David Salamon, 22, of France; Alex Rall, 28, of Germany, and Jesus Benavides, 29, of Mexico, are here for either.

The MIT Sloan students, who are each due to complete a master’s degree in Business Administration in June, are in the Philippines to study the international market outlook on the production of Moringa oil from malunggay seeds as a possible biofuel source.
Since their arrival in the Philippines on Jan. 10, they have been speaking with farmers in Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Western Samar and a few other provinces. They are scheduled to return to the United States on Feb. 2.

The four students’ research on Moringa oil as a business opportunity started last September at MIT.

They found a study by scientists in India expounding on Moringa oil’s properties—an iodine number better than that of regular diesel, indicating fuel stability; a cetane number indicating good ignition behavior, and a cold filter plugging point indicating suitability even in winter.

According to Salamon, the group’s spokesperson, the Philippines has distinct advantages over other countries for the mass production of Moringa oil.

He cited its geographical proximity to large markets (such as Japan, Korea, India, China and the US West Coast), the availability of labor, and large tracts of idle farmland (5 million hectares, per the Department of Agriculture).

And unlike jatropha—another plant being developed for biofuel production—Moringa will not produce toxic byproducts, Salamon said.

He said its residue could even be used to feed livestock, or help in fighting malnutrition.

At present, the Philippines does not have substantial malunggay plantations, Salamon observed. “But we hope that as this [situation] changes, the world will come to know the Philippines in this regard,” he said.

The students have presented their study to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The Inquirer came to know of their activity through a Jan. 17 e-mail from the Biolife News Service, a DA-funded advocacy group for biotechnology.

MIT Sloan confirmed that indeed, there were MBA students in the Philippines completing their Global Entrepreneurship Laboratory (G-lab) requirements.

G-Lab is a course that enables teams of management, engineering and science students at MIT to work closely with the top management of international startup companies in solving real-world problems.

G-lab is helping students “shed the belief that the United States is the center of the world economy,” MIT Prof. Richard Locke said in a statement. “They learn through hands-on experience that business models need to be re-adapted from the classroom into the actual country and culture of the company site.”

“In the end, most students are informed by their experience, to the extent that it may directly influence the direction of their careers,” Locke said.

(After completing their studies in the Philippines and acquiring their MBA degrees at MIT Sloan, Benavides will take a job at Cemex as a manager, Rall and Torbay will become associate consultants at McKinsey & Co. in California, and Salamon will be a product manager at Microsoft.)

As it turned out, Salamon and his colleagues were linked up with the Filipino biotech company Secura International Corp., which reportedly pioneered the extraction of pure oil from malunggay seeds.

The suitability of Secura’s own Moringa oil for use as biofuel is being tested in the United States. The results will be known within weeks, Salamon said.

He said the first large Moringa plantation in the Philippines would most likely be set up in Calbayog, Western Samar, as a result of a Jan. 22 memorandum of agreement between engineer Danilo Manayaga, Secura president and CEO, and Calbayog Mayor Mel Senen S. Sarmiento.

Manayaga said the MIT Sloan students were heartened by the eagerness of Filipino farmers to start in the malunggay business.

“They [students] were really fascinated by the scenery we passed on our trips, and were moved by the overwhelming acceptance of this project,” he told the Inquirer.

In an e-mail, the four students said 14 varieties of malunggay had spread around the world from their original habitat in the Himalayas.

But Moringa oil is not widely available anywhere at this time, Salamon said.

And while malunggay plantations can be found in India and some African countries, there are as yet no large-scale plans for extracting the oil because the leaves and green pods are eaten there, he said.

The students said the Philippines was the only country they knew of with “large-scale plans” of producing Moringa oil from malunggay seeds.

They also said ricelands would not be suitable for malunggay plantations, “so Moringa would not interfere with the food chain from this point of view.”

The students estimated a potential overseas demand for Moringa oil reaching “several billion liters per year over the next few years, depending on what industry we are looking at.”

Salamon said his group based this estimate on industry research as well as conversations with potential clients.

(No copy of the group’s study was provided. Patricia Favreau of MIT Sloan’s Office of Media Relations said the final paper with recommendations might take longer to put together.)

The prospect of developing billions of liters of biofuel for the world’s consumption has not always been viewed favorably, or optimistically.

Jean Ziegler, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to food, said biofuel could have a catastrophic impact on world hunger.

He called the conversion of food crops into biofuel “a crime against humanity,” saying it would lead to food shortages and price jumps that would push millions of impoverished people to starvation.

But according to Salamon, extracting oil from malunggay seeds for the world market is a project that strongly aligns national, social and business interests.

And this makes the project all the more fulfilling for them: “In our future careers, we will remember this as an example where public and private sector interests can coincide and work together.”

Per the Biolife News Service release, the MIT Sloan students said that with a 10-ha malunggay farm, a farmer could earn P2 million during the first year, P3 million in the next three years, and P4 million in the next four years. In addition, the meal, or sapal, of malunggay seeds may be used as livestock feed.

(The revenue computations were based on the business proposal offered by Secura and the estimated yields of malunggay seeds per hectare of land.)

Comparatively, a farmer could earn P1,440,000 a year planting corn, or P814,000 a year planting coconuts.

In the oil extraction plants that will be set up alongside the malunggay plantations, the labor force per manufacturing plant is estimated at 100 employees. By 2010, around 3,000 men and women would be employed in an estimated 30 manufacturing sites.

But here’s a whopper: The students said an extraction facility that would pass European and US standards would cost at least P250 million.

Salamon recalled how malunggay’s nutritive properties began to be known in 1999, when it was used in Africa to fight malnutrition.

He said its nutritive properties, such as beta carotene, and the presence of antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol made it suitable for the production of high-end health products.

He added that malunggay could also be used as an active ingredient in beauty products such as emollients.


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