‘Siling labuyo’ can be a potential shield vs cancer, expert says.
Byline: Marvyn N. Benaning
Siling labuyo (Capsicum frutescens), the small but very hot pepper variety common in the country can be a potential shield against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, cataract and muscular degeneration.
Thus says Dr. Evelyn B. Rodriguez, a professor at
the Institute of Chemistry at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB), who stressed the siling labuyo’s huge potential during a seminar on indigenous plants for health and wellness at the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) during the 19th National Research Symposium held in celebration of the 8th National Agriculture and Fisheries R&D Week.
Known as chili pepper, siling labuyo is among the indigenous plants that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is promoting through the Indigenous Plants for Health and Wellness RDE Program of BAR.
The program aims to promote and highlight the importance of indigenous plants and their by-products.
The fruit of the siling labuyo is a popular condiment in sauces and dishes while its leaves are consumed as vegetable and is an ingredient for tinola, a popular chicken soup dish.
For centuries, the labuyo fruit has been used as an herbal treatment for arthritis and rheumatism and cure dyspepsia, flatulence and toothache.
“Phytochemicals are what people need to stay healthy,” Rodriguez stressed in her presentation.
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in fruits, vegetables and other edible plant species. These compounds act as anti-oxidants that are capable of metabolizing free-radicals in the body that cause cell death.
Carotenoids and phenolic acids are phytochemicals derived from siling labuyo.
Based on studies conducted by the team of Rodriguez, the anti-oxidant activity of siling labuyo extracts in terms of free radical scavenging activity is 60.1 percent, indicating its effectiveness as a treatment for certain medical conditions.
Rodriguez encouraged eating a variety of fruits and vegetables to acquire the phytochemicals needed to promote health and wellness.
Moreover, Rodriguez pointed out that more studies should be done on other indigenous plants like malunggay.
The potential disease-preventive mechanisms of pyhytochemicals in fruits and vegetables and their constituents are not limited to anti-oxidant activity alone.
Phytochemicals can also act in the modulation of detoxification enzymes, stimulation of the immune system, alteration of cholesterol mechanism and blood pressure reduction.