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.


Malunggay : The Miracle Vegetable

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

“Malunggay” in the Philippines, “Sajina” in the Indian Subcontinent, and “Moringa” in English, it is a popular tree. Many Asians use the leaves of Malunggay (Sajina) like spinach and also the fruit it produces as a vegetable, like asparagus. It only used to be known as a vegetable for lactating mothers. But new scientific studies say that malunggay’s medicinal and market possibilities.

Touted by scientists as a “miracle vegetable,” malunggay has been promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the past 20 years as a low-cost health enhancer in poor countries around the globe.

Malunggay trees are generally grown in the backyards. The small, oval, dark-green leaves are famous vegetable ingredient in soup, fish and chicken dishes. Scientifically, called ‘Moringa oelifera.’ this vegetable, despite its legendary potentials, is still relatively unknown.

“The sale of all forms of vitamins, minerals, and health supplements is a big business,” points out Moringa Zinga, an American company that promotes and sells malunggay products in capsules. “If you are a company selling hundreds of nutritional products, why would you sell a product that will wipe out all your other products? This is true for the pharmaceutical industries as well. These industries would rather that the general public remains ignorant about the moringa leaves.”

According to the Biotechnology Program Office of the Department of Agriculture, the malunggay has been found by biochemists and molecular anthropologists to be rich in vitamins C and A, iron, and high density lipoprotein or good cholesterol.

Due to its high calcium content (four times the calcium in milk), lactating mothers in the Philippines are often advised to consume malunggay leaves to produce more milk for their babies. The young malunggay leaves are being boiled and drink as tea.

Malunggay leaves are loaded with nutrients. Gram for gram, malunggay leaves also contain two times the protein in milk. Likewise, it contains three times the potassium in bananas and four times the vitamin A in carrots.

Health nutritionists claim that an ounce of malunggay has the same Vitamin C content as seven oranges. An important function of vitamin C not known to many is its being an antioxidant. In fact, it has been recognized and accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration as one of the four dietary antioxidants, the others being vitamin E, beta-carotene and selenium. (A dietary oxidant is a substance in food that significantly decreases the adverse effects of harmful chemicals).

There are more health benefits. Vivencio Mamaril, of the Bureau of Plant Industry, told a national daily that in India, malunggay is used in treating various ailments. A 2001 study in India has found that the fresh root of the young tree can be used to treat fever. Asthmatics are advised to drink the infusion from the roots of the plant.

Tender malunggay leaves also reduce phlegm and are administered internally for scurvy and catarrhal conditions, while the flowers are used to heal inflammation of the tendons and abscesses. Unripe pods of malunggay are also reported to prevent intestinal worms, while the fruit also prevents eye disorders.

Other studies have shown that eating malunggay fruits can lead to higher semen count. This is good news for men who are having problems in siring children. They can now count on the malunggay to cork its magic on them.

Because of its nutritional content, malunggay strengthens the immune system, restores skin condition, controls blood pressure, re.ieves headaches and migraines, manages the sugar level thereby preventing diabetes, reduces inflammations and arthritis pains, restricts the growth of tumors, and heals ulcers. This information comes from Dr. Kumar Pati, an Indian doctor who is an expert in natural medicine.

The “next big thing” in Philippine agriculture. That is how the agriculture department considers malunggay. Malunggay can save lives, increase incomes, generate millions of jobs, utilize vast tracts of idle agricultural lands, make the Philippines globally competitive, impact local and international market, and help attain socioeconomic equity,” explained Alice Ilaga, director of the DA’s Biotechnology Program.

Besides being sold in the public market as a vegetable, is there really a market for malunggay products? “The Philippines is currently in the midst of developing the local market for malunggay and its products,” said a statement released by Biotechnology Program, which aggressively aims to develop the agribusiness potentials of various crops as part of the government’s poverty-alleviation program. “Despite being behind other countries such as India and Nicaragua, the Philippines’ malunggay industry is on its way to becoming a global competitor.”

In a press statement, Ilaga reported that the Nutrition Center of the Philippines is setting its sights on fortifying different types of food. “Given its nutritional value, it can be utilized in fortifying sauces, juices, milk, bread, and most importantly, instant noodles,” Ilaga says.

According to Ilaga, a multinational food company reportedly has expressed keen interest in putting up a processing plant in the Philippines for this purpose. “A noodle company is also eyeing malunggay for bio-fortification of noodles as part of its commitment to support the program to fight malnutrition, which is prevalent in the countryside,” she added.

The seeds of malunggay contain 40% oil, which is considered excellent massage oil. As part of its program to promote biotechnology, the agriculture department has strategically positioned itself for the commercial planting of seeds for malunggay oil production.

“The Philippines can penetrate the international market in producing malunggay oil from its seeds using advance technology to extract oil from enzymes,” Ilaga disclosed.

One local company that is leading in malunggay production is SECURA International. After entering into malunggay production for more than a year, it expects a bright future for the malunggay industry.

In an interview with a news dispatch, SECURA president Danny Manayaga admits that for the country to really take advantage of the market, it should first ensure that there is enough supply to support it. “‘The market is developing, but up to now, we still don’t know the extent of this market because we have not yet defined our capacity to produce malunggay,” he disclosed.

“We are involved with contract growers from different towns all over the country such as Valencia in Negros Oriental, Masinloc and Botolan in Zambales, Alaminos and Infanta in Pangasinan, and Bamban in Tarlac, which accounts for 150 hectares of our malunggay supply for our current market but it is not enough to sustain the demands for other products such as moringa oil,” Manayaga said.

SECURA needs at least 20,000 hectares to be able to support the available market for malunggay products. Currently, it is involved in processing dehydrated malunggay leaves to produce tea and as an additive to other medicinal plants to produce herbal tea. “This is the only active market that is running for malunggay now,” Manayaga said.

Unknown to many Filipinos, malunggay has the ability to purify water. “The crushed moringa seeds can clear very turbid water,” said Dr. John Sutherland, of Leicester University’s Department of Environmental Technology. He added that powdered malunggay seeds are appropriate for water purification in rural areas of tropical countries.

Planting malunggay trees can also help stabilize soil and contribute to fight against deforestation. The malunggay tree is highly resistant to drought and needs little care. It is fast-growing and lives for average of 50 years. Each tree can produce approximately 10,000 seeds a year. It also makes an excellent fuel and fertilizer.

A tropical species, malunggay can tolerate temperatures up to 48 degrees Centigrade, but 15 degrees to 35 degrees Centigrade is considered best. It grows in areas with annual rainfall of 760 to 2250 millimeters.

Is planting malunggay profitable? According to Ilaga, for a hectare of malunggay, the estimated net income per year is P150,000.