Medicinal Plants and Veggies

Sometimes I feel like a goat having veggies and anything green and leafy for my daily diet. There’s this herb plant called “lubi-lubi” or “niyog-niyog” in Bicol. (Lubi or Niyog means coconut). It belongs to the species FICUS PSEUDOPALMA. It looks like a palm but is actually part of the fig family and is found in the Philippines. I love it cooked in coconut milk or sautéed with boneless smoked fish.

This veggie is very delicious even without fish and has medicinal properties. It is said to be a very good remedy for high blood pressure!

Yes, just like a goat I’d eat anything green and leafy. It’s the secret for longevity!

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Horseradish Tree leaves (malunggay in Filipino, scientifically named Moringa oleifera Lam.) is one of my favorite veggies. This green leafy veggie has many health benefits and is said to be one of the best source of vitamin A, B, C, and minerals like iron, amino acids, methionine and cystine. It can cure headache, fungal skin disorders, gastric, ulcers, diarrhea, arthritis, gout boils, urinary tract infection and even epilepsy. Amazing!

I love it cooked in coconut milk with shark meat, vinegar, garlic, onions, salt, black pepper and small red super hot and spicy pepper (labuyo) called “kinunot”.

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Sweet Potato (kamote or camote in Filipino, scientifically named Ipomea Batatas) is found almost everywhere in the Philippines. Lowly camote tops has many health benefits and is said to cure cardiovascular diseases and even cancer and lowers blood sugar and cholesterol. It is one of the richest source of vitamin A thiamine, riboflavin and ascorbic acid.

I love it cooked or sautéed with sardines in tomato sauce or fresh fish in sour soup. Or, just steam it, add soy sauce, fresh tomato, golden lime juice, onions and crushed small red pepper (labuyo). Serve with fried or grilled fish and plain rice. Yummy!

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Cassava or Tapioca Plant (kamoteng kahoy or balinghoy in Filipino, scientifically named Manihot esculenta Crantz) abounds everywhere in the Philippines. It is very rich in starch and can be cooked in many ways. Its starch can cure measles or allergen (boil water with cassava starch or “gawgaw”, cool and bath or soak skin for 10-15 minutes). We even have a delicacy called Cassava Cake.

Here in Sorsogon, we also cook its young leaves with coconut milk, boneless smoked fish or dried anchovies, salt, garlic and onions just like other veggies. It is very delicious and filling. As long as you know how and can IDENTIFY green leafy plants or veggies, you will never go hungry here.

[Originally published in Bubblews 2013]