Monday, 11 February 2013

Top 3 Plants To Have In Your Backyard

I don't have a green thumb. Over the past few years, I've managed to kill a few potted basil and other herbs. When my son is old enough to understand, I want the both of us to know how to grow the simplest plants that's packed with vitamins and other nutrients.

1. Malunggay/Sajina/Moringa
This one is a known galactagogue. I take this in powder and capsule form to increase my milk supply. This grows EVERYWHERE and it's very easy to take care of. I like adding this in soups and stews and the powdered moringa is also great in my cup of Joe.

Here it is in my unhealthy-but-instant-soup from a packet:

Health Benefits:

  • Rich in vitamins A, C, E, iron, and good cholesterol
  • Rich source of calcium and protein. Even better than milk!
  • Its vitamin C content is: 1 oz. of malunggay leaves  = 7 oranges
  • Anti-asthma
  • Anti-ovarian cancer
  • Analgesic (relieves pain)
  • Anti-arthritis
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-ulcer
  • Anti-diabetic
Also: I plan on making baby/kid appropriate fritters/nuggets with malunggay leaves in the future.

2. Alugbati/Ceylon Spinach/Malabar Nightshade (COOL NAME I KNOW)

In the Philippines, this plant grows almost EVERYWHERE. I see these crawlies dotting someone's front lawn despite the suburban nature of the area. This one's a safe laxative for pregnant/lactating women. I've made this twice and it's actually pretty tasty combined with coconut milk. Ginataang Alugbati, if you will.

I sauteed some garlic in coconut oil, added some shredded ginger, added cubed green papaya, and splashed some freshly squeezed coconut milk. Lastly, added the alugbati because it's quite slimy and I didn't want the finished product to be like slimy coconut milk. Et voila, a dish that dear husband liked! A twist on this dish is a small sprinkling of instant sinigang mix (cheating, I know) and you have a Lebanese-inspired dish! Season with patis/salt and pepper.

As a side note: this vegetable, like the kangkong, is a tropical spinach and could be added to any dish that requires spinach. Just take note of its slimy texture so it's not that great when added to vegetable shakes/juices.

Quick facts: the fruits are used as natural rouges/lipstick by many women and it's also a great natural dye substitute! When I make my own lipbalm, I may have to score some alugbati fruit.

Health benefits:

  • Good source of folate
  • Good source of fiber 
  • Good source of vitamins A, C, and B complex 
  • Low calorie source of calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Excellent source of chlorophyll 
  • Excellent "survival food" (this pinay prepper approves!)

3. Pansit-pansitan/Shiny Bush/Peperomia

I consumed a good amount of this plant and lo and behold, my TMJD-related pain subsided!

Pansit-pansitan is another low-maintenance plant and it also grows EVERYWHERE. My husband used to weed this out of his mini garden thinking that it's just some random plant. Apparently, this is great for arthritis!

Some people consume this as a tea to relieve arthritic aches and pains. They make a decoction by boiling the leaves in hot water, but, I'd rather consume it fresh and raw. 

Here is my recipe for Shiny Bush Salad

-Pansit-pansitan leaves
-Balsamic vingear
-Olive oil
-Splenda (Optional, but I added one packet in mine)
-A dash of water

Rinse the leaves. Combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil (about a teaspoon will do), salt, pepper, and a dash of water. Soak the leaves in your balsamic vinegar dressing for about ten minutes. Toast your chopped garlic in oil. Then crush some peanuts (we used the raw ones that you buy at the palengke). Sprinkle the garlic and peanuts on top of the alugbati-balsamic mixture. Enjoy!

Note: make enough dressing so that the leaves will be soaked! Don't make too much though as this will overpower the crunch-factor of the pansit-pansitan!

Health Benefits:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic (again, a great pain reliever)
  • Relieves gout
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • A poultice made from pansit-pansitan cures skin problems like pimples and boils
These three plants are a great addition to anyone's garden due to the fact that these plants don't need to be fussed over. Not to mention that these plants are excellent survival food that any pinay prepper would definitely need in her arsenal. 

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