About Me

My photo
Las Pinas City, Metro Manila, Philippines


Friday, March 11, 2011


           Saluyot or Jute (Corchorus capsularis L.) is a favorite vegetable of the Ilokanos and thrives almost anywhere in the Philippines. It is also abundant in Asia, Africa and in tropical deserts and wet forest zones. It requires little care in cultivation, and can be grown year-round. I use cuttings to propagate it, some prefer seedlings.

Saluyot(Jute) has been grown for food since 6000 B.C. History has shown that saluyot (Jew mallow or malukhiyah) originated from Egypt and was widely believed to be the source of health and beauty among Egyptian royalties, including the famous Cleopatra.

According to the Department of Science and Technology( DOST), Philippines, 100 grams of saluyot contains an ample amount of Vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, phosphorous, iron, potassium, sodium and is also rich in fiber. This green leafy vegetable is rich in beta-carotene for good eyesight, iron for healthy red blood cells, calcium for strong bones and teeth, and vitamin C for smooth, clear skin, strong immune cells, and fast wound-healing. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid improves circulation and helps lower the risk of cataracts and other eye disorders. Eating saluyot regularly helps control blood pressure & cholesterol, and lowers the risk of asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Dried saluyot leaves can be made into a tea and is believed to cure headaches, dysentery, stomach aches and ulcers. Studies have also shown that saluyot can be used for anti-inflammatory treatment. Saluyot has also been connected with curing the chronic inflammation of the urinary bladder. The Philippine Department of Health advises the public to increase their intake of saluyot or Jute, malunggay and banana in order to build resistance against the threat of swine flu.

The most important benefit of the leaves is their high antioxidant property, primarily in the form of Vitamin E. Its high antioxidant property reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines in the face and body. Thus, regular consumption of saluyot can make you appear young. These antioxidants combine with free radicals reduces the cause of problems like arthritis, hardening of arteries, heart and kidney ailments

INABRAO of the Ilocanos
The best saluyot dish I’ve ever tasted is the malukhiyah dish in Saudia Arabia. The leaves are pureed and mixed last when the chicken sautéed onion is done. It is best eaten with pita bread. The Ilocanos use saluyot in their preparation of dinengdeng and bulangbulang. Dried or fresh saluyot are also mixed with sautéed bamboo shoots and dried beans. It can be steamed and pureed, mixed with chicken, or prepared into soup like how the Japanese prepare it as molohiya. Some mixes it in sautéed mongo and in soups. It is slimy in character so some people dislike it.

elegant Jute bags
eco-friendly Jute bags
Samples of jute bags from google images made from some varieties of Jute plan. It can also be made into ropes, beautiful rags and decorative items.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Malabar Night Shade

Purple Alugbati

Alugbati ( scientific name: Basella rubra Linn., B.alba Linn) in Tagalog; Malabar Night Shade, Ceylon spinach, or Climbing spinach in English; luo kui shu(Chinese); Pui shak in Bengali; Mong to in Vietnamese; Bertalha in Portuguese is one of the most popular indigenous leafy and stew vegetable in the Philippines.  Alugbati or vine spinach is commonly found in South-East Asia and Africa. It can easily grow in gardens without taking too much care. In some provinces it is propagated as a decorative plant. Alugbati are now being sold in supermarkets, market gardens and home gardens. It is usually planted in home gardens using cuttings. For market gardens, seedlings are transplanted 3 weeks after sowing. It grows well under full sunlight in hot, humid climates and in areas lower than 500 m above sea level. There are three common types of alugbati: Basella alba with green stem and oval to almost round leaves; Basella rubra with red stems and green, oval to round leaves and very common in backyard gardens and the third type is a hybrid of the two. 

Alugbati is a great source of vitamins A, B and C, Iron and calcium and a good source of antioxidant. It is also rich in phosphorous, thiamine, riboflavin,  niacin and ascorbic acid.

Alugbati has a mild spinach flavor and slimy when overcooked. It is an excellent thickening agent in soups and stews. The purplish dye from the ripe fruit is used as a food color and as a rouge for the face. The cooked roots are used to treat diarrhea while the leaves are used as a laxative. The flowers are used as antidote for poison while a paste from the root is used as a rubefacient or is applied to reduce local swellings. A paste from the leaves is used externally to treat boils. Leaf juice mixed with butter is soothing and cooling when applied to burns and scalds.  In  Nigeria, alugbati is used for fertility enhancement in women. In Ayurveda, alugbati is used for hemorrhages, skin diseases, sexual weakness, ulcers and as laxative in children and pregnant women. In some studies, ethanolic and petroleum ether extracts of the leaves of alugbati showed maximum effect against E coli. In some studies, the liquid of the plant is effective for acne eruptions and also eases inflammation. According to studies conducted  by the Research Institute  studies, for Tropical Studies (RITM)  onion, garlic and alugbati proved to be the cheapest and effective in killing mosquito larvae. Extracts of the plants by pounding and squeezing through a blender and then put in the water where the larvae live was proven effective mosquito larvicide.