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Las Pinas City, Metro Manila, Philippines


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Olasimang Bato

Granny's sinaw-sinaw
 Sinaw-sinaw (Peperomia pellucida Linn) or tangon-tangon(Bicol) also known  as ‘ulasimang bato’,  ‘pansit-pansitan’(Tagalog), ‘sida-sida’, ‘tangon-tangon’, ‘olasiman ihalas’(Bisaya), or ‘ lin-linnaaw’(Ilocano), is an annual herb, shallow rooted, with succulent stems that often grows in groups in nooks in the gardens,  plant pots, yard or even on top of your uncleaned roof tops. It grows in rocky parts of canals and considered weeds and pulled out by most gardeners. The leaves are heart shaped and turgid, transparent and smooth. It has tiny dotlike flowers scattered along solitary and leaf-opposed stalk. Tiny numerous seeds drop off when mature and grow easily in clumps in any damp area.

Sinaw-sinaw in Granny's backyard
In America, it is known as pepper elder, silver bush, rat ear, man-to-man, clearweed in North America, konsaka wiwiri in Guianas, coraçãozinho or "little heart"  in Brazil, lingua de sapo, herva-de-vidro, herva-de-jaboti or herva-de-jabuti  in South America. The Oceanas called it rtertiil ( Belauan), podpod-lahe or potpopot  (Chamoro).
In other parts of Asia, it is known as càng cua (Vietnam); pak krasang (Thailand); suna kosho (Japan); rangu-rangu, ketumpangan or tumpang angin (Bahasa/Malay).

Many Filipinos are still ignorant of this nutritious and medicinal plant so they ignore and pull it away from their backyards. Don’t you know that a 100 gram of Ulisimang Bato could contain 1.1 grams of carbohydrates, 0.5 gram of protein,0.5 gram of fat,94 mg of calcium,13 mg of phosphorus,4.3 mg of iron,1250 ug of beta-carotene and 2 mg of ascorbic acid or vitamin c; which we need in our daily diet, wherein it could be eaten raw as part of a salad meal? The leaves and stems can be eaten as vegetables. I remember my mother mixing it with sautéed mongo bean, or mixed it with other vegetable dish. Sometimes she would make a very yummy salad that has the crispness of a carrot stick and celery.

In terms of medicinal value, Ulasimang bato could help one in their arthritis, headache and convulsion, abdominal pains, kidney problems, skin problems and gout. It could also decrease one’s Uric acid and tophi formation if one has high Uric acid levels. In Bolivia, a decoction of roots is used for fever, and aerial parts for wounds while in Brazil, it is used to lower cholesterol, for treatment of abscesses, furuncles and conjunctivitis.
Ulasimang bato is also antipyretic (that is why it relieves headache), antifungal (which kills particularly the Trichoployton mentagrophytes fungal parasite) and antibacterial (which kills bacterias like Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria).

Sinaw-sinaw Tea
Sinaw-sinaw or ulasimang bato is popular for the treatment of gout and arthritis. Leaves and stems of the fresh plant maybe eaten as salad or as a medicinal tea. Infuse or put a 20cm. plant in 2 glasses of boiling water. Take ½ cup of this infusion in the morning and 1/2 cup in the evening. Or a decoction of the leaves taken 3 times a day every after meal. Here is how to do it; wash the leaves thoroughly, cut and chop into small pieces. Boil in 2 glasses of chopped leaves with 4 glasses of water, let it boil for 15 minutes under low fire without cover, cool then strain. Drink 1/3 glass of this decoction 3 times a day after each meal.

Sinaw-sinaw  is also good for cleansing the kidney. Put fresh leaves in a pitcher of water and drink it daily.  For kidney stones and those with high uric acid levels, boil 8 inches of plant for every two glasses of water. Drink ten (10) glasses a day for a month. This dissolves kidney stones. Toward the end of the program, you would notice you urinate cloudy, milky stone-filled urine. Continue drinking the brew for a few days more for good measure. This program cleans the kidneys of lithiasis and, thereby, cures Renin-induced secondary hypertension where the underlying cause of renin secretion is kidney lithiasis.

It can be used as facial rinse for complexion problems. Pounded whole plant is used as warm poultice for boils, pustules and pimples.

However, lactating women or a breastfeeding mother and pregnant women should not take or use sinaw-sinaw. Even those who have asthma –like symptoms should not take sinaw-sinaw as it might be triggered by hypersensitivity reactions to certain plant species.