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Scientific name: Basella rubra Linn English: Malabar Night Shade Tagalog: Alugbati A succulent, branched, smooth, twining herbaceous vine, several meters in length. Stems are purplish or green. Leaves are fleshy, ovate or heart-shaped, 5 to 12 cms long, stalked, tapering to a pointed tip with a cordate base. Spikes are axillary, solitary, 5-29 cm long. Fruit is fleshy, stalkless, ovoid or spherical, 5-6 mm long, and purple when mature. Alugbati, also known as basella rubra linn, vine spinach, Malabar nightshade, Ceylon spinach, arogbati, dundula, grana, ilaibakir, libato and Lo k'uei, is a spinach substitute commonly grown in organic gardens. Alugbati is a good source of vitamins and minerals, helps to reduce inflammation and acts as a laxative. You can receive these health benefits by eating the leaves, stem and seeds of this plant. Although alugbati has several purported medical benefits, currently available clinical evidence does not support the claims made about this herb. Botanical Information Alugbati is a branched, smooth herbaceous vine that grows to several meters in length. The stem of this plant is either purple or green in color. The leaves of this plant grow to approximately two to five inches in length. Additionally, the plant contains axillary spikes that grow to approximately two to 11 inches in length. The alugbati plant produces a fleshy fruit that has a spherical shape and turns purple when mature. Alugbati Uses You can use alugbati as spinach to prepare stews. However, once alugbati is cooked many people do not find the taste of the plant palatable. According to "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," the roots of alugbati can reduce the redness of your skin. Additionally, you can use the sap from alugbati to reduce local swellings and as an ointment to treat acne and diminish other types of skin irritations. Further, you can use alugbati as an emollient to moisturize your skin. You should, however, speak with a
medical professional prior to using alugabti to treat any specific medical condition. Alugbati Benefits and Applications I According to "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs With All Their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments," alugbati is an easily digestible spinach that can act as a mild laxative. Additionally, you can apply a pulp made from the leaves of this plant to boils, ulcers and abscesses to help suppress the discharge of puss. Moreover, the leaf juices, thoroughly rubbed and mixed with butter, can create a soothing and cooling application to treat burns and scalds. Alugbati Benefits and Applications II According to "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," you can make a remedy to treat headaches by mixing the liquid from the leaves of the alugbati plant with the stalks of this plant. Further, you can use the fruit of this plant to create a natural makeup for the lips and cheeks. Moreover, alugbati is a vegetable source of calcium, iron and vitamins A, B and C.