Akapulko / Acapulco (Cassia alata

)

Akapulko or Acapulco in English is a shrub found throughout the Philippines. It is known under various names in different regions in the country. Locals call the plant katanda, andadasi, and palochina in Tagalog, Ilocos and in the Visayas regions, respectively. The shrub belongs to the family ofLeguminosae, and grows about one to two meters tall. It has thick branches and the leaves are embraced with 8 to 20 leaflets that are oblong-elliptical in shape. The flowers of the Akapulko have oblong sepals, and its fruits are tetragonal, which are also winged and glabrous. A medicinal herb that contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies, and eczema. Akapulko also contains saponin, a laxative that is useful in expelling intestinal parasites. The primary part used for herbal purposes are the leaves, although the roots and flowers are also used for certain preparations with medicinal value. The extracts from the Akapulko plant is commonly used as an ingredient for lotions, soaps, and shampoos.

Benefits & Treatment of Akapulko:
‡ External Use: Treatment of skin diseases: Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness. ‡ Mouthwash in stomatitis ‡ Internal use: Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea ‡ Alleviation of asthma symptoms ‡ Used as diuretic and purgative ‡ For cough & fever ‡ As a laxative to expel intestinal parasites and other stomach problems.

Note: A strong decoction of Akapulko leaves is an abortifacient. Pregnant women should not take decoction of the leaves or any part of this plant.

Preparation & Use:
‡ For external use, pound the leaves of the Akapulko plant, squeeze the juice and apply on affected areas. ‡ As the expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea, drink decoction (soak and boil for 10 to 15 minutes) of Akapulko leaves. The same preparation may be used as a mouthwash, stringent, and wash for eczema. ‡ As laxative, cut the plant parts (roots, flowers, and the leaves) into a manageable size then prepare a decoction Note: The decoction looses its potency if not used for a long time. Dispose leftovers after one day. ‡ The pounded leaves of Akapulko has purgative functions, specifically against ringworms. It should be noted that the pounded leaves of this plant may be applied thinly on the affected part twice a day. Marked improvement may be expected after two to three weeks of continuous application to the affected area(s) where the prepared Akapulko leaves were applied.

Herbal Medicine: Ampalaya (Momordica charantia)

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) with a scientific name Momordica charantia, is a climbing vine and the tendrils of which grow up to 20 centimeters long. This herbal plant belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae, and it is a tropical as well as a subtropical vine. Ampalaya leaves are heart-shaped, which are 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the ampalaya vine are fleshy green with pointed ends at length. It can never be mistaken for any other variety because its ribbed and wrinkled surface had always been ampalaya¶s distinct physical structure. The bitter taste of the ampalaya fruit had also been the distinguishing factor from the rest of the fruits with medicinal value, and this is due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin. Ampalaya has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments. Most significant of which is for Diabetes. The Philippine variety has proven to be most potent. Ampalaya contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from Ampalaya's medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium. Ampalaya has been for used even by the Chinese for centuries. The effectively of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help alleviate various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well. Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.

Herbal Benefits of Ampalaya:
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Good for rheumatism and gout And diseases of the spleen and liver Aids in lowering blood sugar levels Helps in lowering blood pressure Relives headaches Disinfects and heals wounds & burns Can be used as a cough & fever remedy Treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea Helps prevent some types of cancer Enhances immune system to fight infection For treatment of hemorrhoids Is an antioxidant and parasiticide Is antibacterial and antipyretic

Preparation & Use of Ampalaya:
‡ For coughs, fever, worms, diarrhea, diabetes, juice Ampalaya leaves and drink a spoonful daily. ‡ For other ailments, the fruit and leaves can both be juiced and taken orally. ‡ For headaches wounds, burns and skin diseases, apply warmed leaves to afflicted area. ‡ Powdered leaves, and the root decoction, may be used as stringent and applied to treat hemorrhoids. ‡ Internal parasites are proven to be expelled when the ampalaya juice, made from its leaves, is extracted. The ampalaya juice, and grounded seeds is to be taken one spoonful thrice a day, which also treats diarrhea, dysentery, and chronic colitis.

Balanoi or Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Balanoi is a plant, which belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, grows to an erect length of 50 to 80 centimeters, the leaves of which are oval-shaped, and have slightly-toothed edges. The flowers of balanoi or common basil are either white or purple. The compounds that can be extracted from this plant vary, but it has been determined through various experiments and researches that its dried leaves contain 0.20% to 1% of essential oils. Balanoi has been renowned throughout the Philippines and in various parts of the world because of its medicinal and health benefits. It can be found all over the country, and have several uses. Balanoi's use is not only limited to medicinal purposes, rather, extracts of common basil can be found in cosmetics, and are mixed in liquors and fragrances as well. For instance, in South Africa and in India, the rhizomes of the Balanoi plant are extracted and are used as mosquito repellant. This plant has also been found to aid people that suffer from various health ailments. Studies have shown that there are particular activities on which Balanoi plant extracts and oils address. For one, it serves as an anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicine because of ethanol substance that it has. It has also been used as a stimulant, and has been found to be an effective means to remove cold sores. In the Philippines, it is an option to alleviate pain caused by headaches, cramps, and even shortness of breath. The same goes true for sprains, and the way to do this is to rub the oil or the extract of the Balanoi plant leaves, mixed with alcohol, to the ailing part of the body. Balanoi also manifests anti-bacterial activities, in such a manner that intestinal worms are eradicated from the body when the ethanol extracts derived from it are taken in as a form of medication. There have also been clinical experiments showing that balanoi extracts, especially its ethanol content, can be used as anti-cancer, anti-ulcer, anti-diabetic and even shows promise for the protection of humans from radiation.

Preparation of Balanoi as Herbal Medication: There are several ways to prepare the plant for medication, depending on the nature for which it is going to be used. The amount of raw materials and extracts that are needed also vary depending on the use. When the balanoi leaves are to be used to stimulate the body, it is recommended for the individual to permeate about twenty (20) balanoi leaves with 200 grams of water, and three to four cups are supposed to be drank a day. A combined weight of 40 grams basil leaves incorporated with 200 grams of water is to be used for gargling in order to remove cold sores. Health experts suggest that this be done three times every day, until the cold sores are gone. Now, for people who are suffering from shortness of breath, they are suggested to drink one glass of boiled balanoi leaves, consisting of twelve leaves mixed with one and a half liters of water, twice a day. Balanoi also helps regulate the women¶s menstrual cycle, and if one is interested in this, they are supposed to prepare a mixture of 100 grams of balanoi leaves with a liter of water. It is recommended for people to drink four cups of this preparation several days before one¶s expected period. As for its antibacterial purposes, ten grams of balanoi leaves fused with 100 grams of water should be boiled and drank a glass per day, during early mornings or when the person still has an empty stomach. Lastly, for the aid that it effects for pains caused by rheumatism, simple headache and occasional sprains, one should grind a concoction of balanoi, rosemary and ruta, in equal proportion. It should be rubbed to the ailing or throbbing part for eight days, the application of which may be continuous day and night.

Banaba (Lagerstroemia speciosa)

Banaba, the scientific name of which is Lagerstroemia speciosa, is a tropical flowery tree. It grows to a height as high as 20 meters. Its leaves are large, and ranges from the shape of elliptical-ovate to oblong. These leaves are shed by the plant during the first months of the year, and are bright orange or red during these times. Various research on Banaba conducted in Japan prove true the belief that this plant contains high levels of corosilic acid, a substance known as one of the many treatments for diabetes mellitus. Besides its

medicinal value, banaba is also cultivated and known for its beautiful flowers. Banaba has been used in Filipino folkloric herbal medicine for the treatment of diabetes for centuries. It is now gaining popularity and getting recognition as a herbal medicine not only in the Philippines but worldwide. Banaba is also known as Queen's Flower, Crepe Myrtle and the Pride of India. In India, Banaba has also been used to cure diabetes in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time. Recent studies and laboratory test showed that it's active ingredient, corosolic acid is a potent compound that has insulin like effect to lower glucose in the body and is effective in treating diabetes. Banaba is rapidly becoming known as a natural plant insulin, and what makes it ideal is that, the herbal preparation may also be taken orally, without any risk of adverse side effects. However, caution is advised against taking Banaba with any diabetic drug or any other drug simultaneously. Always consult with a qualified physician or a medical practitioner before taking any medication or any herbal medicine for a correct dose. Also, extra precaution is highly recommended as initial findings show that Banaba extract may delay and reduce the absorption of carbohydrates in the body and promote weight loss, despite its useful medicinal value. Other studies that were focused on this plant showed other potential medicinal benefits. These include antibacterial functions of seed extracts from this plant, and a water extract of the same manifest anti-oxidative functions. Another is the significant protection that Banaba seems to exhibit to treat HIV-infected cells. This is brought about by its ellagic acid constituents. Aside from the medicinal value of Banaba, as a herbal medicine, it is also good for the health. Banaba contains high concentrations of dietary fiber and minerals such as zinc and magnesium. The leaves can be boiled and taken daily as tea.

Benefits and Treatment of Banaba:
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Diabetes Fights obesity Helps regulate blood pressure Good for the kidneys Aids the digestive system Helps ease urination

Banaba Preparation & Use:
Note: Fresh leaves, dried leaves, flowers, ripe fruit, root and bark of Banaba can all be used. ‡ Wash the leaves in running water (if fresh). Cut into smaller pieces if desired. ‡ Boil Banaba (one cup Banaba to cup of water) for 30 minutes. Drink like tea.

Bawang, Bauang | Garlic (Allium sativum)

Bawang or Garlic with scientific name Allium sativum, is a low herb, which only grows up to sixty centimeters high. Its leaves are flat and linear, with bulbs that consist of several tubers. This herb is one of the most widely used herbal medicines in the Philippines and can also be found commonly in the kitchen of Filipino households as it is used to spice up food preparations. The Philippine bawang or garlic variety is more pungent than the imported ones. Its medicinal properties have been known for a long time and have been especially proven during World War II when it was used to treat wounds and infections of soldiers. Garlic¶s antibacterial compound known as allicin, saved many lives of the soldiers as this property prevented the wounds from being infected and developing into gangrene at a later stage by extracting the juice of bawang or garlic and applying to the wounds. Bawang, sometimes spelled as bauang or in English, garlic is known as nature's antibiotic. Its juices inhibit the growth of fungi and viruses thus, prevent viral, yeast, and infections. The preliminary test conducted on this medicinal herb showed some positive results in the treatment of AIDS. Several clinical tests that followed and published studies have shown the efficacy of garlic in lowering cholesterol in the blood and is beneficial to the circulatory system of the body. Today, as more research is done on garlic, more medicinal and therapeutic properties become more evident. As of the present time, lowering of the blood pressure, reduction of platelet aggregation, and the boosting of fibrinolytic activities are among the list of herbal functions of garlic, which is supported by medical findings. Although more clinical studies are needed to support the contention stronger, marked improvements in benign breast diseases have been traced to make progress because of the regular intake of supplements, of which the primary ingredient is garlic. Although controlled trials in terms of anti-cancer activities of garlic have been performed in medical research, it has been proven through population-based studies that substances contain in garlic help in reducing the risk of some types of cancer. These would include

colorectal malignancies, and gastric cancer. Regular consumption of raw garlic has been proven to aid in many bleeding cases, especially those cases that are associated with procedures in surgeries and dental activities. All these considered, it appears that garlic have no concrete scientific basis to claim a significant effect in the level of glucose in our blood. It is remarkable to note though that the Philippine Department of Health has endorsed garlic as one of the top ten Philippine herbs with therapeutic value and the department recommends its use as an alternative herbal medicine in view of the positive results of thorough research and testing, which had been conducted on this herbal plant. Juice extracted from garlic bulbs can be used as tick and mosquito repellant when applied to skin. Bad breath, due to the strong odor of garlic, is the most common side effect of taking this herb. Fresh garlic applications to the skin have been reported to cause skin burns and rashes. This goes true both for those who are in the initial stages of their garlic therapies, and those who consume it as an ingredient in food preparations.

Health Benefits of Bawang-Garlic:
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Good for the heart Helps lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) Aids in lowering blood pressure Remedy for arteriosclerosis May help prevent certain types of cancer Boosts immune system to fight infection With antioxidant properties Cough and cold remedy Relives sore throat, toothache Aids in the treatment of tuberculosis Helps relieve rheumatism pain With anticoagulant properties

Preparation of Bawang-Garlic:
‡ For disinfecting wound, crush and juice the garlic bulb and apply. You may cover the afflicted area with a gauze and bandage. ‡ For sore throat and toothache, peal the skin and chew. Swallow the juice. ‡ Cloves of garlic may be crushed and applied to affected areas to reduce the pain caused by arthritis, toothache, headache, and rheumatism. ‡ Decoction of the bawang bulbs and leaves are used as treatment for fever. ‡ For nasal congestion, steam and inhale: vinegar, chopped garlic, and water.

Aside from being an alternative herbal medicine for hypertension, arteriosclerosis and other ailments, garlic is also recommended for maintaining good health - eat raw garlic bulbs if you can, and include bawang regularly in the food you eat. Garlic is healthy and taste good on a variety of dishes.

Carrot (Daucus carota L.)

Carrot (Karot in Filipino) is an outstanding trait of this flowering plant, which belongs to the family ofApiaceae, is that it is self-fertile. By nature, carrot's flowers have both male and female organs, and are usually pollinated primarily by beetles and flies. In order to facilitate the cultivation of this plant, it is necessary to place it in an area where it can receive light. It has a strong rate of survival, because it can withstand strong winds. However, the carrot plant cannot bear to be exposed to salty water and soil. It is a biennial plant, which means that it usually takes two years for it to complete its life cycle. However, it is not uncommon for plants of this nature to complete its biological life cycle in a few months time, especially when subjected to extreme climate conditions. Carrot is classified as a root vegetable, which grows as tall as one (1) meter. The wild carrot, from which the modern carrot¶s cultivation is based, has flowers that are rounded, which are bright white in color when it is in full bloom. Such flowers have the width of 3 to 7 centimeters, and the vegetable itself is known to have various colors, such as orange, red, purple, yellow or white. Carrots are extremely popular because of its numerous uses, and because of the many vitamins and minerals that it contains. For instance, its roots are edible, whether cooked or raw, and are used as an ingredient to soups and salad bowls. It has been found that carrot root juice is very rich in carotene, which in turn is converted to vitamin A by our liver, and is one of the vitamins that the body needs. Regular intake of carrot roots, in any manner, though recommended to be taken in juice form, improves eyesight. Particular substances that are contained in the roots have been discovered to be anti-cancer. That is the primary reason why carrot juice has become a popular drink, as it is associated with a wealth of health benefits. The roots of the carrot plant, when roasted, are also being used as a

substitute for coffee. Extractions from the roots, known as carotene, are also being used commercially as a food dye. The leaves of this plant, which have high vitamin E content, are also being used as flavorings for soup. From the derived uses of this plant, it is evident that its roots, seeds, and leaves have particular functions which are known to be utilized by many. Carrots have been known to have medicinal properties that allow it to be used as an astringent and antiseptic substance. Carrot has been used as a cleansing medicine, because of its activities which basically helps the kidney in the removal of waste in the body. It also aids in the stimulation of one¶s menstruation because of the same properties. For children, raw carrot roots are a safe and recommended treatment for threadworms. In the same manner, regular intake of cultivated carrot roots allows the stimulation of urine flow. It manifests activities that help the skin, by virtue of its anti-oxidant contents.

Carrot Health Benefits:
‡ Body cleanser, and is a medication for kidney problems ‡ Treatment for cough and chest pains ‡ Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic function helps solve burns, ulcer and infected wounds

Preparation & Use:
‡ Boil with milk, and drink for cough ‡ Poultice of carrots may be applied to infected wounds and to the chest, in case it is going to be used to aid in an individual¶s chest pains ‡ Ground seeds of the plant may be taken as tea, in order to increase urine flow

Luyang Dilaw, or Ginger Root (scientific name: Zingiber officinale) belongs to the family of, as its scientific name signifies, Zingiberaceae. The rootstocks of this erect, smooth plant are thick, and have strong aromatic qualities. Its edible roots, tops, and even its leaves are found to have medicinal value. The taste of luyang dilaw is distinct, brought about by the zingerone and shogoal substances that it has, giving the plant its pungent properties. As an herbal medicine, Luyang Dilaw has long been used as a cold, cough, fever, and sore throat remedy. Ginger helps in the digestion and absorption of food, lowering of cholesterol, alleviating nausea and vomiting. Luyang dilaw has antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and antiinflammatory properties as well. In the same way, it has been found to contain potent antioxidant qualities, which come from the extract and active constituents of the plant. These uses are separate and distinct from the nutritional value of luyang dilaw. The rhizomes of luyang dilaw is mainly associated as the main ingredient in a very popular local beverage, which is salabat. Recent studies have shown that luyang dilaw had been found with traces of antiemetic properties. Thus, it is now being recommended to be taken half an hour before one¶s travel to avoid being travelsick and experience nausea during the voyage. Pregnant women should take precautionary measures in taking luyang dilaw for medicinal purposes although it has been proven that none of the plant¶s substances triggers adverse side effects, even when it interacts with other drugs. This herbal plant is not recommended for expectant mothers for the very reason that there is a possibility of inhibition of testosterones that binds the fetus, as a result of some of the properties that luyang dilaw contains. In India, ginger is widely used to reduce inflammation and pain with those with arthritis. Researchers have found that ginger lowers pain-causing prostaglandin levels. They advise taking 500 to 1,000 milligrams a day. The higher the intake of ginger, the greater the relief. Ginger also helps prevent hair loss. Pound an inch square of ginger and extract the juice. Massage the fresh ginger juice directly on to the scalp and leave on for at least 15 minutes before rinsing, but for best results, leave on overnight to better stimulate the hair follicles and induce hair growth.

Medicinal Benefits of Luyang Dilao (Ginger Root):
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Relieves rheumatic pains & muscle pains Alleviates sore throat, fever and colds Ease nausea and vomiting Intestinal disorders and slow digestion Relief from tympanism and flatulence Treat intestinal worms Hinder diarrhea, gas pains Relieve indigestion (dyspepsia), toothaches Lower cholesterol levels Aids treatment of tuberculosis

Preparation & Use:
‡ Boil the ginger root in water and drink. The more concentrated the better. ‡ For sore throat and tooth ache, remove the skin and chew small portions. ‡ For cuts & bruises, apply the juice of luyang-dilao directly to the skin or use dried rhizomes with 70% alcohol then apply to afflicted areas. ‡ For rheumatism and muscle pains, pound roasted or fresh ginger and apply to painful areas -can be mixed with oil for easy application.

Tanglad | Lemon Grass
(Andropogon citratus DC)

Tanglad or lemon grass is a commercially-viable plant that is cultivated mainly for the fragrance that it produces. It can be easily found in most Asian countries, and is widely cultivated in tropical areas. By nature, tanglad is a permanent or perennial plant, and the benefits of which are not restricted to its fragrance. The utility of tanglad basically lies in its leaves, where all the benefits are derived. What can be seen of this plant are mainly its leaves, which allows easy access to the main part that is needed in order to enjoy tanglad's health benefits. It constitutes most of what appears of this plant above ground, as the leaves grow up to one meter in length, and are flat in shape.

Health Benefits of Lemon Grass | Tanglad Studies show that tanglad helps ease stomach discomforts and aids in lessening, if not totally curing, the pain caused by toothache and sprain. Lemon grass also displays antibacterial activities and anti-fungal properties, thus, eradicates ring worms. Like malunggay, lemon grass can also be applied to sprains for easy healing. In order to enjoy these benefits of tanglad, one needs to prepare a liniment. This can be done by chopping four ounces of the leaves and roots of tanglad and boiling them, along with fresh coconut oil. If it is infusion that an individual wishes to achieve, use one pint of water to boil the tanglad leaves with. The lemon grass plant may also serve as an insect repellant, particularly of mosquitoes. One can achieve an effect to this end either by applying liniment, or by placing crushed tanglad leaves in strategic places at home including the window sills. It is also an option to plant tanglad around the house so that placement of crushed leaves would no longer be needed. Another health benefit which can be derived from tanglad, is the calming effect derived from its scent. Thus, lemon grass can aid an individual if such person is suffering from insomnia or stress. The plant also has therapeutic value, which allows it to be used by women who are suffering from menstrual problems or dysmenorrhoea, and from usual bouts of nausea. Tanglad also has cleansing properties, which makes it a good option to detoxify the various internal organs, like the liver. Lemon grass reduces the level of uric acid and of other toxins, as it detoxifies the body. This can result to better blood circulation and better digestion, as excess fats and cholesterol are cut down from the body. When taken in, tanglad affects the tissues in such a manner that there would be a significant reduction and avoidance of acne and pimples. Also, it tones the muscles and the tissues, and thus makes the skin firmer. Like saluyot, exposure of an individual to the benefits of tanglad is greatly increased because of the nature with which it can be used. As saluyot can be taken in as part of one¶s usual viand and dish, tanglad¶s properties on the other hand, allows it to be used as food flavorings. Lemon grass is incorporated in a multitude of Asian cuisines and dishes, and in the Philippines it is even made part of commercial beverages. So aside from the oil that can be extracted from lemon grass leaves, the fluid that is obtained from the boiled leaves of this plant proves to have medicinal purposes as well. Such lemon grass leaves can also be used in its raw form by mixing directly with the food before it is served. Such dishes include, and are especially good, when the primary ingredient is fish or poultry. Besides the health benefits, tanglad balances the chili flavorings in dishes, which makes eating a more enjoyable experience.

Lemongrass ± Uses and Benefits
August 21, 2007 by deancoleman

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) A tropical grass native to southern India and Sri Lanka, yielding an aromatic oil used as flavoring and in perfumery and medicine. Description Resembling a gigantic weed, lemongrass is an aromatic tropical plant with long, slender blades that can grow to a height of 5 ft (1.5 m). Believed to have a wide range of therapeutic effects, the herb has been used for centuries in South America and India and has also become popular in the United States. Aside from folk medicine, lemongrass is a favorite ingredient in Thai cuisine and dishes that boast a tangy, Asian flavor. While there are several species of lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus is the variety most often recommended for medicinal purposes. Native to Southeast Asia, lemongrass can also be found growing in India, South America, Africa, Australia, and the United States. Only the fresh or dried leaves of lemongrass, and the essential oil derived from them, are used as a drug. Cymbopogon citratus, which belongs to the Poaceae family of plants, is also referred to as West Indian lemongrass. Not to be confused with lemon balm, which is an entirely different herb, lemongrass is considered by herbalists to have several useful properties, including antibacterial, antifungal, and fever-reducing effects. Some of these claims have been supported by animal and laboratory studies. In one test-tube investigation, published in the medical journal Microbios in 1996, researchers demonstrated that lemongrass was effective against 22 strains of bacteria and 12 types of fungi. Scientific research has also bolstered the herb¶s reputation as an analgesic and sedative. A study conducted in rodents suggests that myrcene, a chemical found in the essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus, may act as a site-specific pain reliever. Unlike aspirin and similar analgesics, which tend to alleviate pain throughout the body, myrcene seems to work only on particular areas. A study involving people indicates that lemongrass may also affect the way the body processes cholesterol. More recently, lemongrass has been shown to have antimutagenic properties; that is, researchers have found that it is able to reverse chemically induced mutations in certain strains of bacteria.

While they may not be aware of it, most Americans have already tried lemongrass in one form or another. Citral, a key chemical found in Cymbopogon citratus, is an ingredient in a variety of foods and beverages (including alcohol). It can be found in candies, puddings, baked goods, meat products, and even in certain fats and oils. Citral is a pale yellow liquid that evaporates rapidly at room temperature. Like other essential oils, lemongrass is also used as a fragrance enhancer in many perfumes, soaps, and detergents. General Use While not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), lemongrass reportedly has a wide variety of therapeutic effects. Because the herb has not been studied extensively in people, its effectiveness is based mainly on the results of animal and laboratory studies as well as its centuriesold reputation as a folk remedy. Lemongrass is one of the most popular plant medicines in Brazil, where it is used to treat nervous disorders and stomach problems. In the Amazon, lemongrass is highly regarded as a sedative tea. When taken internally, lemongrass has been recommended for stomachaches, diarrhea, gas, bowel spasms, vomiting, fever, the flu, and headaches and other types of pain. The herb (or its essential oil) may be applied externally to help treat acne, athlete¶s foot, lower back pain, sciatica, sprains, tendinitis, neuralgia, and rheumatism. To treat circulatory disorders, some authorities recommend rubbing a few drops of lemongrass oil on the skin of affected areas; it is believed to work by improving blood flow. Like many essential oils, lemongrass is also used in aromatherapy. The link between lemongrass and cholesterol was investigated by researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, who published their findings in the medical journal Lipids in 1989. They conducted a clinical trial involving 22 people with high cholesterol who took 140-mg capsules of lemongrass oil daily. While cholesterol levels were only slightly affected in some of the participants²cholesterol was lowered from 310 to 294 on average²other people in the study experienced a significant decrease in blood fats. The latter group, characterized as responders, experienced a 25-point drop in cholesterol after one month, and this positive trend continued over the course of the short study. After three months, cholesterol levels among the responders had decreased by a significant 38 points. Once the responders stopped taking lemongrass, their cholesterol returned to previous levels. It should be noted that this study did not involve a placebo group, which is usually used to help measure the effects of the agent being studied (in this case, lemongrass oil). Considered an antiseptic and astringent, essential oil of lemongrass is also used by some people to cleanse oily skin and help close pores. Some herbalists recommend mixing a few drops of lemongrass

with a normal portion of mild shampoo to combat greasy hair. Lemongrass essential oil can also be used as a deodorant to curb perspiration. Last but not least, the herb has a strong reputation as an insect repellent. It is an important ingredient in several products designed to keep bugs at bay. Some authorities recommend rubbing the crushed herb directly on exposed areas of skin to avoid insect bites when enjoying the great outdoors. The relative safety and stability of lemongrass oil has recommended it to pharmaceutical researchers who are testing new methods of quantitative analysis. Lemongrass oil has been used to demonstrate the superiority of near-infrared spectroscopy to older methods of determining the chemical content of plant oils. Preparations The optimum daily dosage of lemongrass, which is available as fresh or dried herb or as lemongrass oil, has not been established with any certainty. Because lemongrass has been recommended for so many different purposes, and can be used internally and externally, consumers are advised to consult a doctor experienced in the use of alternative remedies to determine proper dosage. There is a significant difference between the external use of a few drops of essential oil, and the use of larger amounts of the herb in a tincture or tea. Lemongrass tea can be prepared by steeping 1±2 tsp of the herb (fresh or dried) in a cup of boiling water. The mixture should be strained after 10±15 minutes. The tea is generally taken several times a day. In Heinerman¶s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs & Spices, John Heinerman recommends using one cup of lemongrass tea every four hours to reduce fever. In the Green Pharmacy, prominent herbalist James Duke recommends drinking one to four cups of lemongrass tea a day to benefit from its antifungal properties. The used tea bags can also be applied externally as fungi-fighting compresses, according to the author. To alleviate gas or persistent vomiting, Heinerman recommends a dose of 3±6 drops of lemongrass oil (the Cymbopogon citratus variety). It may be placed on a sugar cube or mixed with 1 tsp of real vanilla flavor before swallowing. For sciatica, lower back pain, sprains, tendinitis, and rheumatism, the author suggests rubbing 10 drops of the essential oil onto the skin of the affected areas. Precautions Lemongrass is not known to be harmful when taken in recommended dosages, though it is important to remember that the long-term effects of taking the herb (in any amount) have not been

investigated. The essential oil should not be used internally by children, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or people with liver or kidney disease. In rare cases, lemongrass essential oil has caused allergic reactions when applied to the skin. To minimize skin irritation, dilute the oil in a carrier oil such as safflower or sunflower seed oil before application. As with all essential oils, small amounts should be used, and only for a limited time. Avoid getting lemongrass (herb or oil) in the eyes. Citral has been reported to irritate the respiratory tract in sensitive people as well as the eyes and skin. Side Effects When taken internally in recommended dosages, lemongrass is not associated with any bothersome or significant side effects. Cases have been reported, however, in which people have developed skin rashes after drinking lemongrass tea. Interactions As of 2003, lemongrass is not known to interact adversely with any drug or dietary supplement.

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FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2010

Lemongrass Tea (Tanglad)
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plant in the garden

iced cold lemongrass tea

clay pot used in boiling water

Here is a step by step in how to make a lemongrass tea:

fill the clay pot with water bring to boil turn the heat off tie the lemongrass into a knot dip in the knotted lemongrass leaves leave for approximately 10 minutes depending on how dark or light you want your tea remove the lemongrass leaves and let the tea cool before transferring it to a jar put inside the refrigerator serve add ice, lemon and a bit of sugar to taste.

I drink my lemongrass tea without sugar/honey though.

Lemongrass and Lemon Peel Tea
June 18, 2009 by bird

My friend Rui from Brazil introduced me to lemongrass tea a few years ago. We were in the kitchen prepping lemongrass to make Tom Yum and Tom Ka soup. Lemongrass is so cheap in Thailand that cooks typically discard the top bits and use only the bottom, more fragrant, part of the stalk. My friend nearly passed out when he saw me throwing away the top part. He told me that those mild top stems are great for steeping tea. Nowadays when I buy lemongrass, I clean the stalks and separate the top stems for making tea, and the bottom part for cooking. And I freeze them for later use. My favorite way of making lemongrass tea is to add a bit of fresh lemon peel. A good rule of thumb is to use 3-4 inches of lemongrass per each cup of water. I usually start out with 4 cups of water, with the corresponding amount of lemongrass. Bring the lemongrass and water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add some lemon peel (I use about 1/2 a lemon or so). Allow it to steep on low heat until the flavors marry and concentrate to how you like it. I prefer lemongrass tea on the gentler side (as opposed to ginger tea where I like it super strong). When the tea is steeped to your liking, just add a little Turbinado sugar to sweeten at the end.

Lemongrass

http://www.parkseed.com/web_images/ParkSeed/products/0632.jpg (Madagascar lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus)

Lemongrass is remarkably versatile.
Lemongrass, or Lemon Grass, can be used fresh, dried or powdered. It is used to complement pork, beef, fish, poultry and seafood dishes.

Lemongrass offers lots of iron (30% of recommended daily requirements), no fat, no cholesterol, hardly any sodium, low carbohydrate making it a sensible additive to a variety of tasty dishes.

Lemon grass is a lovely addition to many foods and makes delicious tea. Culinary Uses

Select lemongrass by looking for a firm stalk with leaves that appear fresh. If leaves are dried out, there won¶t be much flavor. This is a very pungent herb and is normally used in small amounts after having been thoroughly bruised. The entire stalk of the grass can be used. The grass blade can be finely sliced and added to soups, and later removed. The stalk is very tough and should only be added to tea bags, bouquet garni, or potpourri. You can use a food processor or coffee grinder to reduce the size of stalks and save your fingers from cuts. The bulb can be bruised and minced for use in a variety of recipes. Use the tender white inner hearts.

Lemon grass makes a lovely garnish for decorative purposes but you do not want to eat it. Use it like Bay leaf- remove it from the food before serving. The herb is frequently used in curries as well as in seafood soups and is also used to make tea.

Most people know lemongrass for the flavor it adds to Thai food. It is the refreshing citrus nip that balances the hot chili and creamy coconut milk in the ubiquitous Tom Kha Gai soup. Lemongrass originated in India, and then traveled onto Southeast Asia, becoming a staple ingredient in the cuisines of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. More recently Lemongrass crossed the oceans to the Caribbean, where its lemony taste balances zesty island flavors. The light lemon flavor of this grass blends well with garlic, chilies, and cilantro.

Health Benefits of Lemongrass: - Aids digestion - Eases anxiety, stress and cramps - Acts as a natural antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic - Reduces fever and flatulence - Repels mosquitoes - Can be used as a facial astringent

Cooking Equivalents

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One small trimmed stalk = 1 Tablespoon dried Powdered lemon grass is found under the name ³Sereh powder´ and a teaspoon is = 1 small stalk. Zest of 1 lemon = 2 small lemon grass stalks

How to Shop for Lemongrass Lemon grass is readily available in Asian and Mexican ethnic food markets. Select fresh looking stalks that don¶t look dry or brittle. Store fresh lemon grass in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic bag for up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze it for about 6 months without any flavor loss.

In addition to fresh, lemon grass may be purchased dried or powdered. The dried product has to be soaked in hot water and reconstituted before use. The powdered variety is useful in teas and curries but it¶s not a good substitute for the fresh product. For best results in recipes use the fresh herb.

Lemongrass Recipe
Lemon Grass Beef w/chili Bo Xao Xa Ot (Compliments of Doug) Ingredients: 2-3 pounds beef (or chicken) 4 cloves garlic 1 large yellow or white onion 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons minced lemon grass 1 teaspoon ground chilies (to taste) 4 tablespoon fish sauce (Nuoc Mam) 2-3 spring (green) onion stalks 2-3 tablespoons coarsely ground peanuts 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoons honey Preparation:

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Cut beef into small pieces (either ³nuggets´ or small strips). Peel garlic and slice finely. Cut onion into 1/2 inch strips. Peel off the hard outer layers of lemon grass stalk and discard. Peel off the medium layers of lemon grass stalk for stewing purposes. Mince the soft inner layers of the stalk. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add salt, garlic and onion. Fry over medium heat until onion becomes opaque. Add lemon grass and chili. Fry 1 ± 2 minutes until fragrant. Add beef and cook until lightly browned. Mix in fish sauce, sugar and honey. Cook until beef is the way you like it. Stir occasionally and add water if necessary. Remove the layers of lemon grass stalk before serving.

Serving Instructions Serve over white rice. Garnish with peanuts and thin slices of spring onion stalk.

Tips and Tricks:

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Make with a Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce Tuong Ot Toi Viet Nam. Substitute Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce it in the recipe instead of the garlic and pepper. Use the bruised stalk. How to bruise the stalk: Take a stalk of Lemongrass and remove the tip of the root end with a sharp knife, cut a piece two inches up from the cut end giving yourself a two inch long section, peel off the dried outer layer from the section and crush that lightly with a mortar and pestle to release the oils.

Reference: http://www.ageless.co.za/herb-lemon-grass.htm

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/lemongrass.php

All About Lemon Grass aka Lemongrass: Varied Uses

4 Votes Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), a native of India, is widely used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Increasingly popular in the United States, most of the commercial crops for the United States are grown in California and Florida. Lemon grass is also used for medicinal purposes. Our discussion Lemongrass covers culinary uses, medicinal uses, gardening tips, and various commercial uses of this splendid herb. This aromatic herb is used in Caribbean and many types of Asian cooking and has become very popular in the United States though it still remains mostly identified withThai food.

Culinary Uses
This is a very pungent herb and is normally used in small amounts. The entire stalk of the grass can be used. The grass blade can be sliced very fine and added to soups. use in a variety of recipes. The bulb can be bruised and minced for

Most people know lemongrass for the flavor it adds. The light lemon flavor of this grass blends well with garlic, chilies, and cilantro. used to make tea. Lemongrass offers lots of iron (30% recommended daily requirements), no fat, no cholesterol, hardly any sodium, low carbohydrate, making it a sensible seasoning additive for many tasty dishes. The herb is frequently used in curries as well as in seafood soups. It is also

Substitutions You can substitute fresh lemon zest, Sereh powder, as well as lemon balm or lemon verbena.

Equivalents One small trimmed stalk = 1 Tablespoon dried Powdered lemon grass is found under the name ³Sereh powder´ and a teaspoon is = 1 small stalk. Zest of 1 lemon = 2 small lemon grass stalks Lemon grass is available in many ethnic markets and most reliably found in Asian and Mexican local markets in the US. Select fresh looking stalks that don¶t look dry or brittle. Store fresh lemon grass in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed plastic bag for up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze it for about 6 months without any flavor loss.

In addition to fresh, lemon grass may be purchased dried or powdered. The dried product has to be soaked in hot water and reconstituted before use. The powdered variety is useful in teas and curries but it¶s not a good substitute for the fresh product. For best results in recipes use the fresh herb. With food, lemongrass is remarkably adaptable. It can be used fresh, dried or powdered; it complements pork, beef, fish, poultry and seafood.

Medicinal Uses

This grass is rich in a substance called citral, the active ingredient in lemon peel.

This substance is said to

aid in digestion as well as relieve spasms, muscle cramps, rheumatism and headaches. Lemongrass is equally versatile as a remedy for everyday ailments, and its soft, citrus flavor and aroma allow it to be part of a pleasant medicinal or therapeutic experience.

Health Benefits: - Aids digestion - Eases anxiety, stress and cramps - Acts as a natural antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic - Reduces fever and flatulence

- Repels mosquitoes - Can be used as a facial astringent

Other Uses for Lemongrass

Lemon grass is used commercially as the lemon scent in many products including soaps, perfumes and candles. A related plant, (Cymbopogon nardus) is the ingredient in citronella candles sold to ward off mosquitoes and other insects. It is used to scent soaps and candles, cleanser, and to infuse vodka with its lemony aromatic essence. Once considered a sacred herb, Mayan Warriors believed that if they applied it as a balm to their bodies²accompanied by a special prayer, of course²it would prevent a sword from penetrating their skin. We appreciate lemongrass for the other dangers it wards off ± like anxiety, headaches, fever and a bad night¶s sleep, to name just a few. In most instances, you¶ll want to use the bruised stalk. To do this, take a stalk, cut off the tip (at the root end), cut a piece from the bottom approximately two inches long, peel off the dried outer layer and then crush it lightly with a mortar and pestle to release the oils.

Lemongrass Tea: Take two or three of these bruised stalks, chopped into half inch pieces and steeped in a pot of nearly boiling water, make a tea to aid digestion, ease menstrual cramps, reduce stress and promote a calm night¶s sleep. Take those same stalks and rub their oil over your skin and you have a natural mosquito repellent² lemongrass is a common ingredient in candles and incense used to repel bugs. They can also be used topically for anti-fungal and antisepticpurposes. Yet another way to use the stalks is to tie them into a sachet and drop them into a bathtub for a soothing aromatherapy experience. Given the stress of modern life²and the risks such as heart attacks that come with it²we consider these aids to relaxation as beneficial as the Malay warriors surely found their use of lemongrass centuries ago.

Gardening With Lemon Grass
Gardeners appreciate Lemon Grass for its perennial nature,which means once you plant it, the grass comes back year after year. Depending on the area you live in the plant will go dormant in the winter. In harsh climates the plant will need to be potted and wintered indoors.

Although lemongrass thrives with full sun in a tropical climate, it is now produced in countries as far-flung as China and England. Though Lemongrass is a perennial, in places that get frost, it will act like an annual and go dormant in the winter. Beware:while lemongrass is fun to harvest at home because it¶s easy, it divides underground, spreads through its roots and grows like a weed, which is why we recommend cultivating it in a large pot. Here¶s a method for starting your potted lemongrass from cuttings rather than the long wait required for seeds to mature:

1. Purchase three to five mature stalks. They should be fresh, full at the bulb and moist. Try to select those with root buds still visible.

2. Cut a few inches off the top of each stalk. Peel the dry outer layers all the way to the bulb.

3. Put the stalks in a jar of room temperature water. Keep the jar in a window in the sun. Make sure to keep the water level up, so the stalks don¶t dry out.

4. In approximately one to two weeks, you will see roots. When the roots are around an inch long, transfer the stalks to a pot, using a sandy soil. Cover stalks about an inch above the roots.

5. Keep the pot in a sunny place and keep the soil moist. Before long, your few stalks will become a large cluster that can be cut whenever you need. Keep the pot away from cats, since they love it and will demolish it.

References:
Gardening tips by Kymm Fayhhttp://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbLemonGrass.htm http://www.thefoodpaper.com/newsletters.html

Shepherd¶s Seeds ±

Sells small potted lemon grass plant ± Sells lemon grass seeds, ships worldwide ± sells live plants

Seedman ± Sells lemon grass seeds Morgan Thompson Seed Mountain Valley Growers Suite 101 ± Nuoc Mam

Lemon grass medicinal use

± Read about this Vietnamese ingredient

Pandan (Pandanus tectorius) Fragrant Screw Pine

The pandan tree grows as tall as 5 meters, with erect, small branches. Pandan is also known as Fragrant Screw Pine. Its trunk bears plenty of prop roots. Its leaves spirals the branches, and crowds at the end. Its male inflorescence emits a fragrant smell, and grows in length for up to 0.5 meters. The fruit of the pandan tree, which is usually about 20 centimeters long, are angular in shape, narrow in the end and the apex is truncate. It grows in the thickets lining the seashores of most places in the Philippines. In various parts of the world, the uses of this plant are very diverse. Some countries concentrate on the culinary uses of pandan, while others deeply rely on its medicinal values. For instance, many Asians regard this food as famine food. Others however mainly associate pandan with the flavoring and nice smell that it secretes. In the Philippines, pandan leaves are being cooked along with rice to incorporate the flavor and smell to it. As can be observed, the uses of the pandan tree are not limited to cooking uses. Its leaves and roots are found to have medicinal benefits. Such parts of the plant have been found to have essential oils, tannin, alkaloids and glycosides, which are the reasons for the effective treatment of various health concerns. It functions as a pain reliever, mostly for headaches and pain caused by arthritis, and even hangover. It can also be used as antiseptic and anti-bacterial, which makes it ideal for healing wounds. In the same manner, a preparation derived from the bark of this plant may be used to address skin problems. Many people have also discovered that it is an effective remedy for cough. In India, pandan leaves are being used to treat skin disorders like leprosy and smallpox. The bitter tasting quality of the leaves makes it ideal for health problems which include, but are not limited to, diabetes fever, ulcer and wounds. In Hawaii, pandan flowers are being chewed by mothers who later give the chewed flowers to their children, as laxative. The juice extracted from pounded roots of this tree is used and mixed with other ingredients to ease chest pains. Also, it is used as tonic for women who have just given birth and who are still in weak states. Pandan flowers have also been traced with characteristics that function as aphrodisiac. Pandan also manifests anti-cancer activities, and that is why modern researches in the United States have subjected this plant for further experiments and investigation. Pandan Health Benefits: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Treats leprosy, smallpox and wounds. Helps reduce fever Solves several skin problems Relives headache and arthritis Treatment for ear pains Functions as a laxative for children

‡ Eases chest pains ‡ Helps in speeding up the recuperation of women who have just given birth and are still weak ‡ Pandan reduces stomach spasms and strengthens the gum.

Preparation & Use of Pandan:
‡ Decoction of the bark may be taken as tea, or mixed with water that is to be used in bathing, in order to remedy skin problems, cough, and urine-related concerns. ‡ Apply pulverized roots of pandan to affected wound areas to facilitate healing. ‡ The anthers of the male flowers are used for earaches, headaches and stomach spasms. ‡ Chew the roots to strengthen the gum. ‡ Extract oils and juices from the roots and flowers are used in preparing the decoction to relieve pains brought about by headache and arthritis. Silymarin is derived from Milk Thistle (seed extract from the flower of silymarin plant). The Milk thistle herb is a flowering plant of Silybum Adans genus, a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae). It grows mainly in North Africa, the Mediterranean region and the Middle East (now also grown in the U.S.) but is marketed and is widely available in the Philippines as a herbal liver supplement (silymarin capsules, trademark: Liveraide). Silymarin and milk thistle are frequently used interchangeably. Laboratory experiments on animals (rats, baboons, dogs) shows that silymarin works by modifying hepatic cell membranes in a way that prevents liver toxins from entering the interior of the cells. The toxins that may damage the liver are expelled through the kidneys instead. Silymarin is a polyphenolic flavanoid consisting of three chemicals: silybin, silicristin and silidianin which are antioxidants that neutralizes and breaks down free radicals. When there is an existing liver damage, research shows that silymarin may help repair the damage and help regenerate new liver cells but is unlikely to help in the late stages of liver cirrhosis. Many studies have been published on the health benefits of milk thistle and silymarin on humans but many are inconclusive or poorly done. Further studies are needed to fully appreciate the health benefits of silymarin on humans. However, anecdotal data suggests that it helps alleviate liver diseases and other aliments. Since most commercial silymarin and milk thistle products are marketed as herbal supplements, they are not subjected to the same stringent standards imposed on prescription drugs. Their safety, purity and quality vary from brand to brand. In very rare instances, silymarin can cause headaches, upset stomach and joint pains. Silymarin is not recommended during pregnancy. Dozes over 1.5 grams a day may cause diarrhoea. It is

recommended that you consult with your doctor or a health care provider before taking silymarin herbal supplements, liver supplements or any herbal medicine. Anecdotal Health Benefits of Silymarin | Milk Thistle: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Help improve liver function for those with cirrhosis of the liver and chronic hepatitis. Prevents inflammation of the liver Cure for Amanita phalloides mushroom poisoning Helps control blood sugar in patients with diabetes and cirrhosis. Helps lower cholesterol levels. Reduces growth of breast, prostate, cervical and skin cancer cells. Helps reduce fatty infiltration on the liver caused by toxins and alcohol. A strong antioxidant that helps fight free radicals (see Key to Healing). Not used to prevent hepatitis C, but used to minimize the damage caused by it. Non-toxic / no known overdose symptoms.

About Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) VCO is now getting global reputation as the healthiest and versatile oil in the world. The Philippines is one of the best sources of virgin coconut oil and it's popularity in the country is legendary. Although not an herb, we decided to make an article about VCO because of the growing interest on the oil and after receiving several inquiries from our visitors. Virgin coconut oil and regular coconut oil is rich in Lauric Acid, an essential fatty acid that is only found in high concentrations in mother's milk. When taken internally, Lauric Acid turns into a compound known as Monolaurin. It is this compound that is believed to fight viral pathogens that protects the body from bacteria, viruses and infections from parasites. Coconut oil also causes the metabolic rate to increase, hence helps reduce weight and is safe and beneficial for diabetics. For many years, coconut oil has been discredited (specially in the west) because of it's high saturated fat content. But recent studies have shown that not all saturated fats are the same. The medium chain triglycerides of which virgin coconut oil is classified, does not elevate LDL (the bad cholesterol) in our body compared to other polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as canola and sunflower oil which is widely produced in the west. How Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is Made First, the husk and the shell is removed from fresh coconuts, then the meat of the coconut is shredded -a process called "Wet Milled", then the meat is "Cold Pressed" to get the coconut milk without any chemicals. The milk is then fermented in containers for a day or two. After which, oil is produced. This oil is carefully filtered and separated from the curd. You now have what is called, virgin coconut oil. A more modern way of separating the oil from the curd is through centrifugal force. The second method of producing virgin coconut oil (VCO) is using quick dried coconut meat and then processed in the same way. But the preferred manner by most is still the "Wet Milled" process. Difference between Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) and Regular (RBD) Coconut Oil. RBD stands for Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized. Ordinary coconut oil usually comes from

copra - coconut meat that is dried by either smoke, kiln or placing under the sun. Because the process itself is not sanitized, the oil must be further refined. To get more oil from copra, chemicals are usually used. RBD process is required to make the oil clear, odor free and tasteless. This procedure also removes the anti-oxidant and other properties of the oil. Some coconut oils are also hydrogenated which increases the serum cholesterol levels and thus is bad for the heart. While virgin coconut oil, being pure, unadulterated and unhydrogenated retains it's pleasant coconut taste, smell and all the health benefits of coconut oil. Much research still has to be done on the benefits of virgin coconut oil but preliminary findings and anecdotal reports are very promising. This may well be the much needed medicine to restore to health the ailing Philippine coconut industry.

Benefits of VCO:
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ A boost to the body's immune system A good source of saturated medium chain triglycerides VCO helps regulate blood sugar Lowers the viral load of AIDS patients Have anti-viral & anti-microbial properties Helps hepatitis C, herpes patients Helps maintain healthy thyroid function Maintain LDL & HDL cholesterol levels Heals & nourishes the skin, hair & scalp

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