Monday, 16 August 2010

Discovering Herbs Malaysiana - Part 1

The Avillion in Port Dickson, where we were two weekends ago,  maintains a herb garden within a gated and locked enclosure. However some herbs are planted on a terrace that lines part of the jogging track . The plants are labeled with their local names and there's quite a variety too. I'm guessing that the chefs also use these herbs in their cooking at the resort kitchen.

Here are kunyit (turmeric) molan, gajah beranak, and cekur mas 

The leaves of the "kunyit molan" definitely do not look like the turmeric leaves I cook with.  The closest thing to "molan" Google came up with was one Dr. Peter Molan who had done extensive research on Manuka Honey. I wonder what those leaves actually are.

The roots of Gajah Beranak are supposedly good as a remedy for chills as it has "heaty" properties. For this reason perhaps they are also used as a tonic for ladies in confinement. But not for pregnant ladies however, as they might cause miscarriages (source -

As for the Cekur  Mas, apparently it is one of several varieties of cekur - others being cekur jantan, cekur betina, cekur hitam, cekur merah, cekur batik, depending on the characteristics of the leaves. Actually it's the rhizome that is used in cooking as in pecal or masak lemak. Said to be useful in the treatment of flu, inflamation, dandruff, constipation, reducing womb size after pregnancy, and for anti-ageing (source -

 These are kayu manis (cinnamon), tunjuk langit, kadok, and lemba.

Only Kayu Manis is familiar to me and I use it in my curries and spicy soups.
Here are 10 health benefits of cinnamon based on studies (source: 10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon)
  • Just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
  • It may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
  • It has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
  • It can reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
  • It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
  • Patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  • When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
  • Smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
  • It fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
  • It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

 The Lemba seems to have some medicinal value. According to the page on the MARDI website (, various parts of the lemba may be used to treat
  • a low appetite
  • menorrhogia
  • urinary problems
  • fever
  • inflammation
  • and as a drink for ladies in confinement

The fruit of the Tunjuk Langit  is also known as the Mahogany fruit and is purported to have
"special properties which cannot be found in any other herbal plants around the world. It contains the highest three main superior active ingredients which are Flavonoids, Saponins and Bitter Alkaloid. In addition, the seeds also contain natural nutrition which helps to increase energy and blood flow throughout human body system such as proteins, minerals, vitamin enzymes, carbohydrates and many others"

Here is a list of it's medicinal benefits.(source:

Functions of Flavonoids
  • Reduce blood sugar (glucose) level
  • Neutralizes blood sugar level
  • Promotes blood circulation
  • Free radical scavenger
  • Widens and strengthens blood vessels
  • Reduces bad cholesterol level
Functions of Saponins
  • Enhances the immune system
  • Helps to stimulate the production of insulin
  • Increased production of blood cells
  • Eliminate muscle cramps in the respiration system
  • Increased male sperm count
  • Revitalize blood circulation
  • Detoxification
  • Increased resistance to alcohol and poisoning
  • Calming effect on mind and body
  • Eliminates stress
  • Slows the aging process
  • Remedy to insomnia
  • Strengthens the liver

Daun Kadok is a popular herb for ulam (salad). It is believed that eating daun kadok can reduce malaria. It is also said to cure constapation,tooth ache, worms and also cough. How this is done is to boil the leaves and drink the water. (Source - Health Benefits of eating Ulam-ulaman)

Ladies may find the following recommendations for using daun kadok interesting: (Source - Daun Kaduk Mengurangkan Keputihan)

  • Pucuk kaduk selain dibuat ulam yang menyelerakan samada di makan mentah atau di celur, daun yg tua saya akan rebus, sejukan dan di buat air basuhan selepas membuang air kecil atau selepas habis haid. Khasiatnya ialah dapat menjadikan awet muda, mengurangkn keputihan, menghilangkan gatal dan kerengsaan pada bahagian sulit. Saya menanamnya di belakang rumah dan mengamalkan memakannya selalu.
  • Daun kaduk juga digunakan untuk menuam perut bayi mengalami masalah kembung perut. Caranya layurkan daun kaduk dengan api lilin kemudian tuam diperut bayi dengan menekan perlahan-lahan.Insyaallah perut bayi yang kembung itu akan beransur lembut dan anda akan dapati bayi itu kentut. 
  • Untuk ulam digalakan celur sekejap saja kerana kalau lama daun kaduk berlendir. Kalau saya, saya lebih suka buat kerabu. Caranya daun kaduk dihiris nipis sebanyak yang diperlukan kemudian campur dengan 2 camca makan garam ramas dengan sedikit air bertujuan untuk mengurangkan rasa pijar daun kaduk. Basuh dan tapis.Ramuan lain masukan 1 tin sardin kecil,bawang besar 1 labu, kelapa parut anggaran 50 sen, cili padi dipotong kecil atau cili tumbuk, garam, serbuk perasa atau gula.Kesemua bahan digaul rata. Disyorkan makan dengan ikan kering gelama masam dan nasi panas. Selamat mencuba.

We have here pala, senduduk putih, limau kasturi and sireh melayu.

But I've yet to google them..... Insya Allah I'll have some information to share with my next posting - including that of lidah jin, jarum tujuh bilah, misai kucing, belimbing buluh, tongkat Ali, and kacip Fatimah   :)

And yes, that kunyit molan still boggles me.


Tommy Yewfigure said...

Wow, sekarang sudah jadi herbalist lah, u manyak hebat woi :))Gua tabik sama lu!

U never seems to stop amazing me.

What's next??


Pak Zawi said...

In our home daun kadok is used when cooking masak lemak udang. Try it and you will find it of better taste.

Zendra-Maria said...

Tommy, yes I list down the herbs hehehe...

Next? I thought I'd get a song? Takda kah? I'm amazed.

Zendra-Maria said...

Pak Zawi, thanks very much for the tip - I'll try it. Time to get adventurous with my use of herbs - mau awet muda lah hahaha...

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Ok lah a HERBAL Albert hit song4U, hey check up the cast, Ursula Andress pun ada hehehe;

Casino Royale

Can't wait for Part 2 :)


Zendra-Maria said...

Haha Herb-al Alpert - i like that!

Part 2 - SIAP!

Zaharan Razak said...

You may have mentioned it and I missed it, but is the herbal patch serving up the nice photos yours or belong to some government agency or commercial outfit?

Zendra-Maria said...

If only it was mine En. Zaharan but I have no talent for gardening. These were taken at the Avillion Resort Hotel in Port Dickson about a fortnight ago. The plants were merely part of the landscaping - not for commercial purpose I believe.

Good of you to drop by En. Zaharan :)

Krista said...

Hi Zendra: I came across your blog as I was reading up misai kucing. I love herbs too and can't stop planting them in my garden. I was amazed at the daun kadok as a vaginal wash. Must try that. Anyway, I shall bookmark and be back. Good information!