Monday, 16 August 2010

Discovering Herbs Malaysiana - Part 2



Pala is nutmeg. Somehow Penang has become THE place to buy nutmegs, whether the preserve or the liniment oil. Some health effects (copied in whole from http://www.indepthinfo.com/nutmeg/health-effects.shtml ):

  • "One of the interesting health benefits of nutmeg oil is its ability to stimulate the brain - it relieves stress and stimulates mental activity. It is even reputed to stimulate dreams. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a brain tonic despite the fact that it was quite rare and costly.
  • Nutmeg is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat joint and muscle pain. The oil works particularly well for this when it is massaged into the affected area. It is an integral herb in Chinese medicine where it is used for stomach pain and inflammation as well as reducing joint swelling.
  • In wholistic medicine it is considered an excellent liver tonic which can help remove toxins. Nutmeg oil is also a good herb for the kidney, helping it dissolve kidney stones as well as relieve infections.
  • Many believe that heart problems may also be alleviated by nutmeg, as it can help increase blood circulation and stimulate the cardio-vascular system. It is also good for digestion, getting rid of both gas and stomach aches and relieving vomiting, diarrhoea, and flatulence as well as encourage appetite.
  • Nutmeg can also help with respiratory problems such as a cough from the common cold. It is often found as an ingredient in cough syrups. It is also said to be able to help with asthma. However, this remains unsubstantiated by research.
  • While there are many health benefits of nutmeg, be careful not to take it in high doses. It can be toxic and can cause serious problems. Never consume more than 30 grams (around 6 tablespoons) in a day, and even this amount would be considered excessive."



Senduduk Putih is said to have high medicinal value and have been used to treat long-term coughing as well as delayed speech development in children. Including the usual diarrhoea and leucorrhea. A reader at http://www.melur.com/myherba.asp?plant_id=171&cat=HERBA shared this tip:

 "Senduduk putih liar yang tumbuh dalam hutan lebih baik untuk perubatan tp susah nak cari..senduduk memang bagus untuk kesihatan. dulu arwah ayah saya tak dapat jalan selama 1 tahun sb sakit sendi dan urat..ada orang bagi petua buat jus daun senduduk putih,senduduk merah dan senduduk gajah..blender semua daun tu dan minum 3 kali sehari..sebelum minum tu selawat 3kali dan niatlah kita minum jus tu untuk menyembuhkan penyakit..alhamdulilah setelah 2-3 bulan amal minum jus daun senduduk ayah saya boleh jalan semula..daun senduduk juga boleh ubati luka2 kecil dengan cara mengumpal daunnya hingga keluar air dan sapu pada luka.insyallah sekiranya kita berusaha pasti Allah akan sembuhkan penyakit kite..tak salah rasanya sy kongsi petua berharga ini demi kebaikan bersama..jangan pandang remeh pada pokok senduduk kerana masih banyak lagi khasiat yang belum kita ketahui."



 Limau Kasturi is just one of the many varieties of limes we have in Malaysia.  The other ones I know are limau nipis and limau purut, but with sambal belacan, limau kasturi is the limau of choice.  This reader shares how and why she uses limau kasturi:
"Saya amalkan minum bersama teh hijau 2 kali sehari, selain dapat menghalang kanser, mengandungi anti oksidan yang banyak, menguruskan badan, menghilangkan bau badan, ubat sembelit dan yang pasti mencantikkan kulit" (Source - http://www.melur.com/myherba.asp?plant_id=212&cat=HERBA)

Some other types of lime are limau sundai, limau kambing or kerat lintang, limau pagar, limau mata kerbau, limau telur buaya, limau susu, limau pasir, limau hantu, limau kedangsa, limau celoreng, limau kuku harimau, limau mawar, limau kunci, limau lenang darat and limau manis.

There's an interesting article from NST written way back in 2005 about someone who was (am not sure whether still is) selling at the Chow Kit market a wide array of local fruits and herbs which are valued for their medicinal properties.  He had a farm growing all the above limes, some are used only by bomohs and silat gurus.



And as for Sirih Melayu, from the same site as above (http://www.melur.com/myherba.asp?plant_id=108&cat=HERBA ) I extracted this:

  • "Dalam perubatan melayu, sirih yang terbukti secara saintifik mengandungi minyak sari (kadinen, kavikol, sineol, eugenol, karvakol) ini digunakan untuk mengubat penyakit-penyakit seperti keputihan, nafas berbau ,badan berbau, batuk, radang selaput lendir mata, trauchoma, jantung berdebar-debar, kemurungan, demam selepas bersalin, air susu terlampau banyak dan sariawan. Disertakan disini beberapa langkah untuk menggunakan daun sirih sebagai penawar. 
  • Untuk penyakit keputihan beberapa helai daun sirih yang telah dibersihkan di rebus dalam air hingga mendidih dan airnya dibiarkan suam. Air ini digunakan untuk mencuci vagina terutamanya setiap kali selepas kencing.
  • Untuk Nafas bebau pula ada dua cara, satu cara dengan mengunyah daun sirih yang telah dibersihkan hingga lumat dan biarkan berada dalam mulut seketika sebelum diluahkan. Satu cara lagi ialah dengan merebus beberapa helai daun sirih hingga mendidih, setelah itu disejukkan dan ditapis, gunakan untuk berkumur dua kali sehari,pagi dan malam.
  • Untuk gusi bengkak pula 5-6 helai daun sirih direbus dengan 3 gelas air hingga mendidih, setelah itu masukkan sedikit garam.Biarkan hingga suam dan gunakan untuk berkumur dua hingga tiga kali sehari.
  • Untuk menghilangkan bau badan, 2 hingga 3 helai daun sirih direbus dengan 1/2 gelas air hingga mendidih, angkat daunnya dan masukkan gula batu sebelum diminum.Jika tidak mahu minum airnya kaedah lain ialah dengan mengambil sehelai daun sirih dan di calit sedikit kapur sirih. Ramas daunnya dan sapukan pada ketiak."




 I was fascinated by the names of these plants that I had to pose with them


Lidah Jin is known in the West as Mother-in-Law's Tongue where it is used mainly as a decorative indoor plant. It is thought to be toxic hence inedible but there's a reader of the melur.com site who told of someone who had been treated of kidney disease with the roots of this plant:

"Tumbuhan ini adalah saudara kepada lidah buaya dan yang sejenis. Saya ada seorang rakan yang memberitahu bahawa tumbuhan ini amat berkesan bagi merawat penyakit lemah buah pinggang. Beliau pernah merawat seorang guru yang berbulan-bulan menderita sakit buah pinggang dan seringkali keluar masuk wad untuk rawatan hingga kulit badan cikgu tersebut menjadi agak kehitaman akibat toksid dalam badan yang tdk dpt dikumuhkan oleh sistem perkumuhan beliau. KERANA merasa kasihan dgn penderitaan cikgu tersebut maka kawan ini telah membantu dgn memberi rawatan cara tradisional dgn sup lidah jin tersebut dan syukur beliau telah beransur sembuh dan sihat kembali menjalankan tugas seharian. Tumbuhan ini tidak beracun dan selamat untuk diminum sebagai penawar. Bhg yg digunakan ialah bhgn akar dan pangkal daun direbus dan diminum seperti teh, amal sehingga sembuh. Jika tuan/puan yakin boleh mencuba…"

 Also someone in India attested to it's use as a fresh-air generator indoors.





And so on to the Jarum Tujuh Bilah which according to a book on Malaysian Medicinal Herbs can be used against breast cancer and gout. Read on:
"It is named in Malay as the Jarum Tujuh Bilah plant because of its appearance that produces stems on which are grown with clusters of thorns and each cluster has seven to eigh thorns. Its scientific name is Pereskia bleo (Kunth) DC from the family of Cactaceae. It is known in English as the Leaf Cactus.
The leaf resembles to that of a coffee plant, around 10 cm long and 5 cm wide, and is soft, crunchy and slimy. The upper epidermis of the leaf is smooth and the veins are interlacing, while the veins of the lower epidermis has purplish veins. The leaf is chewable and tastes stale.
It bears flowers that are different in colour depending on areas of habitat – orange, purple; the fruits look like inverted cone. The older stems have white patches, while the younger ones are light green and shiny. To consume the leaves, they are plucked in separation to avoid being pierced by the prickly thorns.
Since ages ago the leaves are consumed to combat breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and gout. The water from the boiling stock of the leaves are also consumed to treat fatigue and headache."



OK, we'll move on to misai kucing, belimbing buluh, Tongkat Ali, and Kacip Fatimah in the final instalment, although I have a sneaky suspicion that everyone already knows all about the last two.

11 comments:

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Zen,
Am curious to know more about misai kucing. For obvious reasons...you know... roar! roar! roar!

Pak Zawi said...

I can vouch for the misai kucing's efficacy in the treatment of hypertendion. I am now taking teh misai kucing on a daily basis. Just pour hot water over some leaves (fresh or dried) and you just drink it. It is simple to prepare and cheap. Those in sachet are expensive but if you can afford it why not?

Zendra-Maria said...

There you go Cat, Pak Zawi has spoken. They are just leaves and not actually pulled from a live kucing - so you can rest easy now :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Thanks again Pak Zawi - do you have a herb garden?

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hey Zen, is daun sirih, betel leaf in English? Are these the one chewed by old makciks & Indian women that I used to see in my younger days & they’ll spit out the leaf as a gluey red phlegm residue.

I can’t wait for the last instalment of your series & promise me that u don’t hold back on the in- depth details on that last two ‘herbs’ u mentioned, I only know just a little bit here-say mah.

Cheers,
Tommy

pakmat said...

..and I will wait for the 2nd instalment...

Red Alfa said...

Many many years ago before viagra and people still swore to the efficacy of rhinocerous horn powder, my late silat master during our night jungle exercises in showing me tongkat ali plants had spoken of their wonder effects to old men with yen for young wives. But I was quite the teenager with nothing else in mind to get anything super hard except my fighting arms and legs then!

If only I had a little botanical sense bending to a bit on business....

Now if only there's something for women that works for men....

Tommy Yewfigure said...

RA, ya i heard too about the rhino horn. I used to see the sinseh scrap the horn in the kedai ubat cina. Mum used to add it to other "herbs" & boil up a herbal remedies to cure my asthma. Bloody horrible bitter drink but i grew up to be as strong & hard as a bull rhino...hahaha. No lah I think they swear by dried tiger penis. Very cruel trade & explained why the Tiger is now declared an endangered species.

Yeah right,& i truly believe u r "quite the teenager with nothing else in mind to get anything super hard except my fighting arms and legs then!"...ROTFLMAO, hard head perhaps - kepala batu!

Don't worry, your knowledgeable better half will show u what really works4U :)

Good luck,
Tommy

Red Alfa said...

Really Tommy, I was training for my arms and legs to be hard as ironwood so as to break roof tiles and whatever else that the silat master and his other students had swinging at me.

And should that thing became hard and that always happened before breakfast my silat master had given strict instructions it was to be used for no other purpose except for digging out the tapioca roots.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Ahhh I remember the good old days with our morning glory but now at our age the only thing that gets hard is our arteries, LOL, on second thought we shouldn’t be laughing at this :((

Cheers

Tommy

P/S – I loves tapioca roots especially when they r made into steam tapioca cakes that mum & dad mastered making while living in the bush during the time of the Japanese occupation…kakaka.

Zendra-Maria said...

Uncles, carry on, don't mind me... am just glad to know that at least your memories are still alive... LOL!!!!