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Scientific name: Basella rubra Linn

Scientific name: Basella rubra Linn
English: Malabar Night Shade
Tagalog: Alugbati

AlugbatiA 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.

Demulcent, diuretic, emollient, laxative, rubefacient.

Found in settled and cultivated areas, in hedges.

Common market product, a popular leafy and stew vegetable, a good substitute for spinach. The green and purple cultivated varieties are preferable to the wild ones.
Both the young shoots and stems are eaten. Excellent source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamins A, B, and C, with a high roughage value. Roots are employed as rubefacient. Poultice of leaves used to reduce local swelling. Sap is applied to acne eruptions to reduce inflammation. Decoction of leaves used for its mild laxative effects.
Pulped leaves applied to boils and ulcers to hasten suppuration.Sugared juice of leaves useful for catarrhal afflictions. Leaf-juice, mixed with butter, is soothing and colling when applied to burns and scalds.


Uses and Health Benefits of Alugbati / Malabar Spinach

Posted on February 25, 2011 by marvin

My friend asked me if I know something about alugbati plant. I replied, “Nope”. I heard about alugbati several times before but I was completely clueless about it. So I listed it on my priority list – a search for alugbati.

Picture results after googling were familiar. I have seen this plant before, in fact I have a picture of it. I took a shot when I saw this plant in school garden without knowing that it was the alugbati.

The vegetable is also known as Malabar Spinach, Ceylon Spinach or the red vine. The stem is purplish (shade of red) and succulent with heart shape leaves. It bears green to dark red fruits (correct me if I am wrong).

The young leaves are popular vegetable stuff. It can be boiled (boil until cooked and discard water), used as salad ingredient and other dishes like ginisa.

The plant is also popular for its medicinal properties. Growing it in your garden is a nice idea.

1)  A good source of essential nutrients. Excellent source of calcium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and iron.

2) Contain saponins that act as phytochemicals. Fights cancer and other diseases.

3) Roots are employed as rubefacient – a medicine for external application that produces redness of the skin.

4) Roots are also used as poultice to reduce local swellings.

5) The sap can be applied to acne areas to eliminate irritation.

6) The sap has a softening or soothing effect especially to the skin.

7) A diuretic.

8) A mild laxative.

9) Pulped leaves are applied to boils, ulcers and abscesses.

10) Leaf juice with sugar is effective for inflammation of the nose and throat with increased production of mucus. Also used to treat gonorrhea and balanitis

11) Leaf juice with butter has a soothing effect on burns and scalds.

12) Stem and leaf extract can cure habitual headache.

13) Fruits maybe used as cheeks and lips make-up and dye.

14) Good source of fibers.


A Stem and Several Leaves of Alugbati

Posted on July 2, 2012 by marvin

It was my fourth visit to this scrap wood store. My company were busy selecting good scraps while I was sitting near the rear exit. It was the only time I noticed the reddish vine with big shiny leaves.

I am familiar with the vine but I cannot remember its name clearly. I asked the warehouse keeper about it. She is also familiar with the vine but cannot remember the name for a while. She finally recalled it was alugbati after a quarter of an hour. Her memory is obviously sharper than mine.

I came out of the rear door and saw about three meters wide network of alugbati plant on trellis. It seemed inviting me to get one and bring home.

Why is alugbati there? She planted a single alugbati stalk and it grow well in just short time frame. It grows fast that regular trimming is necessary.

How to cook it? Get young stems and leaves and mix it with favorite vegetable dish. She was preparing cut stems and whole leaves while I was talking to her. It was intended for ginisang sardinas.

I asked for a stem and she gave me one gladly. I planned to plant it as soon as I got home.

raw. It has a very faint spicy odor, mildly bitter taste clinging to mouth for about 15 minutes and an oily smooth texture similar to gumamela leaves and okra mucilage. The succulent stem has the same properties with a fibrous outer portion. I think it should be cooked before consuming.


Eating The Fresh Alugbati Shoots

Posted on December 24, 2012 by marvin

The alugbati stalks I planted months ago has been growing well. It almost cover the 1/4 part of the bamboo fence. The fence is becoming reddish from afar. Still a chicken’s favorite but they are too lazy to fly over and feed to higher portions. Flowers begin to show. Many shoots are elongating outwards and seem talking to me. They seem begging, wanting me to pick and eat them raw.

Every alugbati stalk as long as open palm is succulent. Slightly pungent when chewed but can be tolerated with practice or dipping in plain mayonnaise before taking in.

What are you waiting for? Open that palm of yours. Measure and cut alugbati stalks. Wash it under running water. Rinse well. Take your favorite dip and start the enjoyment.

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