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NUTRITION NEWS: Legarda Urges Gov’t To Maximize Benefits of Malunggay

Senator Loren Legarda today highlighted the varied uses of malunggay and urged the government to maximize the benefits of the tropical crop.

Legarda said that she has re-filed the proposed Malunggay Development Act, under Senate Bill No. 104, to spur the production, processing, marketing and distribution of malunggay in suitable areas of the country in order to acquire its benefits.

Malunggay is one of the most useful tropical trees. Its young leaves are commonly cooked and eaten like spinach or used to make soups and salads; its dry seed can be ground to a powder and used for seasoning sauces; its flowers can be eaten after being lightly blanched or raw as a tasty addition to salad; and the oil content of its kernel is used as lubricant for fine machinery and also as vegetable cooking oil.

“There are a lot of studies that have been conducted on the uses of malunggay. It can even be used to treat wastewater,” Legarda said.

At Biomasa, a Technical University based in Nicaragua, studies have been conducted using the seeds from malunggay for the final treatment in wastewater treatment units.

Malunggay is also a good source of provitamin A, vitamins B and C, and minerals, such as iron, among others. Its leaves are also good for headache, bleeding from a shallow cut, bacterial and fungal skin complaints, and gastric ulcers and diarrhea.

Malunggay pods are dewormers, and good for treating liver and spleen problems, pain of the joints and malnutrition; while malunggay seeds can treat arthritis, rheumatism, gout, cramps, sexually transmitted diseases, boils and urinary problems, and a relaxant for epilepsy.

“Because of the many uses of malunggay, the government should formulate a sustainable framework for development that will serve as guide to the formulation and implementation of plans, programs and projects for the production, marketing, processing and distribution of malunggay for food, medicinal, health and commercial needs. This is the goal of the proposed measure I filed,” said Legarda.

The bill also seeks to establish a Malunggay Development Fund to provide for the funding requirements for the production, marketing and processing of malunggay.#