Although many people look down at the malunggay as a lowly vegetable, it has been discovered by biochemists and molecular anthroplogists around the world that it is a rich source of Vitamins C and A, iron and high-density lipoprotein of good cholesterol, making it an effective cure for numerous illnesses that include diabetes, hypertension, inflammation, infections, cancer and aging issues.
Malunggay, oftentimes called the miracle tree, is now getting the attention that it deserves because it boasts of many health and medicinal benefits. Nowadays, malunggay is incorporated as a vital ingredient in many products like pandesal, polvoron, noodles, cookies, and even ice cream to complement the nutritional requirements of children and even adults.
Health authorities have recommended the use of malunggay in feeding and nutrition programs.
Studies show that malunggay pods are good dewormers, good for treating liver and spleen problems, pain of the joints, arthrities, rheumatism, gout, cramp, boils, urinary problems and sexually transmitted diseases.
Even Senator Loren Legarda has been urging the public to maximize the benefits of malunggay.
“Malunggay’s young leaves are edible and are commonly cooked and eaten like spinach or used to make soups and salads. They are an exceptionally good source of provitamin A, vitamins B and C, minerals (in particular iron), and the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine,” she said.
The senator said malunggay seeds and roots can be dried and ground to a powder and used for seasoning.
She added that the protein from the extracted malunggay oil is a natural polypeptide for sedimenting mineral particles and organics in the purification of drinking water, for cleaning vegetable oil, or for sedimenting fibers in the juice and beer industries.
Senator Legarda has refiled 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.
The bill also seeks to establish a Malunggay Development Fund with an initial P1 billion fund to be taken from the Department of Agriculture’s budget.
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, Legarda said.
Last month, the House committee on revisions on law approved a bill to declare malunggay as the national vegetable of the Philippines and the month of November of every year as the “National Malunggay Month.”
The bill was authored by Pangasinan Congresswoman Gina de Venecia, who said that as an Ilocana, she grew up eating the vegetable several times a week.#