Malunggay: Ang Pambansang Gulay
Published: August 2, 2019 05:15pm | Philippines
Did you know that the national vegetable is not mentioned in the popular folk ditty “Bahay Kubo”?
In 2017, a bill was passed in the House of Representatives declaring malunggay as the national veggie and designating November “National Malunggay Month.”
Malunggay has therefore joined the prestigious list of so-called Philippine icons like Philippine eagle, carabao, jeepney, anahaw, mango, among others, according to an article by health and science journalist Henrylito Tacio.
The bill cited malunggay’s economic, nutritional and supposed medicinal benefits.
How does science view malunggay’s perceived health and wellness properties?
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) describes malunggay (Moringo oleifera) as a genus of shrubs and trees with multi-purpose uses.
Most useful is the plant’s leaves, which are consumed as food due to its nutritional richness. The UN food body cites as malunggay’s special qualities its being rich in protein, vitamins A, B and C as well as minerals.
The FAO also asserts that malunggay products have antibiotic, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycemic properties.
Apart from its being an anti-oxidant, there are several scientific studies reporting the plant’s health and wellness benefits. While most of these researches were inconclusive though, these nevertheless provided strong evidence that moringa, in healthy doses, may enhance the body’s health and wellness.
A study cited malunggay’s ability to lower blood pressure. For instance, “a research on 30 women revealed that taking 1.5 teaspoons (7 grams) of moringa leaf powder daily for three months reduced fasting blood sugar (FBS) levels by 13.5 percent on average.”
Scientists also believe malunggay contains isothiocyanate compounds that are said to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Malunggay is also cited as providing many benefits for the body’s organs. It is said that the plant can protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tuberculosis drugs. It also helps in keeping the digestive tract well-functioning, aiding in the passing of gas and wastes.
With malunggay’s often cited perceived nutritional, health and wellness benefits, it’s no wonder why the plant is called the “miracle tree” and the Philippines’ national vegetable. Health supplements that contain malunggay and malunggay extracts are therefore popular in the market nowadays. Among these is Yamang Bukid Healthy Product’s turmeric 10-in-1 tea, a popular morning drink. Aside from turmeric or luyang-dilaw, Yamang Bukid’s flagship health and wellness product contains malunggay and eight other herbs that help enhance health and physical wellness.