Lowly tugabang

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DO YOU know anybody who does not eat “saluyot” or “tugabang?” If you are one of them, then you missed one half of your life, as the saying goes.

This lowly plant has always been considered a weed way back then in our farm, a weed that we love to eat and cut or pull from our farm—either upland rice or corn.

It grows wild and robust then as a weed. But we were grateful because it served as our food at the same time without really planting it. But when I graduated from college and landed a job as an agricultural extension worker for almost five years I was surprised that some farmers would really fertilize the tugabang and spray chemical on it for insect pests.


So you will really know the difference between a wild growing tugabang and a cared tugabang when in the market.

I remember how we cooked it in different style or menu. Of course, basically we all look up to it as a good partner for the young bamboo shoot we call “tambo.”

Cooking it with either shrimp, small crabs or dried fish, especially “guma-a” makes it a palatable all the more. We also loved to cook it with just a little water, a little bagoong, and ginger and it was so good.

Now there’s a company that makes use of this lowly plant as one of their power herbs—changing its form into powder among others and sell it as herbal instant tea.

“Saluyot” or “Tugabang” is known for its leaves as jute (fiber made into twine or sack) in Bangladesh, food in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia. It is also used as a medicine and is good for dysentery, parasite in the stomach and good for those who cannot move their bowels easily.

Organic advocates, take note. Japanese people are into business on dried ‘saluyot’ with Africa and use it as substitute for coffee, tea and as stress fighter.

It is rich in vitamins, carotinoids, calcium, potassium and dietary fibers. It also contains also phytol and monogalactocyl-diacyglycerol, a phytochemical that is fighting cancer.

Saluyot is a natural medicine for pain, enteritis, fever, back and muscle pain, stomach pain, and indigestion. It is used also for cystitis, hemorrhoids, ascites (bloating of stomach due to ailment of the liver).

Its medicinal qualities are varied. It acts as demulcent—ease breathing; tonic—giving strength and power; carminative—controls “kabag,” lactagogue—for nursing mothers; purgative and diuretic.

As far as nutrition is concerned, it is a power herb since it is rich in 43 to 58 calories; 80.4-84.1g water; 4.5-5.6g protein; 0.3g fat; 7.6-12.4 total carbohydrate; 1.7-2.0g fiber; 2.4g ash; 266-366 mg Ca; 97-122mg P; 7.2-7.7mg Fe; 12mg Na; 444mg K; 6410-7850ug beta carotene equivalent;0.13-0.15mg thiamine; 0.26-0.53mg riboflavin; 1.1-1.2mg niacin;53-80 ascorbic acid among others, for every 100grams of serving.

There you go! For those who didn’t give a second look on this lowly but rich crop, think twice. You will be blessed!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 27, 2014.


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