Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Plants from my little garden

I will be off on a holiday and won't be updating until I get back... so I'm leaving you with a long post and some home work research to do.

I have a small garden at home, but gladly mom found ways to fit all these vegetables and herbs in there. Sometimes there's just so much plants that I don't really know which is for decoration and beautification or herbs! So let me walk you through and hopefully you can help me do some research (for me hehe) or feed me some info I don't know about the plants I have in my garden.

Plant 1: "Hong Mou Yin Sai" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as English Parsley. The leaf is lanky and older leafs are thorny. The leaf gives out a very strong parsley smell. The texture is thick and crunchier compared to normal parsley or coriander. I'm not sure if there are any medicinal value to this plant but I usually chop the leafs up, add sugar, soya sauce, chili padi and lime to make a dipping sauce for steamed chicken.

Anyone hear or eaten this plant?

Plant 2: Aloe Vera is found in many gardens. There used to be a lot of Aloe Veras at my grandma's place in the past and when I pok kai (fall and hurt myself) and bleed, my grandma used to break one of the Aloe Vera leaf and use the gel in it to heal and give a cooling effect to my wound.

"Aloe Vera can be a useful treatment for a range of ailments from inflammation and arthritis, to sunburn and bites"

Anyone knows any recipe to cook Aloe Vera? It tastes really bitter when eaten raw.

Plant 3: "Sheh Yip" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Snake Leaf. The plant grows up to a meter in height. The leafs are green and narrow. I believe in some Chinese Medical Hall, they do sell the dried pounded version of this leaf in capsules. It is believe that "Sheh Yip" can cure heatyness and body aches. Since young, my dad would pluck the leafs from the garden, soak them in salt water for an hour or so, then roll it up and force me to swallow when I am falling sick due to heatyness. Till date, I'm not really sure if it works. The younger leaf taste less better, but the dark greener older and more bitter leafs gives more powerful effect. What is this leaf called in English?

Plant 3: "Dei Tham Dau" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Earth Pillow Head? The whole plant actually grows flat on the floor. When it is time for the plant to multiply, the flower and stigma grows up high in the middle. The leafs are course and hairy. My mom started planting this when she found out that this helped one of my relative to "cleanse the toxins" of her body. I can say that both my parents family have complicated medical background… hence dangerous on my parents (and me!). Mom has a sickness and since she started boiling the leafs in water and drinking it, she felt that she felt better. It really detox her and you know what, I think it really works because I really feel that she have changed, her mood is better (as I think it improves the secretion of certain hormones too). She don’t boil them anymore though, but soaks them in salt water, and then pound the chlorophyll out to drink. And....EEE YUCK! All good things taste BAD! REALLY BITTER!

My mom is willing to volunteer to be a test patient for anyone who is interested in researching this plant for medicinal purposes. She has great confidence in this plant as rumors has that this plant prevents other sickness like cancer... but you know la... how true? I don't know.

Plant 4: What is the name of this plant?

I'm not even sure if my mom planted the correct plant in the first place. She told me that the buds and flower of this plant can be boiled in water ...good for cold and cough. The thing is, I have never seen flowers or buds on this plant. I think there's another plant that looks like that but with the flowers and plants.

Plant 5: Ok, another "miracle" plant, this one for the eyes. But wait, this is no plant.... it's that weed growing every where in the park, in my garden... along the road side!!!! And mom tells me this is good for the eyes! Really ah? Don't know that this is called but mom have boiled this in water and drank it few times. .....I can actually sum it all up... all the boiled herbal plants taste EEEYUCKKKK!

Plant 6: "Hak Min Cheong Kuan" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Black Faced General. Another unproven Chinese medicinal plant to prevent cancer. The leaf is soft and thick and have course hair on it... a little sharp actually.

How true? We need more scientist to research on all this kind of plants.

Plant 7: "Kor Kong Long" (pronounced in Cantonese) translates as Cross the River. Mom says that this should be boiled together with the "Hak Min Cheong Kuan" to drink. The leaf looks a little like the "Sheh Yip" but this one has a darker colour and is more narrow at the tip of the leaf.

If only the Chinese were less kiasu and shared all the medicinal (and other knowledge) with the public or their family. All the information is now just passed down as word of mouth. The real research done long ago in China vanished when the brain died. So sad....

Plant 8: "Misai Kuching" in Malay and called "Mau Sou Chou" in Canotonese. In English, the Cat Whiskers Grass. The flower of this plant is very pretty and have cat whiskers like pettles. I'm not sure how true the medicinal value of this plant is proven but many local manufactures have turned this plant into tea leafs... and boy it really sells at high price! I'm lucky my family don't have to buy them when we want to drink because my aunty actually plants a lot of them and makes tea leafs for us. Best tasting herbal drink out of all the plants in my garden.

"Misai Kuching (Orthosiphon Stamineus) is a medicinal herb found mainly throughout South East Asia and tropical Australia. It is believed to have anti allergic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It is used as a remedy for arteriosclerosis (capillary and circulatory disorders), kidney stones, diabetes and nephritis.

It is trusted for many centuries for treating ailments of the kidney, bladder stone, urinary tract infection, liver and bladder problems, diabetes, rheumatism and gout. It is also used to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure."

Plant 9: "Leng Ka Loke" (pronounced in Hokkien) is not Daun Sirih. Looks like it but it's not. And it's not that leaf you find at the longkang (drain) side ok...tho it grows well there because of all the "nutrients" the crawling roots get from the water. This leaf is used for dishes like otak-otak and perut ikan. Baba Nyonya's and Peranakan's would be familiar about this leaf.

I personally like slicing the leafs into thin strips and mixing it in egg to make a Leng Ka Loke egg omelet. But beware, the plant helps to "Get rid of air" "Tui Foong". You fart a lot after that LOL!

Plant 10: "Poh Ho" aka Chinese Mint. The shape is the leaf is like a larger version of the mint leaf. The leaf is thicker and hairier though. Mom says it’s good for cough. Not sure if it's wet cough or dry cough though. The leaf should be soaked in salt water first. The leaf should be place in a tablespoon of hot water, and then eaten.

And is this proven to work? I don't know la... I don't want to get sick to try.

Plant 11: Pandan. I'll whack you if you don't know this plant. Go Google it if you don't know.

And some self praise here.. I make good Pandan pound cake! HAHAHAHA :P

Oh and sometimes you will notice that some Pandan tend not to grow as big as other... as in the leafs are to slim and short. There's a few types of Pandan that I see people grow in their garden. The larger ones are easier to grow, but the leafs are not as fragrant as the smaller leaf species. The larger once that leaf grows over a meter long and have thorns should never be used for cooking. Too bitter and no Pandan fragrant at all. They will just spoil your dish.

Plant 12: Spring Onions. I have don't always have these... but I found the shallots in my kitchen growing leafs... so plant them only la. Looks so cute.

So there you go. My garden is a garden of bitter tasting (unproven) medicinal herbs. And through out my younger years, I have been taken all this leafs. I can't really remember if they really work. I don't take them anymore because... I haven't fall sick for a long long time. But if any of you are interested... well.. drop me an email and I can work it out for the plant to end up in your garden too.

Note: I am neither a doctor nor an herbalist. This post is written based on word of mouth from my relatives and mom. Although I have eaten them, this doesn't not mean you will have no allergy from it if you try them. Please consult your doctor, sensei, or use your own judgment before you attempt to give these plants a go. I take no responsibility if you fall ill, get drain damage, lose a limb, or die consuming all of the above mentioned plants.

Ok la.. I was over exaggerating, but you get what I mean right?

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9 pieces of worms:


you can only use a matured aloe vera maybe 3 to 5y/o. Removed the skin, cut flesh into cubes and boiled in water. Then add rock sugar. Pregnant mothers is advisable to avoid drinking this. Or you can cook the aloe in less water with sugar so that the sugar will sip into the aloe.


wow ! yr garden must b huge , no fruits ah ?


this is so interesting! i know the sheh yip in malay is known as hempedu bumi.

the leaf dat look like sirih is daun kadok.

i wish i have a garden like yours to plant so many herbs! sigghh i'm living in a pigeonhole with no balcony :p


Oh no! Past scenes of my parents forcing me to down those homemade brews are playing in my mind now. Can still taste d bitterness! *face all scrunch up*


wah envy your vegetable and herb garden! want to be your neighbour! give me some!!


hi i stumbled upon your blog. lovely food pics u have here :) im a foodie myself too and its great to know likeminded ppl. take care!

Rasa Malaysia

I envy you! I was checking out my mother's little herb garden and found only a slowly but surely dying kaffir lime tree, daun pandan, and lemon grass. I wish I can have a herb garden in my US home. :)


Wah seh...didn't visit your blog for so long (been real busy) and so many delicious food. Yummylicious!!! Keep up the good work!!! OMG, you have a garden too? You go, my fren!!!


hijackqueen: My house aloe vera all super small man.. dunno how to make it grow bigger.

tonixe: Actually my garden is small. 1 1/4 area of a sedan car. But my mom really make use of the whole place... even the outside area of the gate! No fruits tho... garden not big enuff for that. But I have a pineapple in a pot!

rokh: hahaha come look for my house and pluck all you want :)

evan: Keep the taste bud moving! :D

rasa malaysia: You should plant mint and bazil there! It's too hot in Mal to plant really pretty mint and bazil here.

jadepearl: heheh glad to service your tastebuds thru the monitor screen

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