Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A quiz on allergy: Identify if fact or myth.

A quiz on allergy:  Identify if fact or myth.
 Milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, fish and meat comprise the most common food allergies.
Dr Abe V Rotor

1. Children who grow up on the farm are at much lower risk to allergy than children in the city.
Uncontrolled sneezing, a common symptom of allergy, may cause embarrassment and even accident . 

2. Infants on the farm have fewer allergies than those who grow up in sterile environments. 

3. Children who grow up with a cat in the house are less likely to develop allergies or asthma. 

4. Very few pet owners are allergic to the animals they love.

5. Children who have been breastfed are less likely to have allergies. 

6. Milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, fish and meat comprise the most common food allergies.

7. Most reactions to food are not allergic in nature, but rather intolerance, that is, there is no allergic antibody involved.

8. Babies exposed late to cereal grains have higher risk to cereal allergy, especially wheat.

9. Regular use of “foreign” materials (e.g. nail polish remover, contact lens, metals) can eventually cause sensitivity and reaction to the products.

10. Allergy can induce strong and unwelcome mental and emotional reactions, such as altered perception or inappropriate changes of mood.

NOTE: These above statements are all based on facts.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Avoid artificial food coloring: it can cause cancer and behavioral problems in children

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

Why food coloring?
Food coloring, or color additive, is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels and pastes. 
People associate certain colors with certain flavors, and the color of food can influence the perceived flavor in anything from candy to wine.   Color additives are used in foods for many reasons including:
Food dyes are like artist's colors. Primary colors come up with various secondary and tertiary colors, including designs, saturation, hues and accents.  Beware of colored candies, birthday cakes, and drinks. They are linked to cancer and behavioral problem in children.   
·         offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions
·         correct natural variations in color
·         enhance colors that occur naturally

·         provide color to colorless and "fun" foods
Sometimes the aim is to simulate a color that is perceived by the consumer as natural.

The case of shoe dye in tamarind sweet - a personal experience

All of a sudden when answering the call of nature, I was alarmed to see the color of my urine bright red. I cried, Blood!

I tried to compose myself to be able to reach the hospital in the earliest possible time. But what surprised me at the same time was that my fingers were also stained red. I examined the “tamarind sweet” I had just eaten. I found the culprit - jubos, the dye used on shoes!

There are products made to appear like cocoa, coffee, orange, strawberry, grapes and the like, when in fact the ingredients are mainly sugar, artificial flavors and food dyes.

How many food preparations are artificially colored for better presentation? Since that time on I have become more careful with colored foods. Ube cake, anyone?

One test to know if a food color is artificial is that it is detected in the urine. Natural colors, on the other hand, are either degraded by our excretory system or absorbed as a useful nutrient, as in the case of the yellow pigment of corn which is carotene. Carotene brightens the skin, deepens the yellow color of egg yolk, and lends freshness in meat. Carotene and xanthophyll from carrots and squash, lycopene in tomato are useful to our body. They make us glow, so to speak, improve our vision, and fight off cancer.

There are some things to consider about food dyes, specially if you suspect a food or drink to be colored artificially.

Be familiar with the natural colors of fruits and other food products. There are rare ones though. For example, purple rice cake (puto) comes from a variety pirurutong or purple rice. Ordinary rice flour and ube flour produce the same color. This can be imitated with the use of purple dye.

Fruit juices carry dyes to enhance their natural colors. Example, calamansi juice is made to appear like lemon or orange. Softdrinks would look dull and unattractive without artificial colors. Dyes mask natural variations in color and enhances naturally occurring colors. The sparkle and crystalline color of wine may be the result of judicious color blending.
A typical food cart in Manila  Processed foods like smoked fish and ham are colored, usually golden yellow, or deep brown to make them look attractive. I once observed in a factory the practice of spraying a solution of yellow pigment on smoked fish to make it look newly processed and the body fat visible.

Other uses of artificial color or dye are in medicine to protect flavors, and minerals and vitamins from damage by light. Thus multivitamins are usually colored usually with bright yellow which appears in urine. Colored coatings of medicines and drugs are used to monitor prescribed doses in patients.

Cloudifier to make vinegar look like Sukang Paumbong or sasa, or something natural, is actually adding a few drops of milk to a dilute solution of acetic acid. This overnight formulation is popular in the market, because it is cheap, but the truth is that glacial acetic acid is not good to health.

Easter eggs
Cakes and other bakery products may deceive the eye and even the palate. Nothing beats the icing of birthday and wedding cakes. Bakers as artists use colors perhaps more than the full spectrum of the rainbow. I am amazed at how they express their art with the colors of Marc Chagall's stained glass, Pablo Picasso's fresh abstracts, and Rembrandt's sunset and midnight hues. With red, yellow and blue - the primary colors - plus white, there are artists who can create all the colors they need in their masterpieces.

But we cannot mix food with art using artificial colors.

Fortunately we are among the riches countries when it comes to natural food colors and dyes - orange, red to purple from oranges, grapes and strawberry; green from the leaves of pandan (Pandanus odoratissimus) and green paddy rice (pinipig); dark red to black from the fruits of duhat and bignay; purple color from ube (Dioscorea alata); and golden yellow from mango, pineapple, and tumeric (Corcuma longa).

The list is virtually endless, if we iunclude colors from muscovado sugar, coffee, cacao, banana, mangosteen, avocado, nangka, and the like.

By the way, what is the most common source of natural color and dye?

It is achuete or anatto (Bixa orellana). See photo. Achuete is a small to medium size tree introduced from Mexico (achuete is an Aztec word) during the Spanish times. Today it is used to impart or improve the color and flavor of cheese, butter, yogurt, noodles, pasta, macaroni, and cakes and many confectionery products.

I cannot imagine if there is no achuete in batchoy, apretada, azucena, caldereta, paella, kare-kare, arroz valenciana, lechon, and many other dishes.

Let us avoid artificial food coloring. Here is a toast of red Basi wine. 

Allow me to post this news item on food dye published by Philippine Daily Inquirer on the Internet. 
 Artificial colors impart attractive presentation of processed food like bagoong. 

FDA warns vs cancer-causing food dye in candy, ‘gulaman’ ‘bagoong’
By Tina G Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public about processed food products found positive for rhodamine-B, a cancer-causing substance found in coloring dye.

In an advisory posted on its website last week, the FDA said three of 34 food product samples it tested for nonpermissible colorants (NPC) were found positive for rhodamine-B.

According to the FDA, the samples it tested were taken from ambulant vendors, public markets, groceries and supermarkets in the National Capital Region and Central Visayas.

“Most of the samples were unregistered and noncompliant with food product labeling standards,” said FDA acting director general Kenneth Hartigan Go in the advisory.

Some of the products were icing candy from Cebu Crown Grocery, red gulaman from the Carbon Public Market and shrimp paste (labeled 7C’s) from Robinson’s Grocery in Talisay, Cebu.

“The food processors of the three products are in violation of the FDA Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9711) and the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394) on the adulteration of processed food,” said Go.

Go said the FDA Act of 2009 requires all locally manufactured and imported processed food products to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration.

“This requirement is in addition to the permits issued by the local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies,” he said.

Meanwhile, five other products that the FDA tested needed further confirmatory tests for the presence of NPC Sudan.

Rhodamine-B is a fluorescent dye used as a tracer in water and air flow studies, and in molecular and cell biology studies. It presents as a red to violet powder. It has been shown to be carcinogenic in mammalian models.

On the other hand, industrial grade Sudan dye is not permitted for use in food because it is toxic, carcinogenic and likely contains metals like mercury and arsenic. Sudan dyes are used in shoe and floor polish, solvents, oils, waxes and petrol.

The FDA advised consumers to buy processed food products from legitimate food establishments and outlets.

He urged consumers to report food processors using suspect food coloring additives.

NOTE: In another article researchers say there may be a link between artificial food dyes and behavioral problems in children with certain medical conditions.

Acknowledgement: Wikipedia, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Part 1 - The Tropical Rainforest’s Last Stand

Dr Abe V Rotor
Bohol landscape from the air.

Farming in Chocolate Hills, Bohol.

The Tropical Rainforest could be the biblical Lost Paradise immortalized in the masterpieces of John Milton.

It was after dawn and smoke from nearby homesteads rose with the mountain mist in Carmen, between Davao City and Tagum, when I spotted a company of loggers carrying a wooden cage looking very much like an oversize onion crate. To my curiosity I looked into the cage and found a pair of flying lemurs locally called kaguiang in Bisaya or ninmal in Samal Moro, clinging upside down and cringing from the first light of morning.

Cynocephalus volans Linneaus, as the animal is scientifically called, is one of the rare mammals that can fly, an adaptation they share with the versatile bats. Unlike bats however, the flying lemur can only glide from tree to tree, a pair of thin expandable flap of skin and fur connecting the whole length of its front and hind legs serves as parachute and glider combined.

It was a pathetic sight. The pair was apparently captured when their natural habitat - tall trees that made the original forest were cut down for lumber, and the area subsequently converted into farmland in a most destructive system called swiden or kaingin farming.

Loss of Natural Habitat Results in Loss of Species

Scientists warn us that the loss of natural habitats will result in the disappearance of organisms. This is true to the flying lemurs – and this is true to thousands of different inhabitants in the tropical rainforest, the richest biome on earth.

It is estimated that more than half the species of plants, animals and protists live in the tropical rainforests. According to a Time report, there are as many as 425 kinds of living plants that are naturally occupying a hectare of tropical rainforest in the Amazon. Similarly our own rainforest is as rich because the Philippine lies on the same tropical rainforest belt together with Indonesia and Malaysia in Southeast Asia. There are 3,500 species of indigenous trees in our rainforest.

Imagine a single tree as natural abode of ferns, orchids, insects, fungi, lichens, transient organisms - birds, monkeys, frogs, reptiles, insects and a multitude more that escape detection by our senses. The tropical rainforest must be God’s chosen natural bank of biodiversity. The “Lost Paradise” that the Genesis describes and literary giant John Milton classically wrote – Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained – is undoubtedly one that resembles a tropical rainforest.


Part 2 - Tropical Rainforest Profile

Dr Abe V Rotor
Rainforest serves as watershed, keeps river full and clean, 
creates a cool mini climate in the area, Bohol.

Reforestation rebuilds and increases stand of trees, Bohol

Let us look at the TRF profile like slicing a multi-layered cake and studying its profile. It is made up of storeys similar to a high-rise building. The “roof” or canopy is what we see as forest cover. Here and there are very tall trees called emergents jotting through the monotonous canopy like living towers.

From the air, the view of a tropical forest is one huge and continuous green blanket that catch the energy of the sun and through photosynthesis converts it into organic materials beginning with simple sugar to the most complex compounds from which useful materials are derived - wood, rubber, resin, and drugs, etc. These products are needed to sustain the life of countless organisms and the stability of the ecosystem itself.

From the forest floor, one can see only a little part of the sky, with the rays of the sun filtering through. But now and then, the trees, depending on the species, season and other environmental conditions, shed off their leaves, which can be compared to the molting of animals as they grow. Entire crowns of leaves fall and litter the forest floor. Transformation into humus continuously takes place with the aid of insects, bacteria, fungi, earthworms and the like. And this is very important because humus fertilizes the soil and conserves water acting as sponge and blanket.

This is one of the wonders of nature. Trees in a tropical rainforest have this special characteristic. They are not only self-fertilizing; they are soil builders. Through time, with the deciduous cycle repeated without end, the forest floor – even how thin the soil is, or how solid the underlying rock is – builds up, layer after layer, and it is this process that enables many organisms in the forest obtain their nutrition in order to grow.

Deciduousness allows sunlight to pour over the previously shaded plants occupying the various layers or storeys, which serve as specific habitats or niches. Occupying the lowest part of the forest, which is equivalent to the ground floor of a building, are mostly annuals, ferns and bryophytes. Next are the shrubs which occupy the lobby and second floor, followed by undergrowth trees that reach a height equivalent to the third and fourth floor, lianas and epiphytes which may reach as high as the eighth floor. It is not surprising to find emergent trees reaching up the 200 feet.

How big can a tree grow and for how long? Take the case of the Redwoods or Sequoia found growing in southern California, and China. I saw a tree of this kind in southern Taiwan, recently killed by lightning. The tallest redwood, which is still growing today, is 267.4 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 40.3 feet. It is estimated to be 3,500 years old.

The analogy of the layers of a rainforest with a ten- or twelve-storey building gives us in imagination of the orderliness of nature in keeping the rich biodiversity of the ecosystem.

The true forest primeval – the rain forest – stands along the equator now reduced into a sanctuary of “living fossils” of plants and animals that once constituted the eternal green cover of the earth.

The canopy at one time or another allows the sky to meet the residents of the forest from the ground floor to the upper storeys - something that if you stand among the trees during this transformation you will find a kind of communion that, while it can be explained biologically, fills the spirit with the wonders and mysteries of nature.

The tropical rainforest is a natural menagerie where peace, music, colors, patterns, art and skill are not so well known to modern man. The high-perched artists like squirrels and monkeys are better acrobats by birth and practice than any known human acrobats. Many primates howl with electrifying, ear splitting and blood-chilling sound that breadth the land. Above plummet the masters of the sky – the Philippine eagle and hawks, spotting their preys which may be several kilometers away, or hundreds of meters below – something which our modern spotting scopes can not yet achieve with readiness and precision.

Inside their tunnels the termite workers tap their way and chop the wood for their colony and themselves. Man has yet to learn more about the social structure of this insect.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nature shows the process and benefits of composting

Composting is an integrated biological cycle continuously taking place in nature.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday


Rosette arrangement of leaves of Fortune Plant (Dracaena fragrans) works like a funnel, trapping dead leaves, droppings of birds, reptiles, bats and insects.  It serves also as a watershed, collecting water from rain and dewdrops that condense from fog and mist.  All these are ingredients in making compost at varying levels and stages at  the axils of the leaves. The final product is humus, which fertilizes the plant itself, epiphytes and lianas, and generally the surrounding environment. 

Aerial composting holds the secret of self-sustaining ecosystems where epiphytes and lianas, orchids and bromeliads grow on trees and rocks. The final and stable  product which is humus, is carried down by rain and gravity to fertilize yet another community of organisms on the ground and understorey levels.  Which explains the high population density and rich diversity of organisms in rainforests.

This tree-borne bomeliad has a crown that collects water to form a pool that spills down to the lower leaf axils forming a series of pools where insects, frogs and even fish breed.  So with a host of protist organisms. It is a compost tank, where the final products of composting are absorbed as plant nutrients by the plant and the host tree and its symbionts. The organic matter ultimates becomes a part of the forest floor. 

Organic matter is a product of composting leaves and other plant debris.  It is harvested as natural fertilizer for growing vegetables, ornamentals and various crops in gardens and farms. Commercial organic matter is increasing in demand as natural or organic food is becoming popular in lieu of chemically grown crops.


Increasing consciousness of the public on the dangers posed by chemical fertilizers and pesticides has led to the fast growing popularity of natural farming. Actually the key to natural farming is the use of organic fertilizer derived from composting farm wastes such as animal manure and plant residues after harvest. Although comparatively low in nutrient value, organic fertilizer improves soil structure and tilth, enhances biological and nutrient balance, and supplies trace elements absent in commercial fertilizers, thus improves farm’s productivity in the long run. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Siniguelas (Spondias purpurea) Article in progress

Dr Abe V Rotor

Spanish Plum (Spondias purpurea)

  Family • Anacardiaceae
Spondias purpurea Linn.


Sineguelas is a deciduous tree growing to a height of 5 meters. Trunk is stout, with thick spreading branches. Leaves are pinnate, 15 to 25 centimeters long. Leaflets occur in 5 to 9 pairs, oblong-ovate, 5 to 7 centimeters long. Flowers are solitary or fascicled in the axils of the fallen leaves, reddish, and 3 to 3.5 millimeters long. Fruit is smooth and thin-skinned, oblong or subglobose, about 2.5 centimeters long, with a fleshy pericarp, yellowish green or dark-purplish outside, with a large and stony seed. When ripe, the seed is surrounded by a soft, sweet, and aromatic juicy pulp.
- Cultivated for its edible fruit throughout the Philippines.
- Introduced from tropical America by the Spaniards.
- Now pantropic; naturalized throughout the tropics all over the world.

- Mineral content and food values are: Moisture 75.6 - 85.44%, ash 0.57-0.9%, phosphorus 0.11%, calcium 0.01%, iron 0.003%, proteins 0.63%, fats 0.09%, carbohydrates 21.16%, crude fiber 0.62%.
- Study of amino acid composition of the gum yielded hydroxyproline (main AA), aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, proline, threonine, and alanine.
- Peels of jocote fruits yielded phenolic acids and several flavonol O-glycosides of quercetin, kaempferol, kaempferide and rhamnetin. (8)
- Fruit is astringent; considered diuretic and antispasmodic.

- Shoots are astringent.
- Seeds considered toxic.

Parts utilized
Bark, fruit.

• Fruit has a thin skin and a large seed, surrounded by a soft, sweet, aromatic, and juicy pulp when fully ripe.
Although much eaten, it is not considered a high-quality fruit, with a tendency to cause stomachaches when eaten semi-ripe in large quantities.
• Also used as seasoning for sweets and pickling.
• In the Ecuadorian coastal plain and Andes, processed into marmalade, wine, liquor.
• Decoction of the bark used for dysentery and infantile tympanites.
• Sap of the bark is applied to the infants mouth for stomatitis (dapulak).
• Fruit is astringent and useful in diarrhea.
• In Brazil, decoction of bark used for diarrhea; decoction of flowers and leaves used for constipation and stomach aches. Decoction of the fruit used for diarrhea, dysentery, gonorrhea.
• The Tikunas Indians of the Amazon use the decoction of bark for pain and excessive menstrual bleeding, for stomach pains and diarrhea, and for washing wounds.
• Cubans used the fruit as emetic.
• Dominicans use it as laxative.
• Bark used for minor skin ulcers.
• In Haiti, leaf juice taken orally for swollen glands and trauma. Crushed leaves applied for headaches. Fruit consumed in large amounts for constipation. Also used for diarrhea and dysentery. Fruit syrup used for angina.
• Fruit decoction used to bathe wounds.
• Juice of fresh leaves used for thrush.
• Decoction of leaves and bark used as febrifuge.
• Crushed leaves applied as head bath for headaches.

• In the Guianas fruit used as ingredient in marmalade laxative; shoots as astringent.
• In Nigeria, infusion of shredded leaves used to wash wounds, cuts, sores and burns.
• In Jamaica, leaves are boiled to make a cold remedy; also used for sore gums, diarrhea and dysentery. In Maya medicine, plant used to make baths for skin diseases.
• Resin of tree used with pineapple and soursop for jaundice.
• Amazonian Indians use a daily cup of decoction for permanent sterility.
• In Peru, leaf and bark decoctions used to aid delivery.
• In Guatemala, used for gastrointestinal disorders.

Stains: Fruit used to remove stains from clothing and for washing hands.
• In French Guiana, shoots are considered astringent. Fruit used as ingredient in laxative marmalade. Seeds considered toxic.

Veterinary: In Eastern Nigeria, fresh leaves of S. mombin used to aid delivery and expel the placenta in small ruminants.
• Many compilations list Spondias purpurea (sineguelas) and Spondias mombin (hevi) separately; some compilations list them as synonyms. There is also an overlap for synonyms and common names on both species. Red mombin is applied to Spondias purpurea and yellow mombin to Spondias mombin.

Until resolved, I have included the studies for Spondias mombin.
Antimicrobial / Anti-Enterobacterial: In a study of 84 plants screened for in vitro activity against five enterobacteria pathogenic to man, Spondias purpurea was one of ten plants that showed the best antibacterial activity and provides scientific basis for use in enterobacterial infections in man.

Polysaccharide Gum: Study of S. purpurea var. lutea polysaccharide gum yielded 3-O- and 6-O-galactosyl residues, terminal and 3-O-α-l-arabinofuranosyl, terminal rhamnosyl residues and uronic acids, represented by β-d-glucuronic acid and its 4-O-methyl derivative. (6)
Gum / Pharmaceutical Binding: Study showed the S. purpurea bark gum has binding abilities which can be employed when high mechanical strength and fast to moderate release is required.
Antioxidant / Pharmaceutical Binding: Study evaluated five tropical Brazilian fruits for antioxidant activity using four different assays. All results showed high antioxidant properties for siriguela (S. purpurea).
Mutagenic Potential: Study evaluated the mutagenic potential of S. purpurea through the micronucleus test in peripheral blood of mice in vivo. Results showed no mutagenicity. (10)
Antinociceptive Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the in vivo effects of leaf extracts of S. mombin on reproductive performance of female rats. Results showed antinociceptive activity, but no abortifacient or estrogenic activity.
Anxiolytic Activity: Study evaluated the anxiolytic properties of various extracts of Spondias mombin leaves using aggressive behavior response and depression-related swimming behavior activities. All test extracts abolished aggressive attacks in rats and reduced swimming time in mice. Results suggest an anxiolytic effect mediated by GABAergic transmission.(13)
Male Antifertility Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated an ethanol extract of Spondias mombin leaf on male rats for antifertility effect. There were histomorphological changes in the testis with significant reduction of serum testosterone. Results suggest potential sterility through suppression of spermatogenesis.
Lipid Lowering Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of leaves on the serum profile of rabbits. Results showed significant reduction of serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL.
Haematinic Potential / Leaves: Study evaluated the haematinic potential of an ethanol extract of Spondias mombin in female Wistar rats. The extract significantly increased erythrocyte count, hemoglobin concentration and packed cell volume. Result collaborates its traditional use as a haematinic.
Uterine Smooth Muscle Effect / Leaves: Study evaluated ethanolic crude and neutral leaf extracts of S. mombin on serum estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone on albino rabbits and compared with oxytocin. In vivo studies showed the crude extract caused more prolonged muscle contraction, unlike the more forceful effect with oxytocin. While oxytocin synergistically enhances estrogen activity, the extract mechanism of action was apparently dependent on competitive binding to estrogen receptor sites.
Phytochemical and Nutrient Evaluation / Leaves: Phytochemical and nutrient evaluation of S. mombin leaves yielded the presence of bioactive compounds tannins 3.82%; Saponins 7.60%; Flavonoids 3.00%, alkaloids 6.00% and phenols 1.00%. Vitamin analysis yielded ascorbic acid 19.35mg100-1g; Niacin 3.75mg100-1g. Riboflavin 0.25 mg100-1g and Thiamine 0.05 mg100-1g. Mineral analysis yielded K 2.55%, Mg 0.3045%, Na 0.100%, Ca, 1.310% and P, 0.200%.

Oregano (Coleus amboinicus) for Medicine, Culinary and Pest Control

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

There is always oregano (Coleus amboinicus) at home, ready to ease cough and sore throat.  I imagine myself wearing a handkerchief around my head, advising my family and neighbors not to take cough drops or antibiotics for simple colds. 
 Two varieties of oregano (Coleus amboinicus): Italian (variegated), and native.

I tell them to pick a young leaf or two of oregano and chew it while taking juice or soft drinks.  Or blanch it, extract the juice, and add sugar and warm water.  It is practical and there are no side effects. And what a feeling!  No wonder the plant's name which comes from the Greek words, Ore/Oros means mountain, and ganos is joy.  Joy on the mountain. 

Pliny the Elder claimed oregano as a remedy for bad digestion.  To Italians, it is the secret of their cooking and making pizza, just as the Mexican make chili con carne.  Our own dinuguan tastes best with this aromatic herb.

On the other hand, I found out that oregano is an insect repellant.  I noticed that mosquitoes, flies and roaches are kept away by its odor. Oregano has essential oil, thymol, which is also a strong antiseptic and disinfectant. 

 Warning: Oregano extract is not advisable for plant pest control, specially on garden plants, either as spray or sprinkle solution. It has allelophatic substance, which means it is phytotoxic to certain plants, causing stunting or death. Never plant oregano side by side with your favorite garden plants like rose, mayana, anthurium and ground orchid.

Plant oregano in pots by cutting, or the whole shoot or branch. It can grow in the shade or under direct sunlight, with moderate amount of water. During rainy months keep the potted plants away from too much rain water. Oregano grows best in summer, but don't forget to water it regularly. A full grown oregano can be made into cuttings which you can grow in individual plastic pots to supply the neighborhood -  as token or gift. It takes a cutting to reach full growth in two to three weeks. ~


Katmag said...

When I was a kid, we used to have oregano in our garden. My lola would always tell us how good it is for cough, and for the whole body mainly. When one of us had cough, my lola would immediately boil oregano leaves and make us drink. I've always loved the aroma of oregano. Now I know that it's not only a cough remedy but it is also an insect repellant.

Angeline De Guzman said...

My grandparents always advised us even when I was a kid to use herbal medicines because as they said, they are more effective. So whenever I had cough, my lola boiled oregano leaves and she let me drink the extract. It is really effective.

Francesca Concepcion said...

When I was younger, my father would always force me to drink the extract of Oregano every time I have a cough but I always refused. Maybe, it is because I don't like the aroma or the taste but as the years passed, I got used to drinking it until I have the initiative to drink it myself for the relief it brings me from a very disturbing cough.

Now, my younger siblings are experiencing the power that the Oregano has every time they have coughs, so I guess our home should will never lose this plant, so I advice every homes to have this plant. Another reason why homes should not lose this because, as I have learned through this article that it's not only for coughs but it can also serve as an insect repellant especially now that dengue is spread all over. ~


Many homes have other useful plants on their backyards, such as

  • Soro-soro, a species of Euphorbia used to control ringworm;
  • Lagundi (Vitex lagundi) is good for fever and flu;
  • Alovera (Aloe vera) for burns;
  • Pandakaki (Tabernamontana pandacaqui) for minor cuts;
  • Bayabas (Psidium guajava) for skin infection and allergy;
  • Ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata) for natural freshener;
  • Sampaguita (Jasminium sambac) for lei and natural air freshener.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Faces. Beware, Behold!

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Assignment: Write under each, a brief description of the animal, with emphasis on its behavior.  
Faces, faces, happy or sad?
Speak of good self or bad,
Of what intent or hidden mood
Only the beholder knows.
Beware or behold

Green Pond Frog
Red Grouper (lapulapu)
Black Cat is believed to bring bad luck
Bengal Tiger, endangered big cat
Vampire Bat - exageratedly dangerous 

Philippine Eagle, UPLB Laguna

A pair of girafe at Safari World. Bangkok, Thailand
Aquatic iguana, Avilon Zoo, Rizal

Crocodile, Avilon Zoo

Preying Mantis devouring a fly