Why Ashitaba is Good For You (And Where to Find It In Manila)
I first read about ashitaba through food enthusiast and Sabrina’s Kitchen host Sabrina Artadi on her Facebook page. Reading up on ashitaba, I learned that it was a wonderful plant with lots of health benefits. It’s also indigenous to Asia so it’s (theoretically!) easier to source here. Here are some fast facts about ashitaba:
Ashitaba’s Health Benefits
Multiple Health Benefits
Ashitaba, which means “Tomorrow’s Leaf,” is an edible and medicinal plant. It got its name from the fact that a brand new leaf appears the following day after a stem is cut off the plant. According to Modern Farmer, the sap that oozes when you cut off the stem is high in chalcone, a substance that is reportedly antibacterial, antifungal, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory. Ashitaba is said to be beneficial for heartburn, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, gout, and constipation. It’s also used for cancer, fluid retention, and blood clots.
Its root, leaf, and stem are used to make medicine. Its fresh leaves are used as food.
Possible Side Effects
Take note that there isn’t enough information available to know if Angelica keiskei (ashitaba’s botanical name) is safe for everyone. As always, please consult a trusted physician before taking supplements, medicines, and herbs. WebMD advises pregnant and breastfeeding women especially to stay on the safe side and avoid its use.
I’ve only used ashitaba leaves on smoothies, though I imagine it also works great on salads and soups. Wanna add them to your smoothies as well? Here are a couple of recipes to get you started:
Sabrina Artadi’s Beauty and Energy Booster
Blend together one glass of milk, one teaspoon unsweetened cocoa, one raw egg, five ashitaba leaves, a dash of McCormick cayenne, three dashes cinnamon, two whole bananas, half an apple, and two teaspoons wild honey or coco sugar.
Sabrina says it’s great for breakfast or lunch on a run. I tried this with cacao nibs instead of unsweetened cocoa and without cayenne; it still tasted fine. 🙂 It also made me full for about four hours and that’s already a record for me, haha. I’ll definitely remember to add cayenne next time, though.
Malunggay and Ashitaba Combi
Gather the following ingredients and blend together with a glass of water:
Two clumps of malunggay leaves
A few ashitaba leaves
Two small pieces of ginger
One or two teaspoons of muscovado sugar
If you like ginger, you’ll like this as the ginger supersedes the bitter taste of ashitaba. 🙂 If you don’t like ginger, you can experiment with the flavors a bit and substitute the pieces of ginger with calamansi (native lemons) or papayas instead. You can also add milk or plain yogurt if you wish. The varieties are endless. I personally just concoct smoothie recipes using the ingredients I have on hand. That’s the fun part about making smoothies!
Where to Buy Ashitaba in Manila
Quezon City Memorial Circle
According to a 2014 post from the blog Wonderful Heavens and Earth!!, Ms. Adela Ang sells ashitaba at her outlet in Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City. Contact Garden Row at 0917 861 3868 or 0917 812 0782. A comment left four months ago on the said blog mentioned that genuine ashitaba plants are also sold in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s gate in Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City.
Searching for more where-to-buy info, I chanced upon a Yahoo! Answers thread that corroborates what Wonderful Heavens and Earth!! wrote. In that thread, a comment from a certain Erol Jesse mentions ashitaba plants being sold at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. The price, he said, was two for Php 150. The comment is just nine months old so the info is pretty recent.
If you live east of Metro Manila, meanwhile, you might want to visit nearby Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal. They sell ashitaba seedlings there. Contact Rose Banzuela at 0915 434 4216.
Planting vs. Buying
You may try buying a seedling and nurturing it in your backyard, though I read that it prefers cooler climes. That’s why the articles I’ve read said the plant is usually propagated in the Philippines in places such as Silang, Tagaytay, and Benguet. Where exactly in Silang, Tagaytay, and Benguet? I must admit that I don’t know. 🙂 Should you know the answer to that, do give me a heads up. Thank you!!
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If you have any medical concerns, do consult your doctor.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
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