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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Iban Barefoot Doctor's Antidote for High Cholesterol


This is a very interesting jungle product called Palah. According to most local Ibans it is a good antidote for people suffering from high cholesterol. Apparently this bitter shoot (cooked in boiling water with some added ikan bilis ,onions and garlic) can help reduce some cholesterol. But of course the cynics would think otherwise.

Mind you I did try a few times but it is terribly bitter. However after a few more attempts I grow to like the bitter soup. It is like eating bitter gourd when one was young but as we grow older the bitterness in the vegetable becomes a welcoming taste.





This lady prepares the inner stems or shoots for the consumers.Each morning she would go to the jungle and bring back a large bag of the shoots or stems still in their raw state and then cut them up while waiting for the buyers to come. She has to do this in the tamu because the soft stems may decolourise/oxidise too much after a few hours. The stems must be cooked on the same day if possible to keep the freshness. Her daughter helps her out by attracting buyers while she cuts the shoots into small size.

According to her it is good selling her jungle product outside under the hot sun where she can catch either people coming into the tamu or buyers going home. (But there must be other reasons why she is not selling within the Bekenu Tamu and is placed in this particular corner.)

I am worried that this jungle product may soon disappear from our natural forests which are diminishing due to rapid deforestation and constant rapid modern agricultural development. According to the lady if only people collect the food for personal consumption this vine would never be in shortage. Bulldozers and rapidly burning projects kill the vines within days.

And soon another human food (which may have medicinal value) is gone forever from the surface of the earth.

16 memories:

fufu said...

yeah stop cutting down the trees!!! we still have plenty of treasures in our forests!!

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,
Is it a palm?

Greenspot

sarawakiana said...

Fufu
Thanks for your support!!
Palah is a good organic food. And who knows it can become a valued medicine in the future.

sarawakiana said...

Greenspot
I think it is a jungle palm similar to Pantu.

Have you seen it before? I personally know that it is eaten by Ibans in Kapit and Bekenu/Miri.

I am not too sure about the Ibans of Sibu or Kuching.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

It could be one of the species of pantu (scientific name : Eugeissona).

Greenspot

sarawakiana said...

Thanks Greenspot. One day I will follow the Iban ladies to the jungle and get some photos for you. It would be good to write about it. Sometimes what is common knowledge to the indigenous is news to the outside world.

sarawakiana said...

BTW Greenspot..why not write a book about wild palms of Sarawak before Oil Palm colonise the whole place?

We may need to start a seed bank of all these palms too like sperm banks to preserve the best stock. I know some Australians are already establishing their own seed banks .

Superman said...

many jungle products are missing from the market compare to last time. not many forest left as all converted to OIL PALM ESTATES! That's really bad.

sarawakiana said...

Yes I agree with you Superman. Many products which were very abundant are now missing in the jungle market. We must value what God and nature can give to us!

Sometimes when I think of Darwin's Theory of Evolution "survival of the fittest" many of the members of the plant kingdom have not chance at all against high tech.

Greenspot said...

Sarawakiana,

One of the Eugeissona species is the wild sago of Borneo used mainly by the Penans.



Greenspot

sarawakiana said...

Yeah I have eaten wild sago which goes well with salted fish (my style).
Has anyone written about wild sago?
Thank you for spending time for this academic exercise! I really appreciate it.

Bengbeng said...

sarawakiana, why not compile some of yr posts and make them into a coffee table book?

sarawakiana said...

Beng Beng
Thanks for the compliments. I have thought about the project but it is too expensive an idea....
Will sit and hatch....hehehehe

cibol said...

we call that "upak lalis" I think but some sort of upak la. there's different kinds some are bitter, some are not so bitter and some - not bitter at all. my parents would love it - for the rest of us, nah! ha ha ha. but it goes well with pork bones. I'll take the soup only lah .. ha ha ha

sarawakiana said...

Very interesting. What dialectic group calls it "upak Lalis"? Melanau?

Thanks for visiting!

sarawakiana said...

Very interesting. What dialectic group calls it "upak Lalis"? Melanau?

Thanks for visiting!

 

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