Category Archives: Plants and Garden

July is Nutrition Month

In the Philippines, Nutrition Month is celebrated every month of July. So this month, on POC Wellness, we shall be featuring articles related to nutrition and good eating.

The habit of eating healthy is not something that we are born with or develop overnight. Kids naturally go for what is sweet or crispy, not what is green and healthy. So it’s good to start them off right. For me, the best tip is to be good examples as parents, because children copy what we do. Read more tips for making healthy eating fun for kids here from Toni of Wifely Steps.

Also from Toni is an article on label lingo. Good nutrition starts with choosing the right food. The article includes 10 supermarket buzzwords that each supermarket shopper must know.

This month is also a good time to dig the archives of POC Wellness, especially the articles on organic food. What’s a better way to eat good food than to make it yourself? Organic gardening sounds like a good hobby, though I’ve never really tried it myself (I must be the only brown thumb in a family of green-thumbs!). I may initially be excited setting up the garden – buying seeds, pots, soils, garden windmills. But I’m not really sure if I can sustain the hobby…

Anyway, here’s a great article on Organic Gardening 101. While you’re at it, you may want to make your own organic fertilizer by vermiculturing.

Here’s to good food and good health! 🙂

Get down, dirty and organic

So organic’s all the buzz these days.

But why not? With the Earth’s ecology becoming more and more endangered each day, we should be shifting to a better, higher consciousness of self-sufficiency –  consuming less, reusing more. And going organic is one way of living in a self-sufficient way. I am waaaaay far from being self-sufficient, but, along with (semi-)vegetarianism, self-sufficiency is one of the things I hope to somehow get into before my lifetime is over.

Central to the concept of self-sufficient living is growing your own food. Here is a great article on the POC’s Health and Wellness channel –  Organic Gardening 101.

Ready the work gloves and get down and dirty… in the garden, that is.

Ashitaba Plant and its benefits

Update (July 1, 2013): I think this is an Ashitaba plant. I saw some similar looking plants at Manila Seedling Bank on a recent visit there, and the vendor said they’re called Ashitaba. And yes, they’re supposed to have a lot of healing benefits. I also saw a post on Instagram by a mommy friend that confirmed this is ashitaba. Yehey, the plant now has a name. 🙂

Mama also took some leaves from my plants and planted them in her garden. Of course, she was able to propagate her ashitaba plant. She boils the leaves to make tea whenever she or Dad feels a sore throat or cough coming on. Ashitaba is also good for maintaining normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Update (January 17, 2010): I was finally able to remember to ask my Mandarin teacher yesterday. The scientific name of this plant is Kalimeris indica (Indian aster).

My Mandarin teachers at Dash Center gave me two small plants the other day.

They say the plant has medicinal properties. The leaves, when eaten raw one piece every two hours, are effective in arresting a cough in its early stages.

Knowing that I have an allergic child, my teachers gave me the plant. Its leaves are edible – I ate one and it has a mild nutty flavor. I think it would be perfect for salads! Unfortunately, my teachers do not know what they are –

Ashitaba plant
Can you help me identify this plant?

Anyway, the plants are small and I need to propagate them before I can make salads. The teachers say the plants grow easily. Hmmm… Wish me luck because I do not have my Mama’s green thumb!


That Neem Tree – Neem That Tree!

I first heard of the neem tree and its beneficial effects from the carpenter who worked on our ceiling and roof.

Nate has skin asthma, and dust from the carpentry work aggravated his condition. Kuya Carpenter saw my son’s allergies all over his body, and suggested to give Nate a bath using water boiled with neem tree leaves.

iMom: Name tree?

Kuya Carpenter: Opo, name tree. Sa India ang tawag dyan ay pharmacy tree. Kasi ho magaling talaga yan, madaming nagagamot na sakit… (and he goes on to enumerate the illnesses)

iMom: Saan naman ako makakahanap nyan?

Kuya Carpenter: Meron dyan sa kabilang kanto. Ikukunan ko kayo ha. (Vroooms away in his motorbike)

He returned with several leafy branches of the tree. So I was supposed to boil a bunch of the leaves, and use the cooled water for rinsing Nate after soaping. The raw leaves can also be ground and applied on wounds.

Okay got it, kuya.

neem tree leaves

But of course, I had to google it. Search words “name tree” did not make any sense. So I entered “pharmacy tree India“. That’s when neem tree showed up. Aaaaaah, neem tree pala! Si kuya naman, oh!

But, in fairness, tama si kuya! Continue reading That Neem Tree – Neem That Tree!

Our Garden

A few weeks ago, Christianne requested for photos of our tiny Japanese-inspired garden and some gardening tips. Though late, I am glad to oblige to the first request. But gardening tips?? I need them myself! The green-gene skipped my thumb, though somehow managed to creep into my brain… So I’m another kind of green! 😛 (Environmentalist, anuveh!)

The garden was designed by my sister DaVinci. She bought the plants and supplies (pebbles, adobe blocks, sand, pots, etc) from gardening shops at the Manila Seedling Bank along Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Then she hired two or three men to carry out her vision. If I remember right, the whole project was done in three days. She has a creative mind, which I don’t!

Here are some photos I took when we just moved in late last year. There was a light afternoon shower, and the plants were looking so vibrant and refreshed.





I’m glad I took these photos. The garden used to be beautiful… currently, it needs some a lot of grooming. As I said, I’m not much of a gardener. The Chinese bamboo and horsetail plants are so prolific. They’re all over! How do I control where they sprout? Any tips?