On a bright sunny morning, this nippy orange-coloured butterfly Tawny Coster (Acraea violae), flitted among the leaves of a Yellow Turnera or Holy Rose (Turnera ulmifolia) plant. It appeared to be searching for suitable spots to lay its eggs. The Tawny Coster’s dance is captured in the following stills.
The tiny Common Tailorbird is more commonly heard than seen. This is because it is a very loud singer for such a tiny bird but it is very difficult to make it out in the foliage overhead. Very often, by the time you finally sight it, you cannot even get the camera focused to shoot it.
So I consider myself extremely fortunate on this Sunday morning to notice it perched on the overhead cable in clear sight, noisily singing its heart out, calling to its mate.
In case you are curious…. it is a 2-note song, sung with gusto repeatedly: “Chu-it! Chu-it! Chu-it!”
Making Herbal Tea
I have been very keen in herbal remedies ever since 1998 when my mother-in-law was saved by a herb after doctors had given up hope on her when they deemed her renal failure was no longer treatable.
When she recovered after we put her on a course of urena lobata (“Sar Boh Chau”) herbal tea, and she went on to live a healthy life for 22 more years, I started a website, Free2Cure, to put on record her case study (https://www.free2cure.com/chronic-renal-failure/ )and to solicit first-person testimonials of any other successful natural remedy to help anyone in need.
But I am also acutely aware that my brief description of the herbal tea preparation, typically the common advice of “boil 3 cups until 1 cup” is too vague and does not instill confidence for anyone who needs to understand the “how’s and why’s” of the herbal tea preparation.
As such, I scoured the Internet and researched this topic and what follows, I believe, is the definitive guide to making herbal tea. It should provide answers to the “what, when, why and how” of herbal tea preparation. If there’s any gap, error or falsehood in this guide, please post your comment here, and together we’ll continually improve and add to our collective knowledge.
What is “herbal tea”?
Sun and Moon infusion
What type of kettle or pot to use?
What is the recommended dosage?
Mortar and pestle
MY HOT TIP FOR MAKING FRUIT TEA
What is “herbal tea”?
First off, “herbal tea” in its common usage, is a misnomer, since “tea” is actually a beverage prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.
“Herbal tea” (or more accurately “tisane”) as referred to and described in this article, does not involve the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, but is any beverage made from the infusion (hot tisane) or decoction (boiled tisane) of herbs, spices, or other plant material and usually does not contain caffeine. But, we will call it “Herbal Tea” here as it is commonly referred to.
A herbal tea is often consumed for its physical or medicinal effects, especially for its stimulant, relaxant or sedative properties.
Herbal teas generally have lower antioxidant values than true teas but there are exceptions (eg. Misai Kucing) with antioxidant properties comparable to black teas.
Since the liquid medium is water, herbal tea is only useful to extract water soluble active chemicals from the target herb and to release the volatile essential oils (if present).
To extract non-water-soluble active chemicals, other methods like tincture may be used.
Maceration, tincture, elixir, tonic, syrup, etc. to extract the beneficial constituents of a target herb will be discussed in a separate article.
Infusion is made by bringing freshly drawn water to a light boil and then adding the hot water to the herb in an appropriate container. The container must be covered to retain the volatile essential oils, and the herb is steeped in the hot water for the desired duration.
As such, infusion is used to extract minerals, vitamins and volatile essential oils from the soft parts of the plant such as leaves or flowers (fresh or dried) or citrus peelings or fruits.
Pre-heat the pot and cup by swirling hot water and pouring off. The warmed tea pot will prevent the water from cooling too quickly so that the full flavour of the tea is not lost. Another good reason to do that is avoid cracking your glass tea pot through a sudden drastic change in temperature which may happen if you just dump the full volume of boiling hot water into the pot. After you have pre-heated the pot, add the appropriate amount of herb followed by the lightly boiled water.
Some herbalists recommend not to stir but to just let the herb(s) steep within the confines of the pot or cup. Probably, this is to prevent the loss of the volatile essential oils if you lift the cover to stir.
While tea is normally steeped for only 1-3 minutes to avoid excessive bitter tannins, herbal tea is steeped for at least 5 minutes and usually 10-20 minutes. Some herbalists recommend the use of higher dosage to make a stronger herbal tea rather then a longer steeping time.
While “infusion” generally refers to “hot tea”, you could also use cold water instead of hot water especially for the more delicate herbs that may be adversely affected by heat.
Cold infusion gives a different flavour to the herbal tea as the chemical balance will be different from that imparted by hot infusion. As before, use freshly drawn water (filtered or mineral water) and add the cold water to the herb(s) in the glass/porcelain tea pot and keep covered. Allow it to steep for up to 24 hours. Dosage is similar to that for hot infusions.
But be very careful; the dried or fresh herb must be clean as there is no heat to kill any bacteria that may be present in the herb. In case of doubt about its cleanliness, do a quick rinse of the herb with boiling water, before using for the cold infusion.
Use a pestle and mortar to crush whole herbs to “open” them up before the cold infusion.
Drink the finished tea as is or chilled or sweetened; whatever your taste. Some may prefer to gently warm up the tea to drinking temperature.
Use a bottle or jar instead of a tea pot to make larger quantities.
Sun Infusion (Yang)
Sun infusion supposedly harnesses the sun’s masculine yang energy to stimulate the water and herb(s). Use a big jar and fill it with clean freshly drawn water to keep the herb(s) submerged. Keep the jar open or cover with some fabric like muslin cloth to keep dirt out. Put the jar in a sunny spot to infuse for at least 4 hours. The tea is ready when it is fragrant and the liquid is full of color. Strain and drink throughout the day.
Moon Infusion (Yin)
Moon infusion supposedly harnesses the moon’s feminine yin energy which is more subtle, cool and passive than the sun’s energy.
Apparently, moon infusions under the different phases of the moon will impart different effect on the infused herbal tea although generally it seems like a good idea to do it under a full moon.
Again, keep the jar open or covered with a fabric like muslin cloth to keep dirt out. Moon infusions are generally kept overnight in the moonlight.
The beauty of making lunar infusions is the ability of these to capture the energy of the moon phases and their relative teachings into the tea. A full moon tea will bring more bright, illuminating, and culminating energy to a blend, while a waning moon infusion will invoke a remembrance of rest, calm, and letting go. Herbalists pay close attention to the moon and we use the moon for harvesting. We harvest some flowers and plant tops under the light of the full moon, when the energy of the plant is lifted like the tides into the highest part of the plant. And we harvest roots and tubers under the darkness of the new moon when the energy is calm, the tides are low, and the plants have their intelligent life-force nestled deep into the earth below.
What type of kettle or pot to use?
The guiding principle is that herbal tea is meant for its therapeutic value rather than its flavour, unlike the case of drinking tea.
Therefore, the material of the container must not contaminate the herbs. As such inert material is preferred over clay or cast iron, two of the popular types of tea pots for making tea (not herbal tisane).
The recommended material for the pot for herbal tisane is glass or porcelain. Metallic containers like aluminium and copper may react adversely with some herbs. If you have to use metallic pots, I believe stainless steel is inert and will not react with the herb. Other sources recommend enamel pots but I would not use use them as the enamel can chip off and expose the metal (cast iron or mild steel) which can rust. Traditional Chinese tea is usually infused in clay or ceramic pots. For our herbal tea, stick to glass, porcelain or stainless steel. Glass has the added bonus of a delightful visual sense to add to the enjoyment of the herbal tea. The downside of glass is that glass is a poor heat insulator and tends to cool down quite fast compared to clay (or porcelain).
The longer you infuse the herbs, the stronger and more effective the active constituents will be. But the flavour may alter with different steeping times, so experiment to suit your taste with a minimum steeping time of 10 minutes.
And remember, the pot must have a cover or lid.
Choose the size of the container appropriate for the quantity of herbal tea. Do not use a large pot for a small quantity of herbal tea.
What is the recommended dosage?
Generally, the recommended dosage is about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of dried herb or 2 tablespoons of fresh herb per 8 oz (240 ml) of water (1 cup). But this is only a guideline as different herbs have different potency.
Add 2 tablespoons of fresh, or 1 tablespoon of dried herb (or crushed seed) to the pot for each cup of water, plus an extra 2 tablespoons of fresh or 1 tablespoon of dried “for the pot.” (For iced tea, increase to 3 tablespoons of fresh and 2 tablespoons of dried herb to allow for watering down by melting ice).
Therefore, if making 2 cups of hot tea, you would use 6 tablespoons of fresh herb or 3 tablespoons of dried herb in a pot.
Alternatively, a very general guideline is to take a cupped handful of fresh herb for a quart (0.88 litre) of water.
From the foregoing, you will notice that if you are using fresh herbs for your tisane, use twice the amount you would use if the herb were dry. This is because the water content in fresh herbs dilutes their flavor. As one herbalist wrote, “Let your hands, eyes, nose and heart guide you”.
Note: 1 g dried herb approx = 1.5 tsp dried herb
The average dosage is usually 3 to 4 cups in a day.
A decoction is used to extract primarily the mineral salts and bitter principles of plants from hard materials such as roots, bark, seeds and wood. These hard materials generally require boiling for at least 10 minutes and then are allowed to steep longer, sometimes for a number of hours. The word “decoct” means to extract the essence from (something) by heating or boiling it. The tea is boiled down and concentrated so that water may need to be added before drinking, in some cases. But a general guideline is to use 3 bowls of water and boiled/simmered until 1 bowl.
Put 1-3 tablespoons of cut herb, seed, root, bark, etc into a pot of 16-32 oz of water and allow to sit in non-boiled water for at least 5-10 minutes. Set on stove and bring to a slow boil then turn down to a simmer for 10-30 minutes. Strain and drink. Will keep about 72 hours if kept refrigerated. Most decoctions can also be brewed via single cup through a regular infusion process as noted above but without the strength.
The decoction method is used for hard, woody substances (such as roots, bark, and stems) that have constituents that are water-soluble and non-volatile. (Red clover is an exception, because red clover flower decoction will extract more minerals that the infusion.)
Decoctions extract mainly mineral salts and bitter principles. Decoctions are intended for immediate use.
Store for a maximum of 72 hours in the refrigerator.
Amounts can vary, depending upon your taste and the potency of the herbs, however 1 to 2 teaspoons of herb mixture to each cup of water is a good starting point. Roots and barks are more concentrated than the lighter leaves and flowers used in infusions, so less is needed.
Heating method for the decoction
There seems to be conflicting views as to how to boil the herb(s). The following methods are extracted from different sources.
Start with cold water over a low heat and slowly bring herb mixture to a simmering boil. Keep the pot covered and simmer for ten to 20 minutes. Take off heat and leave covered while your decoction cools to drinking temperature.
Use this method when the material you want to extract is a bitter, or mineral salt. The whole herb, roots or seeds, or the bark of a woody plant are soaked in cold water for several hours, then brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes.
Add 3 cups of water to the herbs and bring the mixture to a boil using relatively high heat. Reduce to medium heat and continue to boil (for approximately 20 minutes) until 1 cup of strong, dark liquid remains.
Strain the liquid into a large glass or ceramic container. This is the first dose (the strongest) of your herbal medicine.
Add 2 cups of water to the previously cooked herbs. Continue to simmer under medium to low heat for approximately 20 minutes, until 1 cup of liquid remains.
Strain the liquid and pour it into the same container holding the previous dose.
Repeat the last two steps one more time to make a third dose of medicine, which you again combine with the previous two doses.
When finished you should have approximately 3 cups of herbal medicine, and can now discard the cooked herbs. You will generally take 1 cup of your decoction three times a day, but this depends on your individual condition. Decoctions should be drunk slightly warm (like tea). Some herbs may taste a bit bitter, and if so you can usually sweeten them with a small amount of honey. Your decoction should keep for about 2-3 days if sealed and refrigerated.
I personally adopt Method 3 most of the time.
Why you boil a decoction three times
It is important to boil the herbs three times for 20-minutes each time, rather than all at once for one hour. Many of the herbs in your formula will contain some volatile aromatic oils as active ingredients. These oils will be retained in a short 20-minute boiling, but will probably evaporate after an hour at high temperature. Other components of your herbal formula (such as the active ingredients in hard roots or nuts) might take an hour to be fully extracted, however.
Thus the best method of preparing the decoction is to boil the herbs for 20 minutes three times in a row, combining and mixing all three doses. This ensures that all the various active herbal ingredients are present in the final medicine.
Mortar and pestle
A mortar and pestle can be used to crush the herb(s) to aid in the infusion or decoction of the herbal tea, especially anything tough or hard, like nuts or barks.
For the freshest tasting cup of tea, you should always use mineral water or freshly drawn water direct from the tap that has been running for a while. Standing water loses oxygen, and the resulting tea tastes flat. If your tap water is chlorinated, a compromise can be reached by drawing fresh water and letting it stand uncovered for a couple of hours to allow the chlorine taste to leave the water; although, using mineral water is a quick and easy solution. Boiling the water for long periods also removes oxygen from the water, so always use fresh water (do not re-boil it), and use the water quickly after it comes to a boil.
Traditionally, in Asia, water is always brought to gentle boil before one prepares tea. Boiling water eliminates many harmful germs and bacteria. Though water quality has improved vastly, boiling in the water in this fashion can help to bring out tea’s flavor. The water should be heated until a steady stream of air bubbles gently rise to the surface. At this point, the water is sufficiently heated and also has a preferable oxygen content. In contrast, using water that has been held at a fierce, rolling boil can leave tea tasting dull and flat.
MY HOT TIP FOR MAKING FRUIT TEA
Try this the next time you use your juicer to make fruit juice. Make sure the container for the pulp is clean before you start juicing. After juicing, the collected pulp can be put into a tea bag/filter and used for fruit tisane infusion. Now you can have your juice and fruit tea, no waste!
I used my juicer to make some fruit juice as usual, but this time instead of throwing away the pulp, I used the pulp to make a fruit tea (infusion).
3 large green apples
1-litre fruit juice, and pulp sufficient for 3-litres of fruit tea.
The above ingredients produced almost a litre of fruit juice while the pulp was sufficient for 3 litres of fruit tea. I packed my teapot’s strainer full of pulp to make a fresh infusion of fruit tea. The balance of the pulp was kept in the fridge and used over two days to make two more pots of fruit tea.
After using the pulp to make the fruit tea, I used the pulp to make my “garbage enzyme”. Remember: to make garbage enzyme, use PLASTIC bottles, not glass. This is to avoid nasty accidents in case the gas build-up creates too high pressure.
Extra extra bonus:
If you have fruit peels, why not use them in your compost pit? I use mine to make vermicast ( worm castings ). Learn to make vermicast here.
Here’s another great guide on Vermicomposting:
Truly, truly no waste!
When you are making your herbal tea, you need a cat curled up at your feet to make it truly magical. Just kidding! (…. but it can’t hurt to try).
One quart is equal to 4 cups, 2 pints, and 1/4th of a gallon.
1 quart is 1.1365225 liters.
1 Liter = 1.05668821 Quarts [Fluid, US].
1 Liter = 0.87987699 Quarts [UK]
U.S. to Metric
1/5 teaspoon = 1 milliliter
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
1 tablespoon = 15 ml
1/5 cup = 50 ml
1 cup = 240 ml
2 cups (1 pint) = 470 ml
4 cups (1 quart) = .95 liter
4 quarts (1 gal.) = 3.8 liters
1 fluid oz. = 30 milliters
1 fluid oz. = 28 grams
1 pound = 454 grams
Metric to U.S.
1 militers = 1/5 teaspoon
5 ml = 1 teaspoon
15 ml = 1 tablespoon
34 ml = 1 fluid oz.
100 ml = 3.4 fluid oz.
240 ml = 1 cup
1 liter = 34 fluid oz.
1 liter = 4.2 cups
1 liter = 2.1 pints
1 liter = 1.06 quarts
1 liter = .26 gallon
1 gram = .035 ounce
100 grams = 3.5 ounces
500 grams = 1.10 pounds
1 kilogram = 2.205 pounds
1 kilogram = 35 oz.
Cooking Measurment Equivalents
16 tablespoons = 1 cup
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup
10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons = 2/3 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
6 tablespoons = 3/8 cup
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons = 1/6 cup
1 tablespoon = 1/16 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
48 teaspoons = 1 cup
Protect HDMI Inputs
So you have a super duper Home Theatre system complete with a jiffy HD Projector and a top-of-the-line AV Receiver linked by a 50-foot (15-metre) HDMI cable that snakes overhead in the ceiling. One end is connected to the HDMI input port of your overhead HD Projector while the other end is connected to the HDMI output port of your AV Receiver across the room.
What happens when there is a severe thunderstorm and there is one or more lightning strikes nearby? Does your system go on the blink? If yes, then you share the same bad experience as I have. The close proximity lightning strike has induced a large voltage spike in your long HDMI cable that completely toasts your HDMI ports. If you’re “lucky” then maybe only either the Projector’s or the AV Receiver’s HDMI port gets toasted. More likely, both will be zapped.
After that has happened to me 3 times in as many years, I decided to be proactive as I was getting embarrassed submitting my home insurance claim every year. Not to mention the inconvenience of the downtime pending repairs. I installed my solution early this year and having survived 2 severe thunderstorms since the installation, I am confident this is a viable solution to protect HDMI inputs from being toasted by lightning-induced spikes in the long HDMI cable of a home theater system. Read on.
The solution calls for two HDMI Switches. I searched for a simple 2-to-1 HDMI Switch but the simplest I found is this 3-to-1 HDMI Switch. I wanted a mechanical switch but finally settled for this electronic switch because it has a remote. This makes the switching convenient when the switch is mounted at the Projector, ceiling-high.
Install one of the HDMI Switches to the HDMI Ouput of the AV Receiver. In my case, I connected Port 3 of the switch to the AV Receiver’s HDMI Output. The switch’s output port is then connected to the long HDMI cable. The other end of the HDMI Cable connects to Port 3 of the second HDMI Switch mounted at the overhead Projector. The output port of this switch connects to Projector’s HDMI Input port. That’s it. When the system is on, I use the remote to switch to Port 3 of both switches. When I have finished viewing, I switch to the un-used Port 1 of both switches, before shutting down the system.
The cost? Only RM80.00 (USD24.00) for each HDMI Switch. I reckon that in the event of a really bad lightning strike, it’ll be a USD24 fuse. But so far, neither switch has failed.
Does this help you? Share your experiences here.
Last night there was no video output from my Projector. The bulb was OK but there was no display. A quick change of the HDMI input port from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 was to no avail. A quick visual check showed that the light on the HDMI switch at the Projector went out, like there was no signal reaching it from my AV receiver. Checked the HDMI output from the AV receiver; there was output when connected directly to the TV. It appeared as if either one or both of the HDMI switches were toasted, but when swappped out to test each at the AV receiver end showed both were OK. Horrors! Could it be that my projector’s HDMI ports are both dead? I refused to believe that; if anything, the HDMI switch should be toasted first. I am confident of that. That left one long shot to try out. Maybe the signal from the AV receiver had somehow degraded and was a trifle bit too low at the Projector end? Luckily I have a HDMI repeater. I connected the HDMI repeater to the Projector end of the long HDMI cable before connecting to the HDMI switch. Voila! Happiness! Problem solved.
Dr Stallion Chan gave a talk to a full house at the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association’s main hall on 25-Aug-2006. Dr Chan made a startling and compelling case on a natural treatment for Cancer based on collagen, papaya and Vitamin B17.
According to Dr Chan, the body has a natural defence against cancer cells if the body is healthy with a strong digestive system. The pancreatic enzyme of a healthy digestive system can control cancerous tumours and was first recorded in 1906 by embryologist Dr. John Beard who wrote that pancreatic enzyme is one of the body’s defences against cancer and would be useful as a cancer treatment. Dr Chan suggested that a healthy body with a healthy and strong digestive system would secrete the necessary pancreatic enzyme that would help inhibit the formation of cancerous cells. A cancer cell protects itself from the human immune system with a protein shell which can be dissolved by the pancreatic enzyme.
If that be so, how then can we get supplementary pancreatic enzymes if we need them? The answer to this is the remarkable papaya which has an enzyme called papain which aids the digestion of protein. Dr Chan pointed out that the beneficial effects of papaya is aready well-known amongst the indigenous peoples of the varous countries where papaya thrives; from its use as a contraceptive to its curative property for cancer.
In addition to papaya, Dr Chan also suggested that cancer could be in part caused by the deficiency of Vitamin B17, very much like scurvy is simply caused by the deficiency of Vitamin C. When purified for cancer treatment, Vitamin B17 is known as Laetrile. However, this is a banned substance in many countries including USA, UK and Malaysia because Vitamin B17 is related to cynide and is very toxic in the wrong dosage. However, Dr Chan contends that this is as close to a magic bullet for cancer as we will ever find. Laetrile is routinely administered in Mexico for the treatment of cancer. Fortunately, Vitamin B17 can be found naturally in many fruit seeds especially apricot seeds.
In summary, Dr Stallion Chan advocates the following approach to treating Cancer:
1. Strengthen the Digestive Sysytem.
As the first line of defence in the battle against Cancer, Dr Chan offers a prescription of restorative tonic to boost the digestive system. For now, the prescription is in Mandarin, in this PDF file, (click to download) which most Chinese medical shops or “sin-seh” will know how to prepare from Dr Chan’s prescription.
2. Collagen Therapy
Dr Chan said that the cancer cells, in their natural state, will spread very fast in the body. In order to slow down the growth and spreading of the tumour, it will be helpful to wrap the tumour in collagen to contain the cancerous cells, until the pancreatic enzymes or alternatively the enzyme from papaya and Vitamin B17 can destroy them. Collagen is a fibrous protein found in cartilage and other connective tissue. One way to supplement the collagen in the body is to consume animal cartilages, eg. shark cartilage.
3. Papaya Therapy
The papaya is an excellent source of enzymes, minerals and vitamins (A, C, B complex and E).
Boil 1 or 2 papaya leaves and simmer for about an hour, and drink the resulting soup/tea. The mature green papaya (ie. skin is green, but the flesh is already red) can be used whole with skin, flesh and seeds and blended , by itself or with other fresh fruits, to drink. The mature green papaya and seeds are also reputed to be able to get rid of undesirable parasites in the intestines.
4. Vitamin B17 Therapy
Dr Chan suggests eating apricot seeds both as a preventive therapy as well as part of the curative treatment for cancer.
As a preventive measure, one should consume about 7-10 seeds a day, and this can be gradually increased when used as part of a curative treatment.
Dr Stallion Chan’s resume is listed below.
For supplementary reading, Free2Consult recommends the following links:
Cancer: Prevention and Cure
A combination of effective treatment modalities
Speaker : Dr. Stallion Chan (BHMS)
Outline of talk:
– Causes of cancer: triggering factors & root cause
– The structure of a tumour
– Wrapping the tumour with collagen
– Papaya enzyme: digesting cancer cells
– Papaya leaf: natural chemotherapy
– The magic bullet: Vitamin B-17
– Effective treatment & prevention modalities
– Graduated in 1979 from USM with Sains & Education degree BSc (Hons)
– Graduated in 2004 from Homeo Research & Educational Institute (for Asean Countries) with the degree Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine & Surgery (BHMS)
– Studies many fields of treatment methods, including naturopathy, nutrition, iridology, herbs for the treatment of cancer.
– started using naturopathy & iridology in cancer treatment in 1992
– in 2004 started using homeopathy & combination modalities in treating cancer
– Given a series of talks on health & cancer treatment in various agencies such as health organizations, schools, factories, etc.
– Giving free consultation on cancer treatment
You can contact Dr Stallion Chan at:
Elixir Herbal Centre
263, Taman Sultan Abdul Halim,
Jalan Tanjung Bendahara,
05300 Alor Setar,
Kedah.e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: 04-7312263
There is a CA Centre in Penang, operated by Dr. Chris Teo for a purely herbal treatment.
CA Care ( www.cacare.com )
5, Lebuhraya Glugor,
Fax: 04-6580422 / 6573437
Aeroplanes Over My House
My house is below the flight path of planes taking off and landing in the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (otherwise commonly known as the Subang Airport).
It’s a great place for to spot planes and these are just some of the varied aeroplanes observed at various times over my house.
It is surprising how silent the new commercial superjets are. The noisiest ones are the large military types (meant to give the “shock and awe” effect?), the commercial cargo planes (couldn’t care less?), and of course the older generation commercial jets (just simply plain old). Of the turboprop aircrafts (Firefly and Malindo), some are quite silent but some are fairly noisy, I wonder why.
But the new superjets are so silent, it’s eery.
Are you watching the HBO Original series “Game of Thrones”?
Here is why you may want to watch this series:
GOT is based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of adult fantasy books written by George R. R. Martin and named after the first book in the series, “A Game of Thrones”. It is in the same genre as J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, and George Martin has been dubbed “the American Tolkien”. Strangely enough, they both have the two “R”‘s in their names. However, in an interview with Rolling Stone, George said that although he admired Tolkien, he criticised “The Lord of the Rings” for its oversimplication of its themes and Tolkien’s portrayal of power.
“I admire Tolkien greatly. His books had enormous influence on me. And the trope that he sort of established—the idea of the Dark Lord and his Evil Minions—in the hands of lesser writers over the years and decades has not served the genre well. It has been beaten to death. The battle of good and evil is a great subject for any book and certainly for a fantasy book, but I think ultimately the battle between good and evil is weighed within the individual human heart and not necessarily between an army of people dressed in white and an army of people dressed in black. When I look at the world, I see that most real living breathing human beings are grey.”
“When I look at the world, I see that most real living breathing human beings are grey.” George R.R. Martin
So if you love the LOTR, you should watch GOT for its contrasting themes and portrayal of power in all shades of grey. Who is “good”, who is “bad”? Neither. You have elements of real-world power-play, politics, seduction, incest, bravery, cowardice, loyalty, treachery and even how religion is often bent and used for Man’s (or Woman’s) own purpose and agenda.
The TV series has ended its Season 4 and all fans are awaiting the debut of Season 5. Who will die next?
And in case you’re wondering, yes, it’s getting unpredictable in the show from the books. Up to now, the 10 biggest changes as identified by Rolling Stone can be found here: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/lists/game-changers-the-10-biggest-changes-between-game-of-thrones-and-the-books-20120515
Bugs Around Malaysia
Still remember your biology lesson? Insects have six legs while spiders are arachnids with eight legs.
Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda ( ref: Wikipedia) with 30 or 34 legs.
What about caterpillars? You know that a caterpillar will metamorphose into a butterfly ( 6 legs); so how many legs does a caterpillar have? Answer: 6 legs like an adult butterfly or moth. The rest are false legs (prolegs) which help the caterpillar hold onto plant surfaces and allow it to climb.
( ref: http://insects.about.com/od/butterfliesmoths/a/10-Cool-Facts-About-Caterpillars.htm )
For simplicity, let’s call them “bugs”. Here are some Bugs found in my garden.
I will update the gallery continually and hope to add to the collection from all around Malaysia. Hopefully, in time this will be a useful gallery of Bugs Around Malaysia.
Birds Around Malaysia
Yesterday evening, a family of three Pink-necked Green Pigeons roosted on the power cable over my garden and posed for me.
The two males have colourful plumage that gives its name while the female has plain dull green feathers.
One of the males is really fat (the father?)…LOL
Added White-throated Kingfisher, Oriental Magpie-Robin and Olive-backed Sundird. Everyday, I just have to be patient and a new bird may come visiting.
Yesterday, three Javan Mynas visited my garden unexpectedly. Don’t they look like the “Angry Birds”?
This is a gallery of birds around Malaysia. So far, most of these are common birds that regularly visit my own garden. Occasionally I catch sight of some non-native migratory birds flying overhead in formation. That’s when your pulse quickens and you grab your camera (hopefully within reach) and pray that you have captured some decent shots.
Keep your eyes open and look out for these birds around your house and neighbourhood.
All these birds were in my garden, my sister’s garden, or around my neighbourhood. The beautiful Jungle Fowls were in Baling.
Please let me know if I’ve identified any of the birds wrongly.
I will be updating this gallery continually and hopefully in time this will be a useful gallery of Birds Around Malaysia.
After this, you will love the weeds in your garden. Here is a roundup of common weeds and wild plants with medicinal curative properties for natural remedies that you may find in your own garden or around your neighbourhood. These 10 plants are all found in my own garden; all photos are mine.
We have all, at one time or another, heard about some miracle plant that has natural medicinal curative properties but often we wonder about its efficacy and whether it has any adverse side effect. To help allay such concerns, I have compiled first person reports in my other website, www.free2cure.com If any of these medicinal weeds work for you, please send me a note (email@example.com) for me to add to the first-person reports in Free2Cure.
Healing Herbs of Malaysia – SIRIM
Herbs of Malaysia – J. Samy, M. Sugumaran and Kate Lee
Wonder of Herbs – G G Enterprise
Various other websites
1. Rat Ear (Pepper Elder, Ketumpang Air, Peperomia pellucida L.)
Most Malaysian gardens will have this small succulent medicinal weed growing profusely among the other plants especially in damp shady areas. Although it usually grows wild and is seldom cultivated, it can be eaten raw as “ulam”.
The plant eaten raw or blanched can treat gout, arthritis, rheumatism, kidney stone and gastro-intestinal problems. It is used as a paste to treat boils, pimples and burns. The juice is used to relieve cough, fever, common cold, headache, sore throat, diarrhoea, prostate problems and reduce high blood pressure.
a. Translation from Noraida Arifin’s Herba:
“Drink the fresh juice drink to avoid infection of the eyes, diarrhea, cough, flu and infections bladder as well as for lowering high blood pressure. The leaves contain antibacterial properties that can treat skin diseases such as boils, acne and sunburn. It also can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and it is also a remedy for joint pain and abdominal pain. The fluid of the stem is used to cure fever and headache.”
Infusion and decoction of leaves and stems are used for gout and arthritis.
Externally, as a facial rinse for complexion problems.
Pounded whole plant used as warm poultice for boils, pustules and pimples.
Belongs to the “preferred list” of Philippine medicinal plants, being studied for its use in the treatment of arthritis and gout.
For arthritis: Leaves and stems of the fresh plant may be eaten as salad. Or, as an infusion, put a 20-cm plant in 2 glasses of boiling water; and 1/2 cup of this infusion is taken morning and evening.”
“Use : For glaucoma and eyes diseases
Use the whole plant (4-5 mature plants).
Use Chinese Wolfberry (3 table spoons).
Use brown sugar (1 table spoon).
Put 4 bowls of water in a pot.
Put peperomia plants, Chinese wolfberry and brown sugar into the pot.
Boil up the pot and reduce to slow fire.
Boil in slow fire till 8/10 of a bowl.
Drink the tea when cool.
Drink every two days.
There should be improvement after a week.
Continue until cure.
During the course, you could be expected to get watery eyes.”
“Medical Uses: (parts use: leaves and stems)
Fresh juice out of stem and leaves combats eye inflammation.
Concoction of leaves are used as treatment for headache, fever, common colds, sore throat, cough, coughing, and diarrhea.
Also used to fight against prostate problems.
Mixture and decoction of leaves and stems ease gout and arthritis.
Concoction of stems and leaves is good against high blood pressure.
Concoction of leaves are used for abscesses, conjunctivitis, rheumatic pains, and gout.
Externally, as a facial wash for skin problems.
Pounded whole plant used as warm poultice for wounds, boils, and pimples.”
2. Seed On The Leaf (Pick-A-Back, Dukung Anak, Phyllanthus amarus (niruri) )
This is considered a ferocious medicinal weed, that does well in high soil moisture, sandy loam soil in full sunlight or partial shade. The stem is usually erect with thin branches that bear two rows of tiny alternating leaves. Both male and female flowers are borne underneath the leaves along the whole length of the branches, hence the name “Seed On The Leaf”.
The plant is also referred to as “stone breaker” as it is used to eliminate gallstones and kidney stones. It is an Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat bronchitis, anaemia, asthma, frequent menstruation and diabetes. It is also a diuretic for genital-urinary infections, urological disorders and kidney ailments, using a decoction of the young leaves and roots. The extracts have been commercialised as tonics to ease digestion, help food assimilation and for toning and improving liver functions. It is also used to treat jaundice, diarrhoea, and STD. The plant gained worldwide recognition in the 1980’s as having anti-viral effect against Hepatitis B. It has similar beneficial effects as green tea to combat stress and pollutants. The plant is now recognised for its anti-tumour ans anti-viral properties.
3. White Kyllinga (Rumput Kyllinga Putih, Shui Wu Gong, Cyperus kyllingia)
This grass-like medicinal weed is known as a sedge of the Cyperaceae family. It is quite a tenacious weed that seems to grow in some unlikely places in your garden. It has a characteristic three-sided erect stem about 5-10 cm tall with three thin longish grass-like leaves. Atop this crown of three leaves sits the whitish flower ball.
4. Mimosa (Touch-Me-Not, Mimosa pudica L.)
This medicinal weed appears to be able grow well in any soil or light condition in the wild. In the garden it will take root in pots, on the open ground, under shady plants or in full sunlight. It is sensitive to touch (“thigmotropism”) or sudden movement believed to be a defensive trait to deter herbivores or possibly shake off insects. This stimuli may be transmitted to neighbouring leaves (” seismonastic movements”). The leaves also close during low light or night-time andre-open when bright (“nyctinastic movement”). The young plant may grow erect but soon droop and creep along the ground with age. It is prickly with unique woolly pink flowers.
It has a bitter and astringent taste and in Ayurveda, it is used for diarrhea (athisaara), Amoebic dysentery (raktaatisaara), gynecological disorders, skin diseases, bronchitis, general weakness and impotence. Most commonly used is the root, but leaves, flowers, bark, and fruit can also be used. (ref: http://mahmoodsgarden.com/references/plant-files/mimosa-pudica/ )
5. Sessile Joyweed (False Daisy, Creeping Chaffweed, Carpet Weed, Keremak, Alternanthera sessilis L.)
There are green and red varieties of this medicinal weed that grow well in damp shady areas. The red one is now quite popular and can be bought from wet markets. It is used to treat the heart and circulatory system. It is also used to nourish the kidneys and liver.
The plant has anti-virus and anti-bacteria properties. It is rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin C and is eaten as ulam. It is used to treat indigestion and fever, to promote bile secretion and induce milk secretion. The leaf poultice is applied on acne, pimples, carbuncle, conjunctivitis, sprains, burns and eczema.
6. Tiny-leafed Creeper, Big-leafed Creeper (Ara Tanah, Susu Nabi, Susu Kambing, Keremak Susu, Xiao Fei Yang, Dai Fei Yang, Euphurbia hirta L.)
The Tiny-leafed Creeper is a medicinal weed that grows mainly on old concrete walls and stone road surfaces as well as around the crevices of stones and rocks. The Big-leafed Creeper is the more common one found in many gardens among crevices. It belongs to the rubber family and the plant contains milky sap or latex.
Both the Tiny-leafed and Big-leafed Creepers are used to treat skin diseases such as itchiness, eczema, blistered skin, skin infection and shingles. The preparation involves boiling the creeper in water and using the solution to bathe the affected part. A small portion of the plant is crushed for its “milk” to apply on the affected part after washing it with the solution. Use about 15-30 grams of the plant to boil in water to drink. The whole plant is boiled for the tonic to treat bronchitis, asthma, cough and throat spasms. Be careful when extracting the “milk” as it is harmful to the eyes. Be warned too that prolonged and regular contact with the sap is carcinogenic.
7. Common Passion Flower (Passion Vine Stinking Passion Flower, Timun Dendang, Passiflora foetida Linn)
This is a fairly common wild creeper found in many gardens. According to Wikipedia, there are over 500 species belonging to the family Passifloraceae. When I researched this ceeper which is growing wild in my garden, I was overwhelmed by the tremendous varieties of this flowery vine. It took a while to find a match and hence identify my flower, but even then there seems to be a few variations in the shape of the leaves. While the literature mentioned that the whole plant has an unpleasant smell, I did not notice any stink from my plant. Even the crushed leaf gave a not-too-unpleasant smell.
The shoots of this medicinal weed can be cooked and eaten, while the fruit is very sweet.
“The plant is reported to be used in Malaya to cure itches. The leaves are applied to the head for giddiness and headache and a decoction is given in biliousness and asthama. ” (ref: http://www.treknature.com/gallery/Asia/India/photo138500.htm)
“Passion flower has been used to treat sleep disorders and historically in homeopathic medicine to treat pain, insomnia related to neurasthenia or hysteria, and nervous exhaustion.” (ref: http://www.drugs.com/npp/passion-flower.html)
8. Blue Billy Goat Weed (White Weed, Floss Flower, Rumput Tahi Babi, Ageratum houstonianum L.)
This medicinal weed, on the other hand, deserves its name, Rumput Tahi Babi, as it has a distinctive unpleasant smell. Apparently, this plant’s small flowers have colours ranging from purple to blue to lavender and pink. Mine is light purple. The seeds are small, light with fluffy hairs that are easily dispersed by wind. This weed thrives better in the cooler highlands and seems to be easily diseased in the lowlands, like in my garden.
The leaf poultice is applied and wrapped over cuts, wounds and boils. The juice extracted from the stem is dripped into an inflamed ear to treat the infection. Tea made from dried young shoots and leaves is used as a remedy for malaria, excessive menstrual bleeding, uterine disorder. This plant is also used as a contraceptive.
9. Sword Fern (Boston Fern, Ladder Fern. Nephrolepidaceae Family)
There is a very good chance that your garden may have at least one fern growing wild in a quiet corner or crack in the wall or on the trunk of one of your trees. I counted seven different types of ferns growing wild in my garden. Ferns are ubiquitous wild plants that spread by spores, since they do not flower and hence do not have seeds. It was quite a task to identify my fern which I at first thought was Goniophlebium percussum but I have now decided it belongs to the Nephrolepidaceae Family, since it exhibits the family’s characteristic of upright (erect) fonds. (When Boston Ferns are grown in hanging pots, the fonds hang down gracefully). The spores are also aligned closer to the edges of the leaves whereas the Goniophlebium’s spores are closer to the mid-rib of the leaf. What I am still uncertain about is whether my fern is Nephrolepis exaltata, Nephrolepis acutifolio, Nephrolepis biserrata, Nephrolepis cordifolio or Nephrolepis hirsutula.
To add to the confusion, “Some authorities place Nephrolepis in the family Davalliaceae (Davallia family), others in the Polypodiaceae (polypody family), and still others in the Oleandraceae (ladder fern family).” (ref: http://www.floridata.com/ref/n/neph_exa.cfm ).
The medicinal weed, Nephrolepis is used to treat general disorder of the liver system (Nephrolepis cordifolio ), general skin disorders such as blisters, boils, abscesses and sores (Nephrolepis cordifolio, Nephrolepis biserrata), renal disorders ( Nephrolepis cordifolio) and menstrual disorders (Nephrolepis exaltata). (ref: http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/moorea/ethnopteridology.html ). It is considered Considered antibacterial, antitussive, styptic, antifungal. (ref: http://stuartxchange.com/Bayabang.html ).
Also check out these scientific papers:
10. Congo Jute ( Sar Boh Chau, Pulut-pulut, Urena lobata L.)
I’ve saved the best for last, simply because I have written a “first-person” (on behalf of my mum-in-law) account of this miracle medicinal weed in www.free2cure.com
This wild plant has seeds like tiny prickly hedgehogs that cling to your clothings when you brush against it. It is a very hardy plant that grows well in bright sunlight and poor soil up to about 2 metres. The flowers are either pink or white, although it is believed that plant with white flowers has greater efficacy in the treatment of chronic renal failure.
The stems are cut in small pieces of about 3-4 cm each and dried for easier storage. Use about 5-6 pieces at a time to make soup or tea for the patient to drink. For details, go to www.free2cure.com
This plant is credited with saving my mum-in-law’s life when she was stricken by chronic renal failure at the age of 68, and the doctors had given up on her. We were told to prepare for the inevitable but then a kind soul told us about this plant. In a no-choice situation, we tried it and she recovered and went on to live a healthy life until the ripe old age of 89, when she passed away because of old age and not because of kidney failure.
The extract of the leaves and roots is also claimed to be used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, gonorrhoea and malaria fever. A decoction of the leaves and roots drunk as a tea will relieve body aches caused by over exertion. An infusion of the roots is presecribed for difficult childbirth while a poultice of the leaves is used to treat wounds and skin diseases. In some places, the plant is mashed and and used to treat fractures, wounds and snake bites. The leaves and stems are used as a diuretic ( I guess this is the case of the treatment for my mum-in-law), while a decoction of the seeds is used to treat worms.
OK, there you have it. An overview of 10 medicinal weeds or wild plants commonly found in many gardens. Love ’em, for they may well come in handy to save you or a loved one. And if any of these weeds work for you, please write a first-person testimony in Free2Cure ( www.free2cure.com ) to help others.
If you find the above article interesting, you may also want to read ” 17 Amazing Houseplants that Clean the Air ” at https://www.tipsbulletin.com/plants-that-clean-the-air/
Disclaimer: This article is purely for information only. Use at your own risk.