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Jul 26, 2010

Useful Plants At The Farm- Mulberry Tree

The mulberry tree (morus alba; pokok daun ulat sutera; chinese: sang shu ) has a long history ( 3000 years ) of medicinal use in China, Korea and Japan.

Sinseh Soon from Raub came to the farm for a 'look-see' and told us about the medicinal uses of the tree, under which he was resting.

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Sinseh Soon and farm director, Pak Cik Razaly seen here talking about the uses of the mulberry tree under its leafy shade.
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Used as a shade tree for chickens.
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Easy to propagate, just stick a cutting into some soil.
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Boil the leaves ( sang ye ) for 20 mins for a 'cooling' tea.  Boil with  goji berries ( go to the Chinese herbal store and ask for kei ji ) to improve eye sight.  Boil with Chinese red dates to detoxify kidneys and to promote urination.

The bark ( sang bai pi ) is used to strengthen the lungs and to relieve nasal congestion.  To make:
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Scrape off the thin outer layer
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Pound it and strip it off
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Ready to use.  Dry well to store.  Boil and reduce by 50% before drinking.

The wood ( sang zhi ) of the stripped branches is used to relieve bodily aches and pains.
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Dry the wood to store.
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Pound and boil to reduce by 50% and drink twice a day to relieve bodily aches and pains.
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The roots can be boiled and reduced by 50% to relieve gout and to relieve 'masuk angin' pains such as rheumatism.

Olden days, families used to boil the roots or twigs with poultry meat for a health promoting soup.  Olden days, food is prepared and consumed according to health requirements - to balance yin and yang, to 'warm' the body during cold months, to improve blood flow, to enhance 'qi', etc.  Rainy humid seasons will have their food, dry hot seasons, theirs.

Food now is looked at differently.   It is no longer to promote health and to strengthen one's body.  It is to satisfy appetite and taste-buds. 

Jul 17, 2010

Malaysia's Best

Auditors from FAMA ( Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority ) came to see if we are deserving of the government export quality mark, '1 Malaysia Best'.
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Hopefully we will get the certification.  If so, American readers of this blog may soon find our durians sold in the USA with this mark:
We are planning to air-freight them to the US with the support of FAMA to be sold in a chain of raw-food and organic fruits store. These will be certified organic, tree-ripened, chilled fruits.   Will announce details when plans materialise.

Jul 16, 2010

Emerald Doves came visiting

There was a flutter and a flash of iridescent green darting up from the ground towards some thick low branches.  I thought I saw a pair of pigeon.

I approached the branches slowly and they darted off again to a clump of kantan and then were gone.

I knew then that they were a pair of punai tanah or Emerald Dove (chalcophaps indica indica).  They were flighty, as are most first timers (birds I mean) to the farm.  Nonetheless it is great that this pair of young adults have come down from the rainforest to the farm.  Hopefully they will nest here.

Emerald doves in Malaysia are shy and flighty, possibly due to over hunting.  It is an honour that this pair feel secure enough to visit us.

Here's a photo I downloaded from Lip Kee's photostream at Flickr.

emerald pigeon.jpg

Readers, should you decide to use this picture, please accept the terms of use at Lip Kee's page at Flickr. It is the right thing to do (I have found my pics and writings in odd places without attribution and it is annoying to say the least).

The incident with the pigeons happened so fast, I did not have the chance to get my camera.  In any event without a good telephoto lens I would not be able to capture them.  Time to invest in a 400mm lens at least, I suppose.  That will set me back a few thousand ringgit.  Maybe next year.

Jul 15, 2010

Fungal and Bacterial Preventive, Naturally.

This is what we use as a preventive, especially during rainy weather against bacterial and fungal attacks on our plants (leaves and stems, not roots);

Take 500 grams gelenggang ( cassia alata ) leaves and 400 grams lengkuas rhizomes ( alpinia galanga ) and pound them.

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Mix Well
Then squeeze out active ingredients in 30 liters of water
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After mixing and squeezing well in 30 liters of water, filter, then spray immediately without dilution.  Remember, use immediately.

We find the spray effective as a prevention against most fungal and bacterial infections on stems and leaves.  Spray regularly but lightly (sparingly) twice a week.  During bad weather or where there are early signs of disease, spray once a day sparingly (lightly) until disease is arrested. It is not effective if disease is well on its way.

Note however that no amount of spraying is going to help you if your soil is unhealthy, your plant is from weak seeds, and your plant is generally weak from lack of nutrients.