Jun 20, 2012
Lemba or curculigo latifolia is native to Malaysia. We grow them at the farm to preserve them.
It has tiny, bright yellow flowers
They have fibers that can be used to make ropes and textiles.
A rope made from the fibre. Strong enough for farm use.
The Ibans use the fibre to make a textile called 'pua'
And most importantly, they have a taste-modifying protein which changes plain water and sour drinks to sweet. Japanese researchers have patented the protein.
Bunch of lemba fruits
The tiny taste-modifying fruits
Foreign researchers coming into Malaysia should be required to sign an agreement to share patent-rights and commercial benefits with the people of Malaysia as represented by the Government.
It is ridiculous and maddening to hear foreign researchers write that they have discovered that the plant can modify the taste of sour drinks to sweet when it is most likely the case that the local people told them about the plant and it is something the local people have known for generations.
We have numerous emails, some frenetic, wanting this herb and that herb etc. from researchers local and foreign. I am sorry, I won't even bother to answer your email unless at the outset you declare that all research findings, etc will be shared, and in the event of patents, commercial profits, etc., to be share with an institution of our choosing.
Feb 28, 2009
The young green unripe limau nipis,(Citrus Aurantifolia), or key lime, is the most aromatic fruit you will ever taste. We kid you not!!
But you need to first eat one of the berries from this bush - the Miracle Berry bush. Otherwise the extreme sourness of the limau will shut down all your other senses and you will not be able to experience the aroma. After you chew on the berry, the sourness of the limau is ‘smothered’ by sweetness. The limau becomes so delicious you want to finish off the whole fruit and you have to remind yourself what’s happening to avoid a major tummy upset later on.
The Miracle Berry Bush
The miracle berry is a bush from West Africa (Synsepalum dulcificum or Richadella dulcifica).
The active ingredient is called Miraculin, which in itself is not sweet, but the tongue, once exposed to miraculin, perceives sour foods such as citrus as sweet for up to a couple of hours afterwards.
If you chew on the fruit of the lemba or curculi latifolia, plain water and any sour drink will taste sweet. The lemba is found in wet areas of the jungle and we can find them in the jungle next to our farm. The leaves can be used to make ropes and for wrapping things.
There's a patent in the USA (Patent 5378489 ) for the use of the active ingredient, curculin, as a form of sweetener by a team of Japanese scientists.
Don't you think we Malaysians should be ashamed of ourselves for not recognising the value of plants that's growing literally right outside our doorsteps?