Klabo Herb

We call this plant klabo and sometimes oregano. The search engines however were suggesting the word kalabo instead. Maybe it is the term in other places. Whatever!

fresh klabo leaves

The term oregano brought me confusion when I was working for university as Research and Development Staff. When my colleague talked about it, I was thinking of broad and thick leaf stuff. Hairy appearance. Strong and slightly disagreeable odor that gets stronger once crushed. When I looked at it, what I saw were plants with numerous small leaves. Thin and tiny leaves, about 1/10 of what I expected.

According to nursery in-charge, the herb primary use is in culinary. Several months later, I was seeing the very herb in some specialty restaurants. They were literally placing the fresh herb on top of drinks and variety of dishes. Generally not acceptable to me when eaten as is. It adds excitement to other foods however.

Drying the leaves is pretty easy. You can find it in supermarkets and online shops. Not in small groceries though. The plant is easy reproduce and grow. If you have a small space and loves gardening, buying and growing the plant is a better option. Fresh is better than dried. Drying process drives away considerable flavors.

For this article sake, let us call this klabo, Coleus amboinicus Lour. The other with numerous tiny leaves as “oregano”, Origanum vulgare.

Klabo/Kalabo

The plant has been a part of my life since childhood. Whenever someone in the house caught a cold and cough, mother was immediately picking some leaves. Brought them to boil, then make us drink it. Not only that, anyone who had fever was not allowed to bath with plain water. Boiled klabo and sambong leaves were a must for taking shower. I have not experienced bathing in milk yet. With klabo solution, I got countless.

How can I forget its odor. Mother almost always have it in her front yard. Whenever it dies, which is very unlikely, she is on the hunt for replacement. They still drink its solution whenever someone has cough and colds. Bathing with it was stopped a long time though. As for me, my wife and kids, water therapy is the best solution.

I am cutting on coffee. That was why I resorted to coffee husk and cacao shells lately. Klabo tea for a change.

Note: Tea comes from a tea plant. Other plant leaves (sometimes roots and barks) that are prepared in the same way as tea are also called tea for the purpose of marketing and familiarization.

This was the klabo tea I prepared and drank this morning. I never expected anything good at it. Still as bad tasting as before.

kalabo in hot glass of water

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Preparing A Fresh and Instant Leaf Tea

There are two guyabano trees in front of our office. A microwave oven is available for use. Two available materials for making fresh instant tea.

I am doing the following procedures in preparing tea every morning and whenever I like it. Ohh! Correction, only in office.

1) Get three guyabano leaves.
2) Rinse it shortly under running water.
3) Tear them to halves.
4) Place in big mug.
5) Add water.
6) Heat in oven for four minutes at maximum setting.
7) Take out the mug.
8) Use a fork to push down all leaves to bottom.
9) Let cool for a minute or two and start drinking.

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I would like to remind that this is not for serious people with extreme desire. Microwave energy is known to act on water molecules. However, many articles over the internet are saying that microwave may affect food components. Its effect on guyabano and other tea materials is uncertain.

microwave prepared guyabano leaf tea

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Sampaguita Tea

Honestly, I never thought it’s edible. There was very little information about its edibility around the web. I only got the idea from the author of frannywanny.com – a restaurant experience. They were served with Sampaguita Ice Cream. The ice cream had a strong Sampaguita aroma and tasted like real flower.

sampaguita jasmineLater on, I learned that its scientific name is Jasminum sambac. English common name is Arabian Jasmine, the Maid of Orleans Cultivar. The tagalog name is Sampaguita. I compared it to many pictures available on net and they looked the same.

I read from bpi.gov.ph medicinal plants database that its roots are poisonous. Though they never mentioned the chemical name, potency, symptoms and the lethal dose. I found no similar data somewhere.

Flowers are used for making jasmine tea with other tea as based ingredient, e.g. oolong tea. Flowers are fermented together with oolong to transfer the fragrant aroma.

Essential oil is extracted from flower for fragrant and flavoring purposes – like the ice cream eaten on frannywanny.com

The leaves is used in tea preparations. The idea was mentioned by wisegeek and detailed by ehow. About 1 tsp loose leaves is steep for one to five minutes in 77ÂșC water. Longer time allow extraction of more flavors but not recommended due to too much infusion of polyphenols.

Time to have a taste of Sampaguita tea.

Custom method one. Bring 500 ml water to running boil. Let cool for three minutes. Cut five fresh leaves with scissors and add to hot water. Get ten Sampaguita flowers, five fully open and five buds. Again, add it to hot water, cover, and let stand for five minutes.

cut sampaguita leaves and flowerssampaguita tea with flower 1Custom method two. Same as method one but pound the leaves for few seconds in a mortar and pestle.

crushed sampaguita leavessampaguita tea  leaf and flowerAfter steeping, I discarded the leaves and let the flowers stay in tea. It was a nice ornament. I drank the tea but throw away the flower after.

The two preparations exhibited mild astringent and grassy taste with a fragrant soothing aroma. Very relaxing. Method two resulted to slightly stronger taste and more prominent green color and had few crushed leaves sediments.

Sampaguita was the previous Philippine National Flower.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.