WHO AMONG us is unfamiliar with talong, balasenas, eggplant? Makaba o mabilug? Berde o muradu?
In whatever shape and size it may be harvested, there is much going for the eggplant as recent published studies show. But long before those have been out, barrio folk and the urban poor always had the balasenas paired with either tinapa or tuyu, or even just as the main fare in all their meals---morning, noon, and night time.
I am reminded of a short narrative by Ms. Riza Lim of Orissa Garden of Wellness, where grows a variety of vegetables, root crops, and pamulug for our daily meals. One evening at a relative's party, her niece, noticing that she did not touch any of the tasty, greasy food on the heavily laden dining table, asked her, "Tita Riza, why is your pamangan, pamangan nang kalulu?" The kid was referring to the crispy fried, thinly sliced balasenas. So there already is one misconception regarding the eggplant.
Though the internet is readily available, not too many take time to do extensive readings on the health benefits of backyard vegetables like the eggplant. In brief, allow me to cite here the most salient facts pointed out by German author Dr. Carlos Kozel, who documented his extensive studies in his book, The Science of Natural Healing.
The eggplant, according to Dr. Kozel, is a very nutritious vegetable which contains excellent nutritive substances. Those who suffer from insomia should eat plenty of eggplants, because they induce sleep, aids in speedy recovery from illness, and promotes good health. Sleep is necessary because it is precisely during sleep that poisonous and waste substances are eliminated and that one's body is renewed. Discomfort is eliminated and illnesses are cured.
Eggplant and its juice induce the secretion of urine, expelling poisonous substances from the body.
Diseases like boils, swellings, skin eruptions, abscesses, and ulcers may be treated with mashed eggplants applied as poultices. Such treatment is also done on burns.
In several editions of "Alam Ba News" portion of our weekly radio show BUKAS Bayan, we have also pointed out these significant facts lifted from brochures and write ups given to us for sharing, especially during Nutrition Month (July):
Eggplants and cancer prevention. The presence of phenolic compounds in eggplant makes it a powerful free radical scavenger, with cholorogenic acid showing anti-cancer and antimicrobial effects. The eggplant, among other vegetables, has one of the highest concentrations of phenolic compounds.
In support to Dr. Kozel's studies on the eggplant, even researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that it is a rich source of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi.
Relative to Dr. Kozel's recommendation to using eggplant as mashed poultice is this finding also on the eggplant in connection with wound healing.
The nasunin [sourced from the skin of eggplant] is able to induce a process called angiogenesis, a physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. Angiogenesis is vital to growth and development and is useful in wound healing.
Anta lawen yu na. Anya pin ding minunang tau, lalu na ring memaryu, asno kalawut king sakit. Mismu ing pupulan makapatulug king bale-balayan iyang sangkap ning bie ating kanauan.
The eggplant, for all its year-round availability, must be given more than a casual glance, no matter the shape and color. After all, we have just rediscovered its high value that it is not pamangan pakakalulu, rather it is a must-have on every dining table no matter the stature in society.