Katuk also known as Sauropus androgynous, Cinnamon Leaves, and Tropical Asparagus, also Chekkurmenis, Sweet Leaf Bush, Japanese Malungay, and Changkok Manis is a plant that loves humid climates and somewhat shady areas and katuk is a good source of protein.
Where it Grows – Katuk grows in India, Java, Malaysia, Indonesia and other places in Asia. Plus Australia and other tropical regions of the world including Florida, some areas of the Gulf Coast of the US, and Hawaii.
Growing – Katuk is a perennial plant that loves some shade and enjoys being in light shade under trees and likes humidity and lots of water. And katuk doesn’t have any pests that bother this wonderful plant. And Katuk likes being cut back, and doesn’t do well just growing wild, so cut it back often… I’ve seen it grow an inch a day. Katuk grows to be 6 to 12 feet tall with oval leaves and is very prolific and can be propagated with stem cuttings and from seeds. The leaves are green and oval in shape and it also produces small yellow to reddish flowers in the spring.
Great Survival Food – Katuk is a good survival food because it does grow fast and doesn’t need much attention.
Lots of Protein – Katuk contains almost 10% protein which is amazing as far as plant proteins go. Most other plants only contain about 5 or 6% protein, so katuk is wonderful when it comes to protein.
Calcium and Phosphorus – Katuk is a natural source of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones thus helping to prevent osteoporosis. Katuk contains more calcium than milk and more phosphorus than soybeans making it great for osteoporosis.
Potassium – Katuk contains more potassium than found in bananas, and potassium is very important for cardiovascular health and water regulation.
Boosts Natural Steroid Compounds – This plant also contains compounds that boost up production of natural hormones such as testosterone, progesterone, glucocorticoids, and eikosanoid agents such as estradiol, thromboxane, and prostacyclin. Thus katuk can stimulate sexual performance and also increase sperm production in men.
Antioxidants – Katuk contains Vitamins A and C which are powerful antioxidants which help to prevent and repair free radical damage to our DNA. In fact 100 grams of katuk contains over 10,000 micrograms of betacarotene which is amazing.
Lots of Chlorophyll – Katuk contains a lot of chlorophyll making it very important for detoxing the body, repairing our DNA, removing heavy metals, fighting off cancer, and for helping with anemia and inflammation.
B – Vitamins – Katuk contains lots of great B-Vitamins which are important for good mood and vitality.
Boosts Milk Production – Katuk leaves also contain compounds that increase breast milk production.
Used as Food for Thousands of Years – Katuk has been consumed for thousands of years in small amounts in the raw form in salads in the orient. But there are those who always go to extremes and this can cause problems. And I have found lots of other people around the world use katuk leaves in salads and love them and have no problems using them in moderation. So if katuk leaves are to be consumed raw always eat them in moderation.
Boil to Be Sure – Katuk leaves like other types of plants contains toxins that can cause side effects if not boiled. The leaves should be boiled for 10 to 15 minutes to remove toxins like cassava leaves which are also edible. Katuk contains the toxin (papaverine) which is eliminated with boiling. Remember kidney beans also contains toxins which disappear with cooking. Raw katuk leaves can cause lung problems, insomnia, and other health challenges… thus boiling kutak is recommended. Also as with all things katuk should not be used by those who are pregnant, nursing, or given to small children.
Finding – Katuk plants can be found on-line and at some garden stores, just Google “Buy Katuk Plant” and lots of places will come up including Amazon. And the seeds can also be found on-line… but seeds can take up to 6 months to germinate.
Recipes – There area a slew of great recipes for katuk on the internet including some nice salads, stir fries, casseroles, soups, stews and much more. I have katuk growing in my garden, and I eat katuk raw in small amounts and have not seen any problems what so ever. And katuk tastes great, it tastes like a cross between peanuts and spinach – very interesting. But a person should cook katuk just to be on the safe side if they have concerns.
So try some Katuk and savor the flavors of the orient. And enjoy a perennial plant that doesn’t need much attention and works well as a great survival food, plus it tastes great.
Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist
Feel Free to Share – This information is meant to get you started… so you can do more research on your own… dig a little deeper and find what works for you. This article is for educational purposes only, I strongly recommend that you seek advice from your own GP, private doctor, or medical specialist for any ailment, illness, or medical condition.. this article not meant to be a scientific analysis in any way, shape, or form.
Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist and Spiritual Teacher for over 25 years, helping people to recover and feel healthy. You can also find Dr. Haider on FB under Dr. Paul Haider, Healing Herbs, and at www.paulhaider.com – feel free to connect with him any time.
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