Botanical name: Abelmoschus ficulneus Family: Malvaceae Genus: Abelmoschus Species: A. ficulneu Kingdom: Plantae Order: Malvales Synonyms:Hibiscus ficulneus Common name: White Wild Musk Mallow, Native rosella • Hindi: Jangli bhindi • Marathi: Ran bhendi • Tamil: Kattu-vendai • Telugu: Nella benda, Parupubenda
Habitat :Abelmoschus ficulneus occurs in tropical Africa (including Madagascar), Asia and Australia. In tropical Africa it has a scattered distribution. It occurs mostly in East Africa from Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia southward to Zambia and Mozambique. In West and Central Africa it is reported for Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad. Abelmoschus ficulneus occurs from near sea level up to 1350 m altitude in areas with a pronounced dry season, usually in grassland, bushland, fallows or as a weed in cultivated land. It also occurs in water-logged soils near rivers.
Annual herb up to 2 m tall; stem thick, glabrous to densely glandular pubescent. Leaves alternate, simple stellate hairy; stipules linear or filiform, 5–12 mm long, hirsute; petiole 2–21 cm long, hairy; blade orbicular, deeply 3–5-lobed, up to 16 cm × 16 cm, cordate at base, lobes subacute to broadly rounded, margin serrate, scabrous on both sides. Flowers bisexual, regular, solitary in leaf axils or in a terminal raceme; pedicel 0.5–2.0(–2.5) cm long, expanded and cup-shaped apically; epicalyx bracts 5–6, linear to lanceolate, up to 12 mm × 2 mm, rough, caducous before expansion of corolla; calyx 17–23 mm long, 5-toothed, tomentellous; petals 5, obovate, 2–3.5 cm × 1.5–3 cm, uniformly white, turning pink; stamens many, filaments united in a column 1–1.5 cm long, glabrous; ovary superior, 5-celled. Fruit an ellipsoid capsule 3–4 cm × 1.5–2 cm, puberulous to pubescent; valves acute to aristate with up to 3 mm long awns. Seeds globose, 3–4 mm in diameter, black, with concentric lines, glabrous or with stellate or long crisped hairs.
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Abelmoschus comprises about 6 species in Africa, Asia and Australia. It was previously included within Hibiscus. Species delimitation within the genus is based on number, dimensions and persistence of the involucral bracts, indumentum traits, and shape and dimensions of capsules. Abelmoschus ficulneus is possibly one of the parental species of the important vegetable Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench., the other being Abelmoschus tuberculatus Pal & H.B.Singh. Abelmoschus ficulneus is sometimes confused with Abelmoschus esculentus.
Fibre bundles in transverse section are squarish to radially elongated, widely spaced with cells compactly arranged. Reports on the quality of the fibre of Abelmoschus ficulneus from India are contradictory.
Per 100 g dry matter the seed contains 14 g fat and 20–25 g protein. The main fatty acids in the seed oil are: palmitic acid 27–32%, oleic acid 23–32% and linoleic acid 10–42%. The oil also contains malvalic acid and sterculic acid, which are known to cause abnormal physiological reactions in animals. The essential amino acid composition of the seed protein is: lysine 7.1%, methionine 2.8%, phenylalanine 6.8%, threonine 2.8%, valine 5.9%, leucine 6.5% and isoleucine 3.4%. Fruits are rich in vitamin C, with a content of 38 mg per 100 g fresh material.
Leaves crushed with salted water are used in Indonesia against diarrhoea. In India a decoction of the crushed fresh root is taken to treat calcium deficiency. In case of a scorpion bite, the root is crushed in a glass of water and drunk, while root paste is applied on the area of the sting.
The stem yields a white fibre used for twine and light cordage. The green stem produces a mucilaginous extract which is an efficient clarifier of sugar-cane syrup. In Egypt the plant is cultivated as a vegetable. The fruits are edible, and in Sudan both the fruits and the leaves are eaten in times of food scarcity. The seeds are used in Arabia to improve the taste of coffee.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Habitat: S.E. Asia -Native to India. Himalayas to China and Vietnam. Open places in Nepal at elevations of 600 – 1100 metres. Flat areas, valleys, stream sides and scrub slopes in western and southern China.
Perennial growing to 2m by 1m at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October.
The seeds have a sweet, flowery, heavy fragrance similar to that of musk. (hence its specific epithet mosch?tus, scientific Latin for ‘musk’). Despite its tropical origin the plant is frost hardy. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Despite its tropical origin, the plant is frost-hardy.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.
Easily grown in a rich well-drained soil in a sunny position. Tolerates a pH in the range 6 to 7.8. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -5°c and can be grown outdoors in the milder areas of the country. The plant grows as a shrub in frost-free climates but is usually cut back to the ground in British winters. So long as these winters are not too cold, however, it can usually be grown as a herbaceous perennial with new shoots being produced freely from the root-stock. These flower in the summer. It is probably wise to apply a good mulch to the roots in the autumn. It is best to cut back the stems to about 15cm long in the spring even if they have not been killed back by the frost. This will ensure an abundance of new growth and plenty of flowers in the summer. The musk mallow is widely cultivated in tropical climates for its many uses. There is at least one named form, selected for its ornamental value. ‘Mischief’ is somewhat smaller than the species, reaching a height of 50cm.
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best at a temperature around 24 – 24°c. When large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of rich soil and plant them out after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in situ in late April in areas with warm summers. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July in a frame
Young leaves and shoots – cooked in soups. Used as a vegetable. The leaves are also used to clarify sugar. Unripe seedpods – cooked as a vegetable in much the same way as okra (A. esculentus). Seed – cooked. It is fried or roasted and has a flavour similar to sesame seeds. The seed is also used as a flavouring for liqueurs or to scent coffee. An essential oil is obtained from the plant and is used to flavour baked goods, ice cream, sweets and soft drinks. Root. No more details are given, though the root is likely to have a bland flavour and a fibrous texture.
An emulsion made from the seed is antispasmodic and is especially effective in the digestive system. The seeds are also chewed as a nervine, stomachic and to sweeten the breath. They are also said to be aphrodisiac. The seeds are valued medicinally for their diuretic, demulcent and stomachic properties. They are also said to be stimulant, antiseptic, cooling, tonic, carminative and aphrodisiac. A paste of the bark is applied to cuts, wounds and sprains. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety. It is also applied externally to treat cramp, poor circulation and aching joints
It is used externally to relieve spasms of the digestive tract, cramp, poor circulation and aching joints. It is also considered an insecticide and an aphrodisiac.
Essential; Fibre; Insecticide; Oil; Size.
An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It is used as a food flavouring and in perfumery as a musk substitute. However, it has been known to cause photosensitivity so this use has been largely discontinued. An oil obtained from the seed contains 18.9% linoleic acid. The oil is f high econmic value. Total yields of oil are not given. The seeds are used as an insecticide. Another report says that extracts of the fruits and upper parts of the plant show insecticidal activity. A fibre is obtained from the stem bark. It is used to make ropes. A mucilage obtained from the roots is used as a size for paper
In industry the root mucilage provides sizing for paper; tobacco is sometimes flavoured with the flowers. Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Okra, Okro, Ochro, Okoro, Quimgombo (Cuba), Quingumbo, Ladies Fingers,gombo, quingombo, Gombo, Kopi Arab, Kacang Bendi, Bhindi (S. Asia), Bendi (Malaysia), Bamia, Bamya or Bamieh (middle east), Gumbo (Southern USA), Quiabo, Quiabos (Portugal and Angola), okura (Japan), qiu kui (Taiwan),in India it is bhindi,eastern Mediterranean and Arab countries bamies.
Parts Used: Immature pods
Etymology, origin and distribution
The name “okra” is of West African origin . In various Bantu languages, okra is called “kingombo” or a variant thereof, and this is the origin of its name in Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French. The Arabic “bemyah” is the basis of the names in the Middle East, the Balkans, Turkey, Greece, North Africa and Russia. In Southern Asia, its name is usually a variant of “bhindi” or “vendi.”
The species apparently originated in the Ethiopian Highlands, though the manner of distribution from there is undocumented. The Egyptians and Moors of the 12th and 13th centuries used the Arab word for the plant, suggesting that it had come from the east. The plant may thus have been taken across the Red Sea or the Bab-el-Mandeb strait to the Arabian Peninsula, rather than north across the Sahara. One of the earliest accounts is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216, who described the plant under cultivation by the locals who ate the tender, young pods with meal.
From Arabia, the plant spread around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and eastward. The lack of a word for okra in the ancient languages of India suggests that it arrived there in the Common Era. The plant was introduced to the Americas by ships plying the Atlantic slave trade by 1658, when its presence was recorded in Brazil. It was further documented in Suriname in 1686. Okra may have been introduced to the southeastern North America in the early 18th century and gradually spread. It was being grown as far north as Philadelphia by 1748, while Thomas Jefferson noted that it was well established in Virginia by 1781. It was commonplace throughout the southern United States by 1800 and the first mention of different cultivars was in 1806
Okra is a member of the Mallow family, related to cotton, hibiscus and hollyhock. It has heart shaped leaves (one species is cultivated for its edible leaves), and large, yellow, hibiscus-like flowers.
The species is an annual or perennial, growing to 2 m tall. The leaves are 10–20 cm long and broad, palmately lobed with 5–7 lobes. The flowers are 4–8 cm diameter, with five white to yellow petals, often with a red or purple spot at the base of each petal. The fruit is a capsule up to 18 cm long, containing numerous seeds.
It is a tall-growing, warm-season, annual vegetable from the same family as hollyhock, rose of Sharon and hibiscus. The pods, when cut, exude a mucilaginous juice that is used to thicken stews (gumbo), and have a flavor somewhat like a cross between asparagus and eggplant.
Abelmoschus esculentus is among the most heat- and drought-tolerant vegetable species in the world. It will tolerate poor soils with heavy clay and intermittent moisture. Severe frost can damage the pods.
It is an annual crop in the southern United States.
Recommended Varieties :
Annie Oakley (hybrid; 52 days to harvest; compact plant; extra tender pods)
Dwarf Green Long Pod (52 days; ribbed pods)
Clemson Spineless (56 days; AAS winner)
In cultivation, the seeds are soaked overnight prior to planting to a depth of 1-2 cm. Germination occurs between six days (soaked seeds) and three weeks. Seedlings require ample water. The seed pods rapidly become fibrous and woody and must be harvested within a week of the fruit being pollinated to be edible.
The products of the plant are mucilaginous, resulting in the characteristic “goo” when the seed pods are cooked. In order to avoid this effect, okra pods are often stir fried, so the moisture is cooked away, or paired with slightly acidic ingredients, such as citrus or tomatoes. The cooked leaves are also a powerful soup thickener.
Based on the rising experiences with its country cousin, kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), okra could, at least in principle, have a future producing yet more things that are strange for a vegetable crop, including:
*Construction materials: Kenaf-blend panels are said to perform better than the present particleboard.
*Handicrafts: Kenaf fiber makes excellent mats, hats, baskets, and more.
*Forage: Chopping up the whole kenaf plant and feeding it to animals has proven successful.
*Fuel: Kenaf roots and stems burn fiercely.
Abelmoschus esculentus is cultivated throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world for its fibrous fruits or pods containing round, white seeds. The fruits are harvested when immature and eaten as a vegetable.
The immature pods are used for soups, canning and stews or as a fried or boiled vegetable. The hibiscus like flowers and upright plant (3 to 6 feet or more in height) have ornamental value for backyard gardens.
A traditional food plant in Africa, this little-known vegetable has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.
In Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen, and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean, okra is widely used in a thick stew made with vegetables and meat. In Indian cooking, it is sauteed or added to gravy-based preparations and is very popular in South India. In Caribbean islands okra is cooked up and eaten as soup, often with fish. In Haiti, it is cooked with rice and maize; it is also used as a sauce for meat. It became a popular vegetable in Japanese cuisine toward the end of the 20th century, served with soy sauce and katsuobushi or as tempura. It is used as a thickening agent in gumbo. Breaded, deep fried okra is served in the southern United States. The immature pods may also be pickled.
Okra leaves may be cooked in a similar manner as the greens of beets or dandelions. The leaves are also eaten raw in salads. Okra seeds may be roasted and ground to form a non-caffeinated substitute for coffee. As imports were disrupted by the American Civil War in 1861, the Austin State Gazette noted, “An acre of okra will produce seed enough to furnish a plantation of fifty negroes with coffee in every way equal to that imported from Rio.
Okra forms part of several regional “signature” dishes. Frango com quiabo (chicken with okra) is a Brazilian dish that is especially famous in the region of Minas Gerais. Gumbo, a hearty stew whose key ingredient is okra, is found throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States and in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The word “gumbo” is based on the Central Bantu word for okra, “kigombo”, via the Caribbean Spanish “guingambó” or “quimbombó”. It is also an expected ingredient in callaloo, a Caribbean dish and the national dish of Trinidad & Tobago. Okra is also enjoyed in Nigeria where okra soup (Draw soup) is a special delicacy with Garri(eba) or akpu.
In Vietnam, okra is the important ingredient in the dish canh chua.
Mature okra is used to make rope and paper! (Avoid those old woody pods!).
Medicinal Uses: Nutrition:
Okra is a good source of vitamin C and A, also B complex vitamins, iron and calcium. It is low in calories, a good source of dietary fiber, and is fat-free.
Okra oil is a pressed seed oil, extracted from the seeds of the okra. The greenish yellow edible oil has a pleasant taste and odor, and is high in unsaturated fats such as oleic acid and linoleic acid. The oil content of the seed is quite high at about 40%. Oil yields from okra crops are also high. At 794 kg/ha, the yield was exceeded only by that of sunflower oil in one trial.
Unspecified parts of the plant reportedly possess diuretic properties.
Contains male contraceptive gossypol.
According to Sylvia W. Zook, Ph.D. (nutritionist) Okra has several benefits.
1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
2. Okra’s mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most unlike the OTC drugs.
4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel.
8. In India, okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
To retain most of okra’s nutrients and self-digesting enzymes, it should be cooked as little as possible, e.g. with low heat or lightly steamed. Some eat it raw.
Acid Reflux and Constipation
A person, suffering from constipation for the past 20 years and recently from acid reflux, started eating 6 pieces of Okra. Since then, has not taken any other medication. Now, his blood sugar has dropped from 135 to 98 and his cholesterol and acid reflux are also under control.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This anti-inflammatory activity may curtail the development of asthma symptoms. A large preliminary study has shown that young children with asthma experience significantly less wheezing if they eat a diet high in fruits rich in vitamin C. 1/2 cup of cooked Okra contains over 13 mg of vitamin C.
Diets high in insoluble fiber, such as those containing okra, are associated with protection against heart disease in both men and women.
The insoluble fiber found in Okra helps to keep the intestinal tract healthy, decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer, especially colo-rectal cancer.
Eating plenty of flavonoid and vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables such as okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
1/2 cup of cooked okra contains 460 IU of vitamin A. Some studies have reported that eating more foods rich in beta-carotene or vitamin A was associated with a lower risk of cataracts.
A study (JAMA July 23, 2003) showed that consuming a “dietary portfolio” of vegetarian foods lowered cholesterol nearly as well as the prescription drug lovastatin (Mevacor). The diet was rich in soluble fiber from oats, barley, psyllium, eggplant and okra. It used soy substitutes instead of meat and milk and included almonds and cholesterol-lowering margarine (such as Take Control) every day.
Depression and Lack of Energy
Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
A controlled trial showed that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables containing folic acid, beta-carotene, and vitamin C effectively lowered homocysteine levels. Healthy people were assigned to either a diet containing a pound of fruits and vegetables per day, or to a diet containing 3 1/2 ounces (99g) of fruits and vegetables per day. After four weeks, those eating the higher amount of fruits and vegetables had an 11 percent lower homocysteine level compared to those eating the lower amount of fruits and vegetables. Okra is a storehouse of vitamins and folic acid.
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
In one survey, researchers gathered information from nearly 400 people (half with MS) over three years. They found that consumption of vegetable protein, fruit juice, and foods rich in vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium correlated with a decreased MS risk.
Known Hazards : The hairs on the seed pods can be an irritant to some people and gloves should be worn when harvesting. These hairs can be easily removed by washing.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.