Kulakteng for Vigor!

Funny sounding herb name, but it's a super one. Kulakteng is the young, fresh sprout of the ampalaya (bitter gourd or bitter melon) plant. Ordinary ampalaya leaves are good for health--and even for your blood sugar level--but its fresh, young sprout is even better, said old folks. They told us young people to eat kulakteng for vigor.

You may mix kulakteng with sauteed mongo beans, or simply sautee it in garlic, onions, and soy. It definitely tastes more bitter than ordinary amplaya leaves, and that's where the power of this Philippine herb comes from, old folks said. The more bitter, the better.

Bitter herbs are especially good for tummy or digestion troubles. If you have a weak stomach, kulakteng for vigor is the answer. Eat it once or twice a week. It's easy to cook and ready available in any Philippine wet market. Better yet, plant one. It's easy to grow. My borther-in-law has one in his plant box and he's been eating kulakteng leaves fresh, straight from it.

My grandma used it as herbal treatment for asthma, particularly to flush out phlegm from the lungs. When my cousins were young, she would get fresh kulakteng from our backyard, crash it, squeeze the juice out, and made my poor kid cousins drink the squeezed nectar. Of course, that made them vomit phlegm. What little kulakteng juice managed to slip into their systems made their bodies stronger to fight colds and coughs.

I was never made to drink the awful concoction by my Lola when I was a kid, but I tried it one day. Man, it was super bitter! Then I understood its power. Today, I like eating kulakteng and ordinary ampalaya leaves in sauteed mongo beans. It made you stronger, especially in times you lacked sleep. It's recommended for people with blood problems. Oh, and eat the soft tentacles as well.

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