Leaf of Life

It pays to have Leaf of Life in your garden. Under almost any circumstances, the plant pictured above will propagate itself leaving little to no work for the grower. This is one of the many reasons Leaf of Life is hailed as a miracle plant.  Leaf of Life, as it is called in Jamaica, also goes by Bryophyllum Pinnatum (Kalanchoe Pinnata).  It is native to South Africa and  grows in tropical and subtropical climates. In the US, the plant grows in Florida. It is a weed. It is  antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti- inflammatory in nature. Snap a piece of the leaf off and rub the newly exposed edges to the affected area, it soothes and eradicates the sting and itch from insect bites. I found this to be true  after a hiking trip where I was eaten half alive by mosquitos and other insects. Instantly after it’s use, I found relief from the itching.In Jamaica, it is common for some  to boil the leaves and drink it as tea to treat cold symptoms. It is said to expedite wound healing and cure different types of skin ailments.  Do yourself a favor, save money and time by allowing this nonthreatening guest to take up permanent residence in your  garden. Make sure to consult a doctor before you begin using Leaf of Life.

Caution!
Due to the immuno-supressant properties in Leaf of Life it is not advisable to use it internally for extended periods.

Here are 2  links with more information,

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816479/

http://www.jaherbs.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67:leaf-of-life&catid=25:….

Confession

I’ve been tallying up a list of wrong doings lately,wondering if I’m a candidate for heaven.

Turns out I’m not.

It all started when I was 4 and I threw a baby on a couch.

The couch was red faux leather. The scene, May Pen Jamaica in my living room. I had friends visiting me to show me their newborn sibling. It seems even then I had a Elmira-esque quality about me, except it extended to babies. Some months before this friendly visit when I was 3, I marched my tiny legs to a neighborhood store alone to retrieve a balloon that had been previously denied to me . This was done during the nighttime hour when everyone was sleeping and the shop had long since closed. My mother remembers I was comfortable with darkness. I hate to say I was evil but at least you can see what we’re working with.

Ok, so here we are. My friends and I tra-la-la-ing in the living room, cooing over the newest precious fuzzy wuzzy haired baby in the neighborhood. It was my turn to hold the baby. I kissed her, sniffed her, sang to her, I held her TIGHT.Everything was great until I was told I could no longer cradle and snuggle my baby. “Gimme mi sista” ,my friend said. My eyes turning into slits I release my hold on my baby while swinging her in the general direction of the couch hissing “Tek har”.

She landed  gently on the couch. She cried a little bit, I imagine startled. Everyone stared. They stared some more. I shuffled my feet guiltily. Everyone left. I never saw my baby again.Thanks to the nature of children and their ease with forgiveness I still had friends the next day.

As I write this, I make excuses for little me. It could have been a overhand throw, I say to myself. Didn’t I read a article where researchers reported a link between shaken baby syndrome and genius IQ? Maybe I intuitively knew that and was trying to give my baby a head start in life. No such article you say? OK, fine. I know I was wrong. God forgive me. My baby, wherever you are, I hope you’re well.

Regrettably, this was just the beginning for me.I’m practicing a somewhat graceful stagger and incredulous gasp for my final judgement at the pearly gates where my sins are examined.

Strange Fruit

Kiwano melonSometime in December, during my stay in Anchorage, Alaska, I picked up a strange thing from the supermarket produce section. The sticker said the oblong shaped fruit was a Kiwano Melon. Later, I learned it is native to the Kalahari desert in Africa and it’s name there is Gaka. In Zimbabwe it is called magaka or amagaka. The Kalahari desert spans Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.

IMAG0041

Yellow and orange on the outside with half inch spikes it looked like some sort of futuristic alternate reality type food.As a matter of fact, it was featured in the series Star Trek as pictured here,

Molly O'Brien eats a "Golano Melon", a fictional name for the real fruit Kiwano Melon  which is native to Africa.

Molly O’Brien eats a “Golano Melon”, a fictional name for the real fruit  Gaka which is native to Africa.

Upon eating it, I was sure I would morph into a purple power-drunk superhero able to effortlessly leap  from planet to planet. Unfortunately for me, nothing  happened. Nothing!:/ Such is life.

The inside of the fruit was green with a lot of  seeds that seemed easier to swallow. The consistency was gelatinous making it easy to scoop out with a spoon. It was so refreshing!! It tasted like a slightly sweetened cucumber. I didn’t have time to experiment with it  but I look forward to making smoothies in the future. Also, freezing the green stuff into ice cubes for cocktail drinks!

Here’s more about Gaka including nutrition facts courtesy of Wiki-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucumis_metuliferus

  • Amount Per 100 grams1 fruit (4-2/3″ long x 2-3/4″ dia) (209 g)1 cup (233 g)1 fruit (4-2/3″ long x 2-3/4″ dia) (209 g)

    Calories 91
  • % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 2.6 g 4%
    Sodium 4 mg 0%
    Potassium 257 mg 7%
    Total Carbohydrate 16 g 5%
    Protein 3.7 g 7%
    Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 18%
    Calcium 2% Iron 13%
    Vitamin B-6 5% Magnesium 21%
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

    Enjoy!!!