Agriculture - - Contents -

LAGIK­WAY ( Abel­moschus mani­hot L. Medikus) is a peren­nial na­tive shrub be­long­ing to the mal­low fam­ily Mal­vaceae. In other coun­tries, the plant is known as sun­set aibika, muskmal­low, sun­set Hibis­cus, or Hibis­cus mani­hot. It has a close re­sem­blance to okra and gu­mamela.

In the Philip­pines, it is called lagik­way, lik­way, gik­way, barakue, and nat­ing saluyot. It has an erect grow­ing habit and is grown mainly for its edi­ble leaves and shoots. Lagik­way is usu­ally grown in home gar­dens in Que­zon prov­ince and in some parts of the Bi­col re­gion, Visayas, and Min­danao, where rain­fall is more pro­nounced. Plant­ing in dry ar­eas can also be done but more fre­quent wa­ter­ing and pro­vi­sion of par­tial shade is re­quired.

USES AND NU­TRI­TIONAL VALUE Young lagik­way leaves and shoots blend well with many dishes, es­pe­cially sini­gang and tinola, be­cause of their neu­tral taste. They are used to thicken soup be­cause they tend to be slimy when over­cooked. The young leaves can be made into tempura or placed in sal­ads; they are also used to wrap fish, meat, or soup when pre­par­ing the na­tive del­i­cacy pinan­gat.

In tem­per­ate coun­tries, its seed­pods and ma­ture seeds are also uti­lized as food. Lagik­way leaves were sub­jected to prox­i­mate anal­y­sis and it was found to con­tain the fol­low­ing nu­tri­tional val­ues: 81.25% mois­ture, 1.69% fats, 2.11% pro­tein, 2.12% ash, 1.87% fiber, 10.95% ni­tro­gen-free ex­tract or NFE, and 164.83 mg gal­lic acid equiv­a­lent (GAE)/100 grams or g to­tal phe­nol.

As an al­ter­na­tive medicine, lagik­way leaves are boiled in vine­gar and ap­plied as a poul­tice to cure dy­suria (painful or dif­fi­cult uri­na­tion). It also acts as an em­me­na­gogue (stim­u­lates men­strual flow) and lax­a­tive. Phy­to­chem­i­cal anal­y­sis of lagik­way showed that it con­tains al­ka­loids, flavonoids, un­sat­u­rated sterol, and triter­pene. It is also used to treat chronic kid­ney dis­ease (CKD) by im­prov­ing im­muno­log­i­cal re­ac­tion, in­flam­ma­tion, re­nal fi­bro­sis, and re­nal tubu­lar ep­ithe­lial in­jury. In tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, it has been widely used to treat kid­ney dis­ease.

PRO­DUC­TION AND MAN­AGE­MENT Va­ri­ety: Cul­ti­vars of lagik­way can be dif­fer­en­ti­ated through the shapes of the leaves. Some have thick, broad leaves while oth­ers have deeply ser­rated leaves with col­ors rang­ing from light green to dark green. There are still no rec­om­mended va­ri­eties of lagik­way.

Prop­a­ga­tion and plant­ing: In the Philip­pines, there is no doc­u­mented re­port on flow­er­ing, pod set­ting, and seed pro­duc­tion of lagik­way in var­i­ous ar­eas where it is lo­cally grown. Prop­a­ga­tion is done us­ing rooted stem cuttings about 25-30 cen­time­ters or cm long.

Grow the stem cuttings in plas­tic bags filled with a mix­ture of gar­den soil and com­post for 3-4 weeks. Be­fore trans­plant­ing, pre­pare holes 12-15 cm deep and 1 me­ter or m apart. Add a hand­ful of com­post then mix thor­oughly with the soil. Take out the es­tab­lished cuttings from the plas­tic bag then trans­plant to the prepared holes, cover with a mix­ture of soil and com­post, press gen­tly, then wa­ter im­me­di­ately.

NU­TRI­ENT MAN­AGE­MENT Lagik­way grows well in ar­eas with ad­e­quate wa­ter sources. Dur­ing the dry sea­son, wa­ter the plant fre­quently and pro­vide par­tial shade.

Fer­til­ize lagik­way with ma­nure tea, fer­mented plant juice, and com­post to pro­mote faster growth and boost plant vigor.

PEST MAN­AGE­MENT Mites, white flies, and mealy bugs are some of the im­por­tant in­sect pests that at­tack lagik­way dur­ing the dry sea­son. Spray the plants with a hot pep­per and soap so­lu­tion to dis­cour­age them.

HAR­VEST­ING AND PRO­CESS­ING Har­vest young leaves when the plants are al­ready es­tab­lished. Pinch the shoot of the first stem to en­cour­age branch­ing, thereby pro­duc­ing more leaves.

Yields of 5-15 tons or t/hectare or ha can eas­ily be ob­tained. With wa­ter­ing and or­ganic fer­til­izer, yields of 40-60 t/ha per year are pos­si­ble.

PO­TEN­TIAL De­hy­drated lagik­way leaves can be pro­cessed into flakes, pow­der, and flour. Lagik­way flakes can be used as an in­gre­di­ent in mak­ing breads and noo­dles while lagik­way pow­der can be used to thicken soups and sauces.

Being a good source of di­etary fiber, lagik­way can be added to food for­mu­la­tions for the el­derly for better di­ges­tion and to fa­cil­i­tate bowel move­ments.

RECIPES • Plain: Blanch lagik­way leaves and serve im­me­di­ately with a mix­ture of soy sauce or fish sauce and cala­mansi juice. • But­tered lagik­way: Heat but­ter in a pan, and add blanched lagik­way leaves. Stir un­til all leaves are coated with but­ter, sea­son with iodized salt, gar­lic pow­der, and ground pep­per. Stir again then serve im­me­di­ately. • Pinan­gat: Wrap fish, meat, or shrimp with 2-3 lay­ers of lagik­way leaves. Ar­range in a pot, and add co­conut milk, hot pep­per, salt and sea­son­ing. Cook over a low fire un­til ten­der. • Tempura: Beat an egg and add sea­son­ing. Dip lagik­way leaf and fry un­til crispy. Serve with cat­sup or hot sauce.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please con­tact Dr. Rodel G. Maghi­rang, Crop Science Clus­ter-In­sti­tute of Plant Breed­ing, Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture, Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Los Baños, 4031 Col­lege, La­guna, or email rgmaghr@ya­

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