Video Transcript: Nature’s Medicine Chest: An Inside Look at Malaysia’s Best Cancer-Fighting Garden
Clip from Ep. #5 of Eastern Medicine: Journey Through ASIA
Ty Bollinger: I’m really excited. Now Dr. Vijay and his wife, Alice, are going to give us a tour of their garden.
Alice Subramaniam: We will start with this plant. This is a yam plant. This is an alternative carbohydrate source. So the tuber is very rich in anthocyanin. Those are actually tapioca. We use it a lot because this is very typical of Asian food. We eat a lot of this so we cook it and the tubers can also be used.
Ty Bollinger: Dr. Vijay mentioned it’s high in Vitamin B-17, so we can eat this whole thing, eh? [begins chewing the leaves]
Dr. Vijay Subramaniam, Oncologist: There’s a certain way of preparing it; you really need to cook it. [laughing] It’s OK. Ty is used to it. He eats durian, so what is this?
Alice Subramaniam: So the tuber is very rich in carbohydrates and fiber as well, so we tell our patients to vary what they eat. They can have rice. They can have cassava, and also the yam. So there are many ways you can get your carbohydrates.
Ty Bollinger: You just said “cassava” is that the same thing as “tapioca”?
Dr. Vijay Subramaniam: Yes, manioc, yes.
Ty Bollinger: I didn’t even know that. We’ve had many doctors talk about cassava. It’s tapioca. Duh! See I learn something new every day. I’m not all that smart. [laughing]
Alice Subramaniam: And that, of course, is very popular in Asian cooking – lemongrass. We use it a lot. Smell it. Very nice. Very fragrant. Because all these are local vegetables that we use. [much chatter]
This one is roselle plant. The fruit is not big yet. We use it for drinks. So this is roselle.
Dr. Tony Jimenez: That’s a fruit?
Alice Subramaniam: Yeah, you use it for drinks. It’s very high in vitamin C.
Dr. Tony Jimenez: Can you use the leaf also, because one of our interviews…
Alice Subramaniam: Yeah, you can use the leaf. Very rich in vitamin C. Those, of course, are long beans. They are everywhere. And this is turmeric plant. There is one much healthier up there. There is pandanus leaf.
Ty Bollinger: Oh yeah, we’ve seen the pandan chicken.
Dr. Vijay Subramaniam: [laughing] Yes, that’s the leaves.
Alice Subramaniam: We use a lot of this for our drinks. It’s very nice smell. Basically we have a little bit of everything here. We have lemongrass and we have a ginger patch up there. Plenty of papaya trees. Oh, and that is the moringa.
Ty Bollinger: Moringa oleifera.
Dr. Vijay Subramaniam: This is not fruiting yet.
Alice Subramaniam: It’s not fruiting yet. This is the moringa leaf. It has a lot of calcium and all kinds of minerals that are here. We use it as tea, we cook it as well. And this is sweet potato. So we take the top and stir fry it with basil.
Ty Bollinger: We had that a couple of nights ago. Sweet potato leaves.
Dr. Vijay Subramaniam: [laughing] Yeah, anything that’s green is cooked here. Which is great, because you see, there are so many things we talk about in nutrition which is very much what I call a “western diet construct.” You know a lot of the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, kale, are great, but I’ll bet all these greens contain just as many nutrients and antioxidants that we haven’t quite identified. But the people who have thrived on this are healthy people.
And if you have an opportunity to travel into east Malaysia, Borneo, because she comes from Borneo, she is from one of the tribes in Borneo. They eat a lot of stuff that they just pluck on their daily walk in the jungle. You know, this is my lunch, this is my breakfast, and they are very healthy. But you’ll never find this stuff in the supermarket. So it’s not only those supermarket veggies and leaves are nutrient dense. Pretty much all of this has so much nutrients in it. And the beauty is that it’s not industrialized farming with all the pesticides and herbicides and all those sorts of things, so you know you’re getting really clean food.
Ty Bollinger: Yeah, it’s great. Thank you so much for the tour of your garden. You know as we can see here folks, nature’s medicine chest is worldwide. It’s not just in North America. It’s all over the place and we’ve seen it all over Asia. So thank you for giving us a brief tour. Really appreciate it Dr. Vijay. Thank you Alice.