Talong plant is a perennial plant said to be native from India but has long been brought and cultivated in tropical and subtropical places including the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Japan and even in Spain, France, Turkey and many other countries for its fruits. Talong has many varieties but the most common grows 40 to 200 cm tall, with large green coarsely lobed leaves about 10 to 20 cm long and 5 to 10 cm broad. Talong fruit depending on variety is either pear-shaped egg (where its English name was derived) or elongated cylindrical oblong with varying colors and sizes. But the most common talong fruits in the Philippines have a characteristic glossy skin that is deep purple in color. Talong fruit has a spongy cream colored flesh with seeds arranged in a conical pattern. The stems are usually spiny while talong flowers are white to purple in color.
Talong as a vegetable is commonly used in cooking, either baked, roasted or boiled with other vegetables and meat. Talong has a characteristically slight bitter taste but has agreeable taste when cooked.
Nutrients found in Talong
- manganese, molybdenum, potassium, foliate, copper,
- vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), tryptophan vitamin, magnesium, vitamin B3 (niacin)
Studies on talong fruit have identified anthocyanin phytonutrient called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that can be found in the skin of talong fruit. Nasunin has been found to protect the cell membranes from damage.
Aside from nasunin, studies conducted in the United States have also identified predominant phenolic compounds including chlorogenic acid and gallic acid that have antioxidant activities
Cardiovascular benefits from Talong
The phenolic compounds found in talong does not only have antioxidant properties but has been found to have the ability to lower the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood. In a study done on animals that are chemically induced with high cholesterol and were given with talong extract, the resulting findings were that the LDL cholesterol level have been reduced likewise the adhesion of cholesterol in the aorta and the artery walls were also reduced. This resulted to a more relaxed artery that increases the blood flow. These positive effects were likely due not only to nasunin but also to several other phenolic compounds found in talong.
Analgesic and antipyretic property of dried Talong juice extract
In a study done in India’s College of Pharmaceutical Sciences as presented in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2003, Dried extracts from talong juice are found to contain phytochemicals - flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins and steroids that have shown antipyretic and analgesic activity to a test group.. This study supports the claims of traditional medicine that dried juice of talong or S. melongena can be used to treat body pains and fever.
Anti skin fungal infection activity of talong
In a study published in Indian Journal of Microbiology Vol. 50, Supp 1, talong leaf extract have shown to exhibit significant activity against human pathogenic dematophytes or skin fungus and bacterias particularly Trichophyton mentagrophytes, T. rubrum and T. tonsurans and two opportunistic fungi Candida albicans andTrichosporon beigelii. This study have supports the claims traditional medicine that leaf extract from talong leaves can fight skin fungal infections.
Traditional uses of Talong fruit, leaves and roots.
- Crushed leaves are used to sooth inflamed hemorrhoids
- Decoction of roots are used to treat cough and asthma
- Boiled leaves and roots are used to wash wounds and sores
- Poultice of crushed leaves are used to treat pain related to rheumatism and arthritis,
- Juice of leaves are used to treat stomach problems.
- Dried juice extract of talong are used to treat fever and body pains.
Talong as vegetable is generally safe and even recommended as fit for daily consumption by children and pregnant women.
However, talong is one of the plants that are rich in oxalates. Oxalates when a plenty can accumulate and crystallize in kidney and gallbladder. It is therefore advised that people with existent kidney and gallbladder problems have to moderate the intake of oxalate rich foods including talong.
Talong has also been found to cause allergic reactions to sensitive people. Allergic symptoms include mouth and throat itchiness and harshness of voice. Talong contains pigments, alkaloids, phytosterols and proteins that may trigger the allergic reaction.
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Source: Medical Health Guide
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