Saturday, December 24, 2011


Dear Readers,

I changed the title of the blog from Taman Herba Vokasma to Li Na Herbs.  Why?  This is because my school will be transformed to a college in 2012.  Hence, Taman Herba Vokasma will no longer be in use.  The new name of the college is Kolej Vokasional Seri Manjung or KVSM for short.  Actually, this blog was initially known as Taman Herba STESMA when my school was a technical school but then it was changed to a vocational school in 2009.  Two years later, it is undergoing another change.
Hmm ... I get dizzy with all the name changes and so decided that the best thing is the just call the blog Li Na Herbs as the URL for the blog is already
Please keep supporting my blog and I promise to work harder to bring information about more herbs to you.

Sincerely yours,
Li Na a.ka. The Herb Fairy


I am pictured with the Dragon's Tail Creeper Epipremnum pinnatum that I planted in the school Herb Garden in 2009. It has taken a while but the plant is now growing healthily. The Chinese use this herb for a number of medicinal purposes. It is said to be anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, cooling, swell reducing and for detoxification.
So how to go about preparing the leaves to be used as medication? Fear not I have the prescription. If you are brave enough, do give it a try.

2 leaves of the dragon tail leaf
10 grammes of black beans
5 red dates
5 glasses of water

Wash the dragon tail leaves and cook it in a pot of water. If you want it to be thicker than reduce the amount of water.
Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat and then slowly heat the water until the leaves are disintegrated. This is when the concoction is ready. The end product is a green in colour and tastes a bit like Wheat Grass. You can add rock sugar or brown sugar for tasted.


The fruit above does not look pretty. In fact it looks ugly and that is why it is so named.

Ugli is a citrus hybrid between grapefruit and tangerine that grows in Jamaica. Its weird name may be spelled wrong but it really comes from “ugly” in reference to its unappealing, wrinkled skin. But the looks of the Ugli have nothing to do with the taste, it is incredibly delicious and juicy, it takes more from the sweet tangerine and less from the sour grapefruit.
As a curiosity, you should know Ugli is the only fruit in the world that starts with the letter U.



During the holidays, I would brush up on my cooking skills by making some dishes for my friends. A few days ago, I prepared Wanton Mee and a couple of days ago, it was Laksa Singapore. However, I must say that my speciality is preparing fruit dessert. The dish above is the Sang Kor Tong Sui (translated to mean Fruit. As I am a Cantonese, I learnt to make Tong Sui from young. For your information, Tong sui, also known as tim tong, is a collective term for any sweet, warm soup or custard served as a dessert at the end of a meal in Cantonese cuisine. Tong sui is a Cantonese specialty and is rarely found in other regional cuisines of China.

It is actually very easy to prepare. Just boil a pot of water, then add in diced Ya Pears, dried longan, wolfberries, red dates and attap chee (Nypa fruticans). After boiling for about half and hour, add brown sugar. Then it is ready to be served.


I was told by the trader at the market that the spike like flowers are from an ornamental Jambu plant. He said that this species does not bear fruits only flowers. It is quite expensive. The ones in the polybags shown in the pictures were priced at RM35. I was told by the trader that the bigger plants sell for more than RM100 as they are prized for their beautiful flowers which looks like a burst of sunshine.
The actual name for this flowering plant is Golden Penda. In close-up, the long protruding stamens of the Golden Penda ( Xanthosemon chrysanthus) resembles fireworks in the night sky. The Golden Penda belongs to the genus Eugenia and they have the characteristic powder puff-like flowers. The "Jambu" ( Eugenia jambos) and Eugenia oleina flowers also have similar masses of flowers. 

Here is how a full grown Penda Tree looks like. It has masses of flowers. Beautiful, isn't it? LINK

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Let me share with you the recipe for a drink using basil, lemon and honey.  This drink is believed to help calm  ones nerves as basil is used in traditional medicine as an anti-depressant.

What you need to make the drink
5 Teaspoon of honey
1 cup hot water
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (remove the stems)
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
3 teaspoons of brown sugar.

What do do
Add the honey and brown sugar to the hot water in a bowl and stir until it is dissolved. Then let it cool.
Blender the basil leaves. After that sieve to remove the blended leaves.
Fill a jug with water, add the lemon juice and the honey mixture. Stir.
Cover the jug and place inside the fridge for a few hours to let it steep.


One of the herbs that I like to buy from the market is Thai Basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora). I love the unique aroma of this basil. It is also known as Asian basil. My late Aunt May used it as garnishing for steamed fish and prawns. She said that it adds to the flavour of the dish. What do I do with it? Well, I use it as one of the ingredients for a herbal bath. I also add it to the herbal concoction that I make to keep stress at bay. Thai Basil is said to be useful as an anti-depressant.


Someone posted this picture of what looks like grapes in my Facebook account. He wanted to know if I had any idea what it is called. Unfortunately, I don't. Does anyone out there know? If yes, do enlighten me.

Gambar pokok ini yang mempunyai buah seperti anggur dipos dalam akaun Facebook.  Orang itu ingin menanya tentang nama pokok ini.  Malangnya, saya tidak ada idea apa nama pokok ini.  Ada sesiapa yang boleh membantu?


Here in Malaysia, it is the school holidays and so I need not go to school. However, I make sure that I go back and visit my Green Friends in the Herb Garden to see that they are okay. Thankfully, it is the rainy season now and the plants are thriving. See how happy and beautiful my friends have become after having their fill of Sky Juice.

Cuti sekolah telah bermula di Malaysia dan ini bermakna saya tidak perlu ke sekolah.  Tetapi saya balik sekali-kala untuk melawat Kawan-kawan Hijau saya di Taman Herba untuk memastikan mereka sihat.  Mujurnya sekarang musim hujan dan pokok-pokok tumbuh dengan baik.  Tengoklah bertapa riang dan anggun kawan-kawan saya setelah disirami oleh Jus dari Langit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The news vendor for our school, Mr Chong shared a herbal tip with Miss Cheah, Ustazah Roslina and Puan Asiah yesterday. He told us that his brother who is suffering from leukaemia is trying a type of herb called Sabah Snake Grass or Belalai Gajah. Mr Chong read about this wonder herb in the Chinese newspaper and managed to get hold of it for his brother. It seems that after taking the Sabah Snake Grass for a week, Mr Chong's brother is feeling better.
This morning when he came to the library to send the newspapers, Mr Chong brought along the Sabah Snake Grass for me to plant in the Herb Garden. However, he said that I need to place the plant in a container of water until roots come out before planting. Hopefully, I can grow a lot of the plants in school so that whoever needs them can get it from us.
To find out about the medicinal uses of the Sabah Snake Grass, please click herehere and here.

Mr Chong yang selalu menghantar suratkhabar ke sekolah saya kongsi maklumat tentang sesuatu herba dengan saya dan rakan-rakan di sekolah.  Beliau maklumkan yang abangnya yang menghidap penyakit leukaemia diberi makan satu jenis herba bernama Berlalai Gajah atau Sabah Snake Grass.  Menurut Mr Chong, keadaan abangnya bertambah baik setelah makan herba ini selama seminggu.   Kami dapatkan pucuk pokok Berlalai Gajah dari Mr Chong untuk ditanam di Taman Herba.
Untuk maklumat lebih lanjut tentang herba ini, sila klik link herehere dan here.


The Bunga Telang or Blue Pea Vine is a natural colouring used to give colour to rice and kuih. One needs to sun dry the blue coloured petals of the flower before boiling them in water to cook a pot of rice which is known as Nasi Kerabu. The rice would naturally turn blue.
The Bunga Telang is also referred to as Clitoria flower as it resembles the female genitals. Recently, while I was talking a walk in my housing area in Ipoh, I spotted some white coloured clitoria. This got me excited and I went to talk a closer look at the flowers. Since they are white in colour, the flowers would be of no use as a colouring agent. Still, it drew my interest.


Botanical name : Clitoria ternatea Linn (White variety)
Family : Fabaceae

English : White Clitoria flower

In traditional medicine, the clitoria flower is used to treat migraine, skin diseases, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, ascites, ulcers and fever, jaundice and skin diseases. The seeds are used in abdominal cramps.

Useful part : Root, leaves, seeds


Thursday, October 6, 2011


About five years ago, I bought a Bunga Chempaka (Magnolia champaca) plant for the Herb Garden. Its English names are Champak and Champaca but then here in Malaysia we refer to the flower by its Malay name. In the first year, the plant bore a few flowers. Interestingly, the plant bears both yellow and white flowers. Recently, I noticed that the plant is bearing more flowers. It could be because I was always pruning the plant and using the leaves for herbal baths.
The flowers are used for worship at temples or at ones home. The Indian ladies like to wear them in their hair as an ornament. One can float the flowers in a bowl of water to scent the room. The perfume like fragrance of the flowers is really sweet and heady.
I managed to pluck three Champaca flowers from the plant and placed them in a small pot on my work table in school. As I am writing this post, the wonderful scent of the flowers fills my room. Ahhhh! What wondrous pleasure nature's bounty gives.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Name/Nama Cina/ 中文名:九里香 别名:千里香、月橘
Scientific name/Nama Saintifik/学名:Murraya paniculata
English name/Nama Bahasa Inggeris/英文名:Common jasmine-orange,Orange-jasmine,Hawaiian mock-orange,Chinese box,Jasmine-orange.
Nama Melayu: Kemuning/Bunga Sedap Malam

*  Untuk merawat bisul, sakit gigi dan rheumatik
*  Melangsingkan badan

Medicinal properties
*  To treat boils, toothache and rheumatism
*  helps in slimming


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Since it is now the fasting month, school dismisses at 1.30 p.m. and so I have more time in the afternoons to devote to the Herb Garden.  For the past few weeks, I have been training a few of my students to identify and choose the herbs that could be used for a traditional herbal bath.  This afternoon, I was teaching them about which herbs to choose to treat skin diseases.  One of the teachers was bitten by some insects when she visited a wooded area and had developed a big rash and so I was getting herbs for a medicinal bath for her.  The herbs that I told them to get from the garden were the leaves of the Lemuni, Inai, Starfruit, Sirih, Kaduk and Hempedu Bumi.  I also got herbs for a few other teachers in the school with the help of my young apprentices.  After they had selected the herbs, they helped to sort and pack them.


Pelajar-pelajar di sekolah yang saya berkhidmat balik ke asrama pada 1.30 petang pada bulan puasa.  Oleh kerana itu saya dapat lebih masa untuk menumpukan perhatian kepada Taman Herba.  Sudah beberapa minggu saya memberi latihan kepada tiga empat orang pelajar saya untuk mengecam dan memilih herba ynag boleh digunakan sebagai ramuan untuk Mandian Herba.  Pada petang ini saya telah mengajar pelajar saya tentang herba-herba yang boleh digunakan untuk merawat penyakit kulit.  Salah seorang guru kelas kami telah digigit oleh hutan semasa beliau ke hutan minggu lepas.  Kulitnya rasa gatal akibat gigitan itu.  Oleh kerana itu saya berusaha untuk mendapatkan herba untuk beliau.  Herba-herba yang boleh digunakan untuk merawat penyakit kulit adalah lemuni, sirih, inai, hempedu bumi, kaduk dan belimbing besi.  Pembantu-pembantu muda saya menolong mencari herba dan juga membungkusnya.


I went for traditional massage treatment recently as my blood pressure reading was high. While waiting for my turn to be treated by the traditional masseur, I caught a whiff of some fragrance. When I went to investigate, I found that the fragrance was coming from the flowers of a certain plant in his garden. His wife told me that the Chinese name of the plant was "Chien Lei Heong" or A thousand Mile Fragrance. In Malay it is known as Bunga Kemuning (Muraya Paniculata). In traditional medicine, it alleviates pain, removes toxic substances, antispasmodic, antagonizes muscular spasms, rheumatic pain, skin eczema, improves blood circulation.

Saya mendapatkan rawatan urut tradisional kerana tekanan darah saya tinggi. Semasa menunggu giliran saya di tempat tukang urut, saya dapat menghidu bau yang wangi. Bila saya menyiasat, saya mendapati yang kewangian itu asal daripada bunga satu pohon bunga di taman rumah. Isteri tukang urut memaklumkan bahawa nama Cina pokok itu adalah "Chien Lei Heong" atau "Kewangian seribu batu". Dalam Bahasa Melayu, ia dikenali sebagai Bunga Kemuning (Muraya Paniculata).  Dalam perubatan traditional, kemuning berkhasiat sebagai pemati rasa (anestesia), anti toksik, antispasmodik, antiradang, anti-rematik, pelancar peredaran darah dan penghalus kulit.