FOOD FOREST / MEDICINAL TREES

Moringa tree (Daun Kelor)

  • Edible leaves that give a complete profile of vitamins, nutrients and amino acids
  • Used for the traditional Balinese / Javanese Moringa soup, called Murungai Keerai in South India
  • Probably the most important and versatile survival tree (all parts of the tree are either edible or used medicinally)
  • The moringa seeds are used to purify water from any toxins.
  • It is considered as an “ideal tree” or a “miracle multipurpose tree” for agroforestry.
  • Very popular as a natural leaf powder supplement, although the pods, roots, bark, flowers, seeds, and fruits are also edible.
  • Almost all parts of the Moringa oleifera tree can be eaten or used as herbal medicine.
  • Main recommended use: As a survival food and natural multivitamin.

Jackfruit (Nangka)

  • Jackfruits give huge amounts of food and is often used as a meat substitute
  • It is the biggest fruit in the world – its seeds are especially powerful to build muscle mass
  • Is especially good for shade – the temperature drops by 20 degrees celsius in its shade
  • To be used where you really need shade (around the houses, to save aircon, or lined on the pathways)
  • Jackfruit seeds are used to make delicious curries

Sappanwood (Secang)

Neem tree (Daun Mimba)

  • Leaves and bark have plenty of medicinal benefits. Nearly the entire plant is used
  • It is used as an organic pest control, deterring insects
  • The antiseptic bark is used for treating gum disease
  • The twigs are often utilized as natural toothbrushes
  • Very beneficial to the skin, nails, scalp, teeth and gums and detoxifies the blood
  • Neem leaves are among the most complex on the planet, with over 130 different active compounds.

Noni Fruit (Morinda citrifolia) or Mengkudu in indonesian

Mango Trees

    • Not only famous for their delicious fruits, but its leaves and fruits are considered sacred
    • There are many species of mango, some more interesting than others

Keppel Apple (Stelechocarpus burahol)

Ambarella (Kedongdong)

  • The fruits make a great sour juice

Java plum (Syzygium cumini) or Jamun

  • In the southern Bukit region in Bali, vendors and roadside stalls sell Java plum

Indian jujube

  • The Ber fruit or Jujube features in mythology of India. It is said to be “the tree that removes sorrow”, and is sacred to Shiva
  • In Ayurvedic Medicine, Ber fruit is classified as a cooling fruit
  • Is used to treat indigestion, burning sensations, fevers, and thirst, as well as lung and circulatory system issues

Gandaria (Plum Mango) (Bouea macrophylla)

  • Gandaria’s leaves can be consumed
  • Gandaria is from Java and Sumatra and also cultivated fruit in Thailand, Malaysia, Laos etc…

Rare Banana species

More rare fruits of Indonesia


SACRED TREES

  • Bilva, or Bael tree (Aegle marmelos), or Pohon Maja in Indonesian
    • Sacred to Lord Shiva in Hinduism but forgotten in Bali. Some Hindus are reintroducing it in Bali
    • It’s fruits are highly medicinal. A refreshing juice is made out of them.
    • The tree is said to emit a sacred protective energy all around it.
  • Ashvatta (Ficus religiosa, or Ara suci in Indonesian)
    • The most sacred tree in South Asia
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album)
    • Sandalwood trees are valued for their fragrant heartwood, which is used in perfumes, incense, and traditional medicine
  • Ashoka tree (Saraca asoca) or Pohon Asoka in Indonesian
    • Sacred to Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus, is associated with Kamadeva (the god of Love)
  • Java Olive tree (Sterculia foetida), or Pohon Kepuh
    • Ask the locals for the exact effects of this unique-looking fruit, but it is considered sacred in Bali
  • Gedang Renteng
    • In Balinese, gedang means papaya. Not all papaya variant is sacred. Only the renteng one is sacred.
    • The easiest way to notice a gedang renteng is that there are many flowers coming from a long stem (in normal papaya, the flower as well as the fruit tend to be really close with the main trunk)
    • Balinese believe that gedang renteng tree is the resting place of the leak
  • Dipterocarpus hasseltii – Sacred groves are located in various districts in Bali. Hindu society in Bali utilizes plants as a means of performing religious ceremonies as offerings for God. One of the plants used is the fruit of Dipterocarpus hasseltii, which can be found in sacred groves and protected forests. D. hasseltii is an endangered species
  • Kadamba tree (Neolamarckia cadamba), or Pohon Jabon
    • The fruit and inflorescences are edible
    • An extract of the leaves serves as a mouth gargle.
    • The tree is grown along avenues, roadsides and villages for shade.
    • It also sheds large amounts of leaf and non-leaf litter which on decomposition improves some physical and chemical properties of soil under its canopy.
    • Sacred in Hindu mythology. Radha and Krishna conducted their love play in the sweet-scented shade of the kadamba tree

Kadamba

  • Night Jasmine (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) or Srigading in Indonesian
    • Called Parijaat in Hindu mythology, it is venerated among the Javanese Moslems (Kejawen) even after islamization as one of their sacred plants
    • Bears delicate, exquisite white blossoms with a pleasant scent. The blooms are often referred to as “Night Jasmine” since they typically release their scent at night.
    • This tree’s blooms fall to the ground naturally when the night comes to an end. Thus, even if they are plucked from the ground, these are the only flowers fit to be dedicated to God.

  • Sāla tree (Shorea robusta)
    • Considered sacred in all Hindu and local traditions of South Asia. The Jains say that Mahavir achieved enlightenment under a sāla tree.
    • Sāla is one of the most important sources of hardwood timber. It is especially suitable for constructing frames for doors and windows.
    • The dry leaves of sāla are a major source for the production of leaf plates and bowls called patravali. The used plates are then readily eaten by goats and cattle.
    • Sāla tree resin is known as dammar, or ṛla in Sanskrit. It is used as an astringent in Ayurvedic medicine, and burned as incense
    • Sāla seeds and fruit are a source of lamp oil and vegetable fat. The seed oil is extracted from the seeds and used as cooking oil
  • Ulin wood (Usideroxylon zwageri) or Iron Wood
    • A slow growing tall evergreen tree. Individual trees may reach an age of 1,000 years or more.
    • An Ulin tree discovered in 1993 in Kutai National Park, is one of the largest plants in Indonesia.
  • Nagasari (Mesua ferrea, also called Cobra saffron, or Nagkesar)
    • A sacred wood used to make protective bracelets in all South Asia
    • The wood is very heavy, hard and strong
    • Its color is deep dark red
    • The flowers, leaves, seeds and roots are used as herbal medicines and in the Nag Champa incense


More sacred trees

Sacred Blooms: Discover the 10 Favorite Flowers of Hindu Gods

Sacred Flowers in ancient Indian literature

Sacred Plants of India – Medicinal Uses, and Mythological and Religious Associations

Chinese Herbal Medicine Database


MEDICINAL PLANTS

  • Tulsi
    • Forgotten in Bali but revered in South India. This plant has a goddess associated to it (Goddess Tulasi)
    • Said to emit a protective energy to the whole area where it is planted. For this reason it is planted around houses in South India
    • Scientifically proven to protect from EMF radiations (wifi, 5G, nuclear)

  • Hibiscus flower (Rosella)
    • One of the most refreshing teas, heals and rejuvenates skin and hair.
    • A delicious ruby-red flower that promotes hair growth, skin healing, collagen production
    • Prevents and in some cases reverses greying of hair.
  • Gotu Kola Leaf (Centella asiatica) or Pegegan in Indonesian
    • A rasayana (herb which ensures longevity)
    • A blood and cerebral tonic
    • And also an excellent beauty herb that promotes beautiful skin by increasing collagen production and carrying away toxins.
    • Main recommended use: For skin and hair
  • Apamarga (Achyranthes aspera) or Sangketan in Indonesian
    • Good herbal cure to treat pain in tooth. Apāmārga leaf powder extract provide relief from toothache
    • Its roots are used for brushing teeth. It helps to tighten the gums
  • Blue Lotus
    • Relaxing and aphrodisiac
    • A wine is made out of it
    • Found in many Bali temples


APHRODISIAC / REJUVENATING PLANTS

  • Parameria (Parameria laevigata) or Kayu Rapet in Indonesian
    • Traditionally used to tighten vaginal tissues after childbirth
    • After 3 months of regular use, it can restore the vaginal canal to its size and shape of before the pregnancy
    • It is also useful in cases of hemorrhoids, ulcers, muscle pain, and to firm up the skin
    • Main recommended use: To tighten vagina, muscles and skin.
  • Guduchi (Tinospora crispa) or Brotowali in Indonesian
    • Also known as amrit in Sanskrit, is one of the most valued herbs in Ayurveda
    • It is a general adoptogen which increases resistance to stress, anxiety and illness.
  • Longjack Root (Eurycoma longifolia) or Pasak Bumi in indonesian
    • An aphrodisiac that also helps with male infertility, boosting athletic performance, bodybuilding and reducing body fat.
  • Tribulus Leaf (Tribulus terrestris) or Rujak Polo in indonesian
    • Increases production of testosterone
    • Women who take it regain regular ovulation, they gain improved fertility
    • It can even cause menopausal symptoms to disappear, with few or no mood swings.
  • Purwoceng (Pimpinella pruatjan)
    • A general tonic and energy enhancer that is often used as a male and female aphrodisiac
    • A rare herb that grows only in certain parts of Southeast Asia and has to be sustainably harvested.

 

See also: 15 excellent Southeast Asian aphrodisiac herbs


MEDICINAL VEGETABLES

  • Longevity Spinach / Sambung Nyawa (Gynura procumbens) – Known to help with accelerated wound healing, skin diseases and to cover the bitter taster of other herbs. Can be used as a medicinal toothpaste powder. Anti-herpes, for wound healing
  • Wintermelon (buah beligo or Bligo, or Kundur) – Extremely potent and loaded in prana (life-force), is said to increase intelligence in children.
  • Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major) – Is applied to wounds, sores, and stings to promote healing. Can also be ingested to put an easy stop to diarrhea. Decoctions of it are useful to the kidneys and bowels.
  • Sabah Snake Grass / Dandang Gendis (Clinacanthus nutans lindau) – Used in treating skin rashes, insects and snake bites, lesions caused by herpes simplex virus, diabetes, and gout
  • Gynura Divaricata or Daun Dewa (the “Leaf of the Gods”)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) – Excellent for wound healing, bone and skin repair
  • Winged Bean, or Kecipir
  • Indian Trumpet
  • Bitter Gourd (Momordica charantia), or Pare in Indonesian

RARE GINGERS AND TURMERICS

Some of these have amazing beautiful flowers, such as Torch Ginger (used as a Balinese condiment), on top of their culinary / medicinal properties:

  • Curcuma heyneana / Temu Giring – Strong antiaging properties
  • Galanga / Kencur (Kaempferia galanga)
    • Used as a mild aphrodisiac, and also for powdered incense, which increases energy and awareness, and dissipates fatigue, melancholy, and sadness.
    • It helps to create a peaceful and contemplative internal environment.
    • Main recommended use: As a tea, as an ingredient in herbal formulas, or as an incense
  • Greater Galanga / Lengkuas (Alpinia galanga)
    • Has many applications in traditional medicine for skin diseases, enlarged spleen, respiratory diseases, mouth or stomach cancer.
    • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal.
    • Main recommended use: A medicinal herb that can be used to spice foods
  • Bitter Ginger / Pinecone Ginger / Lempuyang (Zingiber zerumbet)
    • One of the many types of Indonesian medicinal gingers, whose properties are not fully established and requires some experimentation
    • Each of these gingers has shown special properties to heal various ailments. Do your own research
    • The zerumbone in Bitter Ginger inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB and NF-kappaB-regulated gene expression, which means strong rejuvenation effects
    • It is also used as a natural shampoo and conditioner
  • Bengal root / Cassumunar Ginger / Bangle (Zingiber purpureum / cassumunar)
    • Same here. Cassumunar Ginger is also called “Purple Ginger” and comes with very unique characteristics
  • Emprit Ginger / Sunti Ginger (Zingiber majus rumph)

Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior), or Kecombrang


EDIBLE FLOWERS OF BALI

  • Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior), or Kecombrang
  • Jasmine (Jasminum sambac)
  • Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix)
  • Sesbania Flower (Sesbania grandiflora)
  • Peacock flower
  • Coconut Flower – A nectar is extracted from coconut tree flowers (Nira in Sanskrit)
  • Butterfly PeaThe flower, called aparajita in Sanskrit,  is said to have Tantric powers. In the Mahabharata, the sacred conch of Vishnu is a serpent, which is also named Aparajita. The plant is also an incarnation of goddess Durga

Banana Blossom (Musa sapientum)


OXYGEN PLANTS

  • Aloe Vera – Emits a lot of oxygen and makes a great healing juice
  • The Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) produces oxygen while removing toxins from the air. It is the national tree of Indonesia

USEFUL PLANTS FOR ISLAND AUTONOMY

  • Candlenut (Indian walnut), or Kemiri in Indonesia
    • Is used to make Minyak Kemiri, a herb that can turn hair black again
    • Mildly toxic when raw, the nut is appreciated once cooked or toasted. In Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, it is used in curries
    • In ancient Hawaiʻi, kukui nuts were burned to provide light
  • Miracle Wood (Strychnos lucida), or Songga in Indonesian
    • Contains substances that can reduce or even cure diseases such as malaria, diabetes, dirty blood, lack of blood, stomach worms, chicken pox , lack of appetite, weak body, stomach amplifier, boils, acne, premature ejaculation, poisonous snake bites and other bites.
  • Assam Indigo – For natural clothing dyes. Grows in Muntigunung, East Bali
  • Angsana (Pterocarpus indicus)
    • A huge, majestic tree. The flower is used to make honey. Its leaf infusions are used as shampoos
    • The flowers and the leaves are both edible
    • In folk medicine, it is used against tumors
  • Trembesi – Depolluting tree
  • Tamarind tree or Asam Jawa in Indonesian
    • The leaves and bark are also edible, and the seeds can be cooked to make safe for consumption
    • Throughout Southeast Asia, the fruit of the tamarind is used as a poultice applied to the foreheads of people with fevers
    • In homes and temples, the fruit pulp is used to polish brass shrine statues and lamps, and copper, brass, and bronze utensils.
    • Is said to host spirits:


HOW TO BUILD A SACRED GROVE

To plant your own forest garden, visit the Useful Tropical Plants Database (lists over 12,000 species)