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Clarito A. Caisip : “Indigenous Materials Should Be Utilized While They’re Still Here”

A member of the Philippine Inventors’ Society tells us why we should start drinking bignay tea.

In a recent study aptly titled “Antioxidant Potential and Components of Philippine Vegetables and Fruits” which was supported by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), bignay, kaluinpit and ubi were found to be high in antioxidants after it was subjected, along with other 15 fruits and vegetables, in a research designed to determine which of them had the most antioxidant capability.

Those 15 fruits and vegetables included: eggplant, patola, tiesa, mangosteen, durian, kalumpit, alugbati, ampalaya, bago, sayote, malunggay, bignay , squash, saluyot, sitaw and ubi.

Various steps in the research process, like the preparation of crude antioxidants extracts, screening of antioxidants, and partial separation of antioxidant components, were conducted to find out which among these fruits and vegetables have the highest potentials for producing antioxidants.

The project, which was led and executed by Prof. Virgilio V. Garcia of the Institute of Food Science and Technology from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), noted what in contemporary years has been very active goings-on for these innate antioxidants derived from plants, animals, and microorganisms.

One of which is CA Caisip’s advocacy for bignay’s many health benefits. Clarito A. Caisip, owner and proprietor of the company, for almost six years now, has been spearheading the promotion of bignay (or bugnay) through what he calls “The Bignay Tea.”

“What most people know about bignay is that its fruits can be made into wine. They don’t know that other parts of the plant can actually be more useful,” said Caisip.

More than just Chinese laurel
The multicolored bignay, (Antidesma bunius Spreng.), is called kho lien tit in Laos; choi moi in Vietnam; buni or berunai in Malaysia; wooni or hooni, in Indonesia; ma mao luang in Thailand; moi-kin and chunka by the aborigines in Queensland. Among its English names are currant tree, nigger’s cord, Chinese laurel, and salamander tree.

While the fruits are eaten frequently by children, most Indonesians cook the fruits with fish. Elsewhere, unripe and ripe fruits are made into jam and jelly though the juice is complicated to set and requires pectin to jell properly.

In other places, some chefs put in lemon juice. If the extracted bignay juice is refrigerated for more than a day, a somewhat caustic deposit may accumulate, which can be discarded and further improve the flavor. For several years, the richly-colored jelly has been reported to have been produced on a diminutive commercial scale in southern Florida, United States, which can be made into syrup and has been profitably fermented into wine and brandy.

In Indonesia and here in the country, the leaves could be eaten raw or stewed with rice. They are often combined with other vegetables as flavoring.

First encounter
Caisip’s first encounter with bignay was when he first came home from Saudi Arabia, after working there for years.

“When I arrived back here in the country, I started complaining of different physical ailments. So, I went straight to doctors to find out what was wrong with me. I was given different diagnoses and was forced to shell out money on medicine that didn’t even ease me out of my pain,” said Caisip, “And then, one of my cousins introduced me to what he said helped him from his own sickness.”

And so, after a few months, he gathered what was left of his earnings from working abroad, and invested it on bignay.

“It was blind faith, really. I put my trust in God and in the product. I spent Php65,000 for machines and initial bignay harvests to start my company as an inventor and a few years after, here I am,” he said.

Since starting back in 2003, he has been able to develop a ioo-gram pack of bignay tea leaves that can be sold at Phpizo. It can also be purchased in sachets, a pack of which contains 20.

Caisip continued, “All they need to do is boil one liter of water, add two tablespoon of Bignay Tea powder, boil the water at low heat for lo minutes. No need to drain. It could be sweetened with honey or sugar. Serve hot or cold.”

While the bark of a bignay tree can be deadly to those who might consume it, nutritive Value per 100g of its edible part contain protein: 0.75 g, calcium: 0.12 mg; phosphorus: 0.04 mg, iron: o.ooi mg, thiamine:. 0.031 mg, riboflavin: 0.072 mg and niacin: 0.53 mg.

The leaves of bignay can also be used in the treatment of snakebites. Its ripened fruit is eaten raw / fresh. The bark contains a strong fiber which is used for making ropes. The reddish, hard wood has been experimented with to make cardboard.

Taking advantage
What attracted Caisip to bignay and to make a full-time enterprise was actually its health benefits.

“Antioxidants, which play a vastly important role in the avoidance of oxidative damages in the body that often lead to cardiovascular diseases, reduced immune functions and certain cancers have been documented vital for consumption though all natal systems have their own defense mechanisms in the form of endogenous enzymatic, antioxidants,” Caisip continued, “And bignay has lots of it.”

He continued, “Bignay Tea, today’s must health drink for both men and women is the unique stamina-builder. Bignay tea, considered a natural intimacy enhancer, is also a lovers’ potion tea drink, and the local version of Viagra minus side effects. It also helps as a cure and treatment to a variety of ailments such as arthritis, obesity, hypertension, stroke, atherosclerosis, sore eyes, and dismenorrhea problems among others. It is also a perfect drink for expectant mothers.”

It has also been published that bignay is a great source of CO-enzyme Q10, an essential component of the metabolic process involved in energy production and acts as a natural weight loss stimulant that burns fats without exercising. Studies done in the University of Texas and University of Antwerp, Belgium showed that obese / overweight individuals can lose weight by simply adding significant amount of CO-Enzyme Q10 in their diet. People who eat a lot and yet stay slim have higher level of CO-Enzyme Qio in their blood while obese people have mush as 50% deficiency of CO-Enzyme Q10, the same studies reported.

Mr. Caisip further recommends a diet regimen to lose weight faster and maintain ideal body weiglrt: limit your carbohydrate intake specially of sugar, white rice and white bread; eat more of healthy carbohydrate coming from veggies andfruits; limit fat intake by going for grilled, steamed, boiled food rather that fried food; drink eight glasses of Bignay tea a day. Most all, get enough exercise and eat the right food in moderation.

To further bolster his Bignay tea’s health claims, Bigitay tea was subjected to several analyses both made here in the Philippines and, in Florida, USA, and was found to have rich mineral and nutrient content: protein, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin, all essential elements needed by a healthy body.

“It’s an indigenous material that I discovered was grown abundantly in Nasugbu, Batangas. That’s where I get most of it. I have contracted a cooperative that has helped with production. And that’s where I process them as well,” said Caisip.

He was assisted by DOST as well in coming up with the packaging that he boasts could help him endorse it outside the countrv. “Not all countries have this. And we should really use our indigenous materials while they’re still here,” he said.

Company Name : C. A. Caisip Company
Main Product : Bignay Tea
Initial Capital : Php 60,000
Bulk of the expenses : Production and marketing
Production Capacity : 1500 a month
Biggest Challenge : Convincing prospective markets that it’s a worthy investment
Lesson Learned : “It’s hard to get any kind of support from the DA when you’re starting. So I learned in this kind of industry, you have to get to know people who can actually help. For me, that was the Philippine Investors’ Society”

By Hans Audric B. Estialbo