You are on page 1of 10

Adlai seen as an alternative to rice and corn

by Amavel Velasco

In the not-so-far-away land of Mindanao, with its vast plantations of pineapple, banana and durian, hides a plant not known to many but which is being cultivated in idle lands in parts of Bukidnon. This certain plant comes by the name of Adlai. The said plant has also been seen in other parts of the Philippines. There are even claims of it being common Adlai plant growing the wild. throughout the country but not to the Grains fron Adlai, also known as job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi L.) same extent as other crops like rice, corn, coconut, malunggay, etc. with which one can easily identify.

It is considered a weed in some places but is prized as a source of raw materials for necklace and bracelets in others. In Bukidnon, it is made into kakanin and wine by some of the local tribes. It may also be cultivated or domesticated in other parts of the country and may have other uses but these are yet to be documented. You could have seen it in your own hometown or in the rural areas but didn't think it significant and considered it just like any other weed growing around your house. Or it could be that you have seen it or even wore bracelets and necklace made out of it without knowing that these were made from adlai. Or, your father, who is fond of fighting cocks, had been feeding his roosters with adlai for years and you weren't aware of it.

Curious now about adlai, yes? So what is adlai anyway, you would ask. Please read on to find out.

Description
Adlai, also known as Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi L.), comes from the family Poaceae or the grasses, the same family to where wheat, corn and rice belong.

The grains, which come in white or brown, in some instances, are spherical in shape and have a groove at one end. It is said to have originated in Southeast Asia. It is a freely branching upright herb that can grow as tall as 3 feet and propagates through seeds.

According to the Bureau of Plant Industry, the leaves are 10 to 40 centimeters long, 2.5 to 4 centimeters wide, with the base broad and cordate. The spikes are 6 to 10 centimeters long, erect and peduncled, while the male spikelets are about 8 millimeters long. Grains are usually harvested 4-5 months after sowing. Grains are separated from the stalks through threshing and, like rice; seeds are first sun dried before milling. Adlai is said to be at least 50 percent starch, 14 percent protein and 6 percent fat.

Adlai as food and drink


In South Asia, at the time when corn was still not that popular, Adlai was already being widely cultivated as a cereal. In India, it was pounded, threshed and winnowed as a cereal. The pounded adlai is sometimes mixed with water like barley when making barley water; some turn it into a sweet dish by frying and coating it with sugar. It is also boiled and eaten in the same manner as that of rice. Grains are also used in soups and broths. In fact, in southern Vietnam, sam bo luong, a sweet and cold soup has adlai as its main ingredient. Fermented grains, on the other hand, are also made into beers and wines. Aged vinegar is also made out of it in Japan. Yulmu cha, or Job's tears tea, is a thick drink in Korea made from powdered adlai. Another liquor, which is made from adlai together with rice in Korea, is called okroju.

Folk medicine

Adlai is said to be a folk remedy for a wide range of ailments. It is used as a remedy for various tumors like the abdominal tumors, esophageal and gastrointestinal, as well as warts. It also finds use in treating abscess, anodyne, anthrax, appendicitis, arthritis, beriberi, bronchitis, catarrh, diabetes, dysentery, dysuria, edema, fever, goiter, halitosis, headache, hydrothorax, metroxenia, phthisis, pleurisy, pneumonia, puerperium, rheumatism, small-pox, splenitis, strangury, tenesmus and worms. Some of these claims though still need to be scientifically verified to warrant an "approved therapeutic claim" in labelled containers as herbal medicine advertisements are saying these days.

Pharmacological effects
Some studies indicate that adlai has anti-allergic, anti-mutagenic, hypolipemic, and anti-diabetic effects. It is also said to exhibit anti-cancer activity. In a study by Hung et al in 2003, adlai seeds were found to exert an antiproliferative effect on human lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo and might also prevent the development of tobacco carcinogenBAR Dir. Nicomedes P. Eleazar (2nd from right) attends a preparatory meeting induced tumors. The anti-cancer activity of adlai was further proven by held at Earthkeepers which is based in Tiaong, Quezon. Earthkeepers is a nongovernment organization headed by Ms. Teresa Perez-Saniano (3rd from left). the study of Lee et al (2008), who isolated five active compounds from adlai bran that inhibit cancer cells. In traditional Chinese medicine, adlai hull extract is used to treat dysmenorrhea. It was proven in a recent study that, indeed, adlai hull is a feasible alternative therapeutic agent for dysmenorrhea. Introducing adlai to mainstream agriculture The Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) together with NGOcollaborators, Earthkeepers and Masipag, see adlai as a good alternative crop to rice and corn and would like to explore its potentials more. It is good to know though, that Masipag, a farmer-led network of people's organizations, has already done research on adlai. BAR, together with Earthkeepers and Masipag, is now crafting a training and planning workshop on adlai production that is tentatively scheduled for September 2010.

Why eating adlai is good for you?


Rita T. dela Cruz Standing tall in the wild, adlai (Coix lacryma-jobi L.) can be easily overlooked due to its grass-like appearance that blends well with the other wild plants. But unlike weeds, the stem of adlai could grow from 1 to 3 meters tall (from 3 to nearly 10 feet). It bears tear-like shape grains which become the source of (staple) food of many indigenous people particularly in the highlands. Adlai belongs to the family Poaceae or the grasses, the same family to which wheat, corn, and rice belong. It produces good yield in areas where rice and corn hardly grow like the highlands. Adlai can tolerate low pH, poor soil quality, waterlogging and is resistant to pests Just like its counterparts (rice, corn), Adlai is highly nutritious. It is because of this that the Deparment of Agriculture (DA) is promotingAdlai as a staple crop which may well solve the countrys chronic insufficiency as far as palay is concerned. To further promote Adlai as a staple crop, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), as the focal RDE agency tasked to look into the potential of this crop, has been conducting 11 adaptability trials (station and on-farm) of adlai varieties for seed production and commercialization. Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, director of BAR, explained that adaptability trials have been established in different parts of the country basically to assess the performance of different adlai varieties in different locations and elevations. The results will be beneficial for the farmers who want to grow this crop in a commercial range as well as for the agriculture industry given our current challenge for rice sufficiency.

Adlai is as versatile as rice

Just like rice, farmers grow Adlai as their staple crop for its good eating quality. Adlaibears tear-shape grains which when matured are harvested, pounded, threshed, and winnowed, cooked and served steamed just like rice. It looks and tastes like rice, only the grains are a bit larger, mas matagal magutom kapag kumakain kami ng Adlai (it takes time to feel hungry when we eat Adlai), said one of the locals from Malaybalay, Bukidnon when they were invited to try the cookedAdlai during lunch. For those who have tried cooking Adlai, they mentioned that Adlai takes a bit more time to cook due to the size of the grains. Testimonies of those who have tried cooked adlai during a tastetest conducted by BAR also showed that, Compared to white corn grits, the cooked Adlai grains is softer in texture and more compact. As food source, Adlai is as versatile as rice. It can be cooked and processed as main ingredient for the all-time rice-based kakanin such as maja blanca, sinukmani, champorado, polvoron, and turones de adlai to name a few. It has a pleasant mild flavor making it a good ingredient in soups and broths. The grain can be ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas, and porridge. The pounded kernel is also made into a sweet dish by frying and coating with sugar. It can also be husked and eaten as it is just like peanuts. A tea can be made from the parched seeds while beers and wines are made from its fermented grains. Coffee or tea is made from the roasted seed.

Nutritive value of Adlai


Eating 100 grams per serving of adlai, one is less likely to feel hungry after awhile compared to eating rice or corn. This is because adlai has the highest food energy content (356 kcal) compared to corn, white rice or brown rice. Hence, a person who ate a cup of steamed adlai for lunch is build to last a whole days work compared to those who ate rice. Adlai is also superior to its staple counterparts when it comes to carbohydrate content (73.9 g), protein (12.8 g), and fat (1.0 g).
Nutritive Value Energy (kcal) Carbohydrates (g)

Adlai**
356 73.9

White Corn Grits* 135 24.6

Brown Rice*** White Rice*** 129 27.9 110 22.9

Protein (g) Fat (g) Dietary Fiber (g)

12.8 1.0 0.3

2.6 0.7 0.7

2.7 0.3 0.4

2.6 0.9 1.8

* Nutrition facts of White Corn Grits (IPB Var 6) released by Crop Science Cluster-Institute of Plant Breeding, UPLB ** Nutrition facts of Adlai Grits released by Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) chemical analysis, 2011 ***Nutrition facts of White and Brown Rice released by FatSecret All Things Food and Diet (www.fatsecret.com)

According to the International Office of Cocoa Chocolate and Confectionery (IOCC), the primary nutritional role of carbohydrates (whether sugars or starches) is to provide energy. This energy is constantly needed by the body to maintain life.

Adlai Products

For developing countries like the Philippines, 70-80 percent of a persons calorie intake should be in the form of carbohydrates. The kind of carbohydrate consumed could affect the quality of health of the person. And considering the amount of carbohydrate content in every 100 gram serving of cooked adlai, this could help in feeding the increasing population of the country, evern more, lessen the need for rice importation. Adlai is also packed with other minerals including calcium (25 mg), phosphorus (43.5 mg), iron (5 mg), niacin (4.3 mg), thiamine (0.28 mg), and riboflavin (0.19 mg). #

I am quite fascinated with this grass. I never knew its name before. The fruits look like a mini shell with colors brown, black and usually grey. Every hard grain has a hole for inserting a thin piece of nylon string. We collect it for the purpose of making bracelets and necklaces. The plant looks like a miniature version of corn. I usually see it near watery areas like rice field and near rivers. We regarded it as weed until I read the Facts About Adlai a magazine published by the Department of Agriculture Region 4A (CALABARZON). The featured image is very similar to what we regarded as weed.

The plant is commonly known as adlai, adlay, jobs tears or Coix lacryma-jobi L. The plant grain can be eaten the same manner as rice. Can be fried and coated with sugar. Use for soups and broths. For beers and wine making. For vinegar manufacture. For Jobs Tear tea a thick drink made from adlai powder. For okroju a liquor made of adlai and rice. Grains are usually harvested after four to five months of sowing. Separated from stalks through threshing and , like rice, seeds are first sun dried before milling. It has at least 50% starch, 14 percent protein and six percent fat. It is used as remedy for various tumors like the abdominal tumors, esophageal and gastrointestinal, as well as warts. Use is treating abscess, anodyne, anthrax, appendicitis, arthritis, beri beri, bronchitis, catarrh, diabetes, dysentery, dysuria, edema, fever, goiter, halitosis, headache,hydrothorax, metroxenia, phthisis, pleurisy, pneumonia, puerperium, rheumatism,smallpox, splenitis, strangury, tenesmus, and worms. Claims still needs scientific evidences. Some studies indicated that adlai has anti-allergic, anti-mutagenic, hypolipemic and antidiabetic effects. It is also said to exhibit anti-cancer activity. In a study by Hung et al 2003, Adlai seeds were found to exert and antiproliferative effect on human lung cancer in vitro and in vivo and

might also prevent the development of tobacco carcinogen-induced tumors. Its anti-cancer activity was further proven by the study of Lee et al 2008 who isolated five active compounds from adlai bran which inhibit cancer cells. In traditional Chinese medicine, adlai hull extract is used to treat dysmenorrhea and was proven in a recent study that, indeed, it is a feasible alternative therapeutic agent. benefits courtesy of BAR Chronicles via Kabalikat Magazine of CALABARZON. image courtesy of kabalikat. update as of may 26, 2011 Mom brought home adlai seedling. I was expecting a handful of grains. Sadly, all adlai plants are already dead. New plants are beginning to sprout.

Adlai instead of rice, anyone?


By Bong S. Sarmiento on March 4 2012 8:16 am

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/03 March) Besides the traditional food staple like rice, corn and camote, the Department of Agriculture in Southwestern Mindanao is now advocating the propagation of Adlai as an alternative food crop.

Amalia Datukan, DA-Southwestern Mindanao director, said the regional office has started promoting Adlai in line with the directive issued by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala to make the country self-sufficient in food. Adlai (Coixlacryma-jobi L.) is a freely branching upright herb that grows as tall as three feet and propagates through seeds. Known also as Jobs tears due to the tear-like shape of its grains, which come as white or brown, Adlai belongs to the family Poaceae or the grass family, the same family to which wheat, corn and rice belong. Adlai is used to make body accessories like beads and bracelets, according to a statement from the DA regional office. Aside from food source, Adlai is also utilized as an alternative remedy against various diseases like tumor, appendicitis, arthritis, beriberi, bronchitis, diabetes, dysentery, fever, headache and manyother ailments, it added. Datukan said the regional offices research stations have started planting this type of grass and are conducting studies to further discover the other potentials of Adlai. We can complete Adlais potentials through the integrated cooperation of non -government organizations, private sectors and theDA, she said. Through this, we will obtain essential results to develop additi onal mechanics on Adlai production, market projection and conventional and organic crop management system, she added. Recently, an Adlai farm technology demonstration in Barangay Carpenter Hill here was recorded to harvest more than three tons per hectare, the DA regional office said. Adlai is usually harvested four or five months after planting. Its grains are separated from its stalks through a thresher, then dried before milled. Promoting Adlai as an alternative staple food in Southwestern Mindanao came even as the region is one of the countrys top five rice-producing areas. Also known as Region 12 or SocCSKSarGen, it is also the rice basket of Mindanao, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said. In a fact sheet, Herlita Caraan, NSCB Region 12 chief, said Southwestern Mindanao yielded 1.244 million metric tons of palay last year. The volume was five percent higher than the 1.185 million MT palay production in 2010, which compared to 2009 was 3.6 percent lower due to the dry spell that hit the area in the first semester of 2010, she said. The region maintained its position as the 5th largest palay-producing region of the country and Mindanaos top palay producer, Caraan said, citing data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics. (Bong S armiento/MindaNews)