Ark of taste
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Lagundi (Vitex negundo) is an herb traditionally used in folk medicine as well as for food consumption. Because of its phyto-constituent content, there is evidence of many types of treatments involving Lagundi. For example, it has been used in Ayurveda and in Chinese medicine, according to specific areas or communities. For this reason, it has several names; in Batad (Ifugao province of Philippines), a small village of indigenous people in the middle of rice terraces, this plant is called Dabtan and it grows wild in this very biodiverse environment. In Ilokos province some people call it Dangla. In a more urban context, the preservation of traditional plants is carried on by small farmers groups, often supported by the church.
Vitex negundo is a multi-branched shrub up to 5 meters tall or sometimes a small, slender tree with thin, gray bark. Leaves are palmately compound, 3–5 foliate; flowers are bluish-purple, small, in peduncled cymes, forming large, terminal, often compound, pyramidal panicles.
The fruit is a succulent drupe, black when ripe, 5–6 millimeters in diameter and containing four seeds. Seeds are oblong. Four- to six-month-old seedlings are used for transplanting in the field. It can be reproduced readily from shoot cuttings. Vitex negundo roots are strong and deep and suckers profusely. It produces root suckers, which can also be utilized as planting material. It is planted between June and September and it takes two years to grow.
It is pungent, bitter, and astringent in taste. It has been used as a hedge, ornamental plant, growth promoter in agriculture, manure, pesticide, medicine, food, food protectant, household pesticide, in reclamation of wasteland and erosion, basketry, witchcraft, totems, water divination, and in the preparation of grain and garlic storage structures.

Vitex negundo has been put to numerous and varied types of uses over history. As a seed, it is occasionally used as a condiment, such as a pepper substitute. When washed to remove the bitterness, it can be ground into a powder and used as a flour. A tea/decoction is made from the roots and leaves. Also, alcoholic extracts can be made by this decoction.

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Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Nominated by:Giovanni Giorgi