Siling Labuyo

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Siling labuyo (a variety of Capsicum frutescens) is a small chili pepper cultivar commonly found in the Philippines. Its Tagalog name translates to “wild chili” in English. Locally it is called by many other names, including: chileng bundok, siling palay, pasitis, pasite (Tagalog), katumbal, kitikot, siling kolikot (Visaya), silit-diablo (Ilocano), lada, rimorimo (Bicolano) and paktin (Ifugao). It is a perennial plant, about 1 meter tall, with small, tapered fruits about 2.5 cm long and 0.75 cm at the widest diameter. Most peppers are red, though some cultivars are yellow, purple or black.   One of the most common uses of the pepper itself is mixed with vinegar and other spices, such as ginger, onion and garlic, to make a spicy condiment. It can also be used to add a fiery spiciness to all kinds of sauces, vegetables and fish dishes. The leaves of the pepper can also be used in various typical recipes, such as seafood soups and chicken tinola. Siling labuyo has been considered a medicinal herbal plant used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, flatulence and toothache.   The plant is easy to cultivate and grows throughout the Philippines. It can even be cultivated in containers placed in sunny areas. Bicol and Mindanao (belonging to the Luzon Islands in the central Philippines) are two areas known for their spicy cuisine, in part due to the use of siling labuyo. The peppers can be purchased locally or cultivated at home, where it is common to have a container of the plant, though this practice is declining some. True siling labuyo peppers are also under threat due to commercially imported peppers from neighboring countries, frequently larger and not as spicy, that are falsely sold as siling labuyo.

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