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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

Tourism Trivia-Senduduk

Melastoma malabathricum
Melastoma malabathricum

Senduduk is a common plant in Sabah and is found everywhere. It grows well on any terrain and at times is a bane to  paddy planters who clear the land for planting every year.

Botanically called Melastoma malabathricum and locally known as Gosing or Gagabang, this plant has variations in characters, according to a particular place.

In the lower land the flowers may be light pink and the plants may be squatter, while those in Kundasang Ranau, which is in the higher altitude, the plant may look more robust, with dark pink to almost blue flowers.

However, the make up of the whole plant are generally the same. The stems are square and bristly, the leaves are fine and it tapered to an end. The fruits, which are slightly smaller than the tip of our smallest finger, are edible. It is a little pleasant to the tongue when the fruit is ripe and has cracked open, revealing bluish seedy flesh.

When eaten the fruit dye will stick to the lips and tongue. Although this plant is not a favourite, it has been used by the people to treat various ailments in the past. The roots are used to treat diarrhoea. They are pulled up from the soil and washed properly. They are then boiled until the water turn slightly yellow.

The water when drunk should take effect within half an hour. The same drink is also believed to be an antidote to poisoning. The leaves are also useful for treating slight cuts. The young leaves are chewed or pounded to a paste and applied on the cut as poultice. The bleeding will stop almost immediately.-Sayangsabah

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