Michinga Patta Leaves
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Michinga Patta leaves are characteristically known for having sharp thorns on the stems or leaves. Leaves are two toned with a dark green glossy sheen on their topside and a pale green matte finish on their underside. Leaves have a fresh sweet flavor with tart nuances of lemon and lime.
Michinga Patta leaves are typically available year-round.
Michinga Patta leaves are part of the genus Zanthoxylum and a member of the Rutaceae, Rue or citrus family. There are over 200 species of Zanthoxylum, many of which bear a fruit that is used to make Sezchwan pepper. The most common variety to India is botanically known as Zanthoxylum Rhetsa. In Thailand it is sometimes referred to as Ma Kwaen.
Studies are being conducted on a compound found in plants of the genus Zanthoxylum known as alpha-hydroxy-sanshool. This compound is being researched for its ability to produce a numbing sensation and potentially act as an agent to reduce skin pain and irritation.
Michinga Patta leaves and other leaves in the Zanthoxylum genus can be utilized both as a seasoning and as a vegetable. Leaves can be used fresh or they can be dried and saved for future use. Their flavor will complement curries, fermented fish and pork preparations.In Thailand the leaves are used in curries as well as in a traditional meat preparation known as lab khua.
Nearly all parts of plants in the genus Zanthoxylum; the leaves, fruits, stem and bark, have long been used by a variety of cultures as a spice, food source and for medicinal properties as well. In Africa and South East Asia it is commonly used to combat malaria and diarrhea as well as to numb the pain associated with toothaches. In India, the leaves are used to help alleviate the symptoms of bronchitis and fever and the oil from the seeds, to prevent balding. In India, consumption of the leaves is also believed to help reduce infections and eliminate tape worms. The Kanikkar tribes of Agasthiarmalai Biosphere Reserve, Western Ghats Tamil Nadu refer to it as Malvapoou and utilize the spines of the plant in treatment of chest pain and to encourage lactation in nursing mothers.
Plants growing in the genus Zanthoxylum can be found growing in tropical to temperate climates around the world. Zanthoxylum Rhetsa is a variety native to India and is most commonly found growing in India and Thailand where it is both harvested in the wild and grown in home gardens. In India and Thailand it is being touted for its potential to provide both an inexpensive food source and for its potential as an income generator for those selling it in local markets.