Melinjo Gnetum gnemon

July 11, 2009
Melinjo (Gnetum gnemon) has respiratrol for the human who want to be young forever.

Gnetum gnemon is a species of Gnetum native to southeast Asia and the western Pacific Ocean islands, from Assam south and east through Indonesia and Malaysia to the Philippines and Fiji. Common names include Melinjo or Belinjo (Indonesian language), Bago (Malay language, Tagalog language), Peesae (Thai language), dae (Kwara'ae language) and Bét, Rau bép, Rau danh or Gắm (Vietnamese language). They are sometimes called padi oats or paddy oats.

It is a small to medium-size tree (unlike most other Gnetum species, which are lianas), growing to 15-20 m tall. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, 8-20 cm long and 3-10 cm broad, entire, emerging bronze-coloured, maturing glossy dark green. The fruit-like strobilus consist of little but skin and a large nut-like seed 2-4 cm long inside.

Fleshy strobili weigh about 5.5g, the seed alone 3.8g. Strobili mature mainly from June to September in NE Philippines. The red strobili are eaten by birds, mammals and reptiles.

It is widely used in Indonesian cuisine. The seeds are used for Sayur Asam (Sour Vegetables Soup) and also, grind into flour and deep-fried as crackers (emping, a type of krupuk). The crackers have a slightly bitter taste and are frequently served as a snack or accompaniment to Indonesian dishes. The leaves are also commonly used for vegetables dishes in Indonesia.

Recently, Japanese scientists (Mori, M., et al., 2008) found that Gnetum gnemon (id:melinjo) is not the cause of gout disease (uric acid disease).

Melinjo is native to Indonesia and very popular in this country. Lately, it is found that melinjo strobili are rich in polyphenol component which is called resveratrol. The resveratrol substances that found in melinjo is identified as dimer form and was published in XXIII International Conference on Polyphenols, Canada, in 2006.

Melinjo resveratrol, having antibacterial and antioxidative activity (Hisada, H., et al., 2005), exhibit good effects as food preservative, off flavour inhibitor and taste enhancer (Santoso, M., et al., 2008). And make an important step on food industries which do not use any synthetic chemicals in their processes.

At the present, Melinjo Extract is produced and supervised under cooperation between Indonesian Agricultural Association (NOFA (id:KTNA) ; Ikamaja's Mother Organization) and JASMELINDO (Japanese Non-Profit Organization), to protect certain profit for Indonesian farmers.