[Health Benefits] The Fragrant Pandan
Pandan, also known as the Fragrant Screwpine;  Pandanus Amaryllifolius (Southeast Asia) is a plant from the Pandanaceae family that is native to South and Southeast Asia. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it's leaves are often used to wrap food - namely chicken, fish and other dessert and then cooked over a fire or steamed to add a beautiful floral aroma to the food.
Scientifically, Pandan has a lot of medical benefits.  They are rich in antioxidant carotenoids; like lutein, alpha and beta caotenes, zeaxanthin and vitamin E analogues. That is one of the reasons it is used very commonly in South East Asia for cooking and as traditional medicine. Some of the benefits are as follows:
- Treatment for rheumatism -  pandan leaves can be soaked in coconut oil and used as a balm of arthritis; i.e dab them on the affected area for joint inflammation
- Relieves headache, general body pain, fever, high blood pressure - the aroma of the fragrant pandan leaves can help your body relax and diminish pain. Brew some pandan tea with the leaves - or if you want it easier, you can brew it with some pandan powder!
- Skin health, hair loss and dandruff prevention -  pandan can be infused with water into a paste and then used as a natural shampoo to heal skin, scalp and also combined with other natural materials i.e. hibiscus, false daisy, plum aralia leaves, jasmine and rose flower petals to nourish the hair
- Detoxifies the body - pandan has a detoxifying factor. Coupled with another detoxifying ingredient - lemongrass, you can brew a unique detox tea with a combination of two fragrances.
- Remedy for Toothache - a traditional and natural remedy for toothache as passed down in many Asian households is to chew on pandan leaves or to rub the leaves on the problematic gum area - this would also work in powder form, which makes it much more easier to apply.
- Anti-Cancer -  a study done and published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2014 shows that pandan leaves can be ingested twice a day to prevent cancer due to it's medical qualities
- Postnatal recuperation - the "confinement" period for women after childbirth is vital for their body, pandan helps speed up the recovery - and as such it is one of the ingredients in many postnatal confinement foods
- General Well Being -  pandan tea can also improve appetite, suppress anxiety and enhance stamina
Besides that, pandan is also prominent in the culinary world. It can be used to provide fragrance to different food and also give a green hue as a natural food colorant. Chances are that if you have lived in Asia and have tried Asian food, you would probably have come across it before!
Here are some pandan based products at SavourOfAsia:
- Pandan Kaya Spreads - DOLLEE Pandan Kaya, Golden Light Pandan Kaya, Kayamila Coconut Pandan Spread
- Pandan Snacks - Lao Zhi Hao Pandan Bean Pastry
- Pandan Cakes - Pandan Butter Cake, Kek Lapis/Layer Cakes
- Pandan Powder - MyBlueTea Pandan Powder
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Citations and References:
-  Engineers, NBC 2006, The Complete Book on Spices & Condiments (with Cultivation, Processing & Uses) 2nd Revised Edition: How to Start Spices Processing Business, Small-Scale Spice Processing, Cultivation of Spices in India, Spice Growing, Spices Farming, Profitable Spices to Grow, Growing Spices, How to Grow Spices, Spice Cultivation, Spices and Condiments, Cultivation of Spices, Cultivation of Spice Crops, Spices Grown in India, Condiments & Spices, Spices and Condiments Cultivation, Spices and Condiments Processing, Asia Pacific Business Press.
-  Peter, KV 2012, Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Elsevier Science.
-  Institute, FR, Research, PE & Bureau, D 1981, Canopy International, Forest Research Institute.
- [4,6] 19 Health Benefits of Pandan Leaves that You Might Not Aware n.d.,The-Benefits.com <http://the-benefits.com/pandan-leaves/>
-  Raj, Gunti Gowtham et al. “Anticancer Studies of Aqueous Extract of Roots and Leaves of Pandanus Odoratissimus f. ferreus (Y. Kimura) Hatus: An In Vitro Approach” Journal of traditional and complementary medicine vol. 4,4 (2014): 279-84.
Disclaimer: All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. If you are a patient using this information, you should seek assistance from a health care professional when interpreting these materials and applying them to your individual circumstances. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your general practitioner. Information provided does not imply endorsement of third-party products and cannot provide you with health and medical advice.