Pansit-Pansitan: Peperomia pellucida
It also grows in the Americas but it proliferates more in Asia, especially in deep Asia. As a kid I always saw this Asian herb growing along street canals, damp walls, and at the side of rocks. Old folks called them pansit-pansitan (or "looking like noodles"). I didn't know that this herb was edible and could be used for curing certain ailments.
By the way, I must hastily stress right at the start, that pansit-pansitan not grown in gardens should not be eaten outright. Make sure that they're clean and grown in a clean environment. Peperomia pellucida grown just anywhere may be contaminated by animal or human urine or excrement, and you should keep out from this.
Unfinished concrete hollow block fences often damp are favorite breeding places of this Asian herb, and if you know it to be free from dirt and other contaminants then you may use it for brewing and healing purposes.
Remember: Always make sure your herbs are clean and sourced from clean environs, and that they are really edible. Always consult food and health experts before trying anything.
Prostaglandin synthesis is reportedly responsible for its seeming analgesic properties. In certain amounts Peperomia has anti-inflamatory and even chemotherapeutic properties. This amazing Asian herb also has natural antibiotic contents that fight certain bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The extract from Peperomia dried leaves has antifungal effects to fight Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Some folk herbalists claim a lot more cures that Pansit-pansitan gives. The herb is collected both as dried and planted plants. However, in some cases of treatment, the herb may produce symptoms similar to asthma in patients. Thus, some people also stay away from it and prefer more ordinary types of herbals.
So far, there is no report of anyone being poisoned by Peperomia or pansit-pansitan.
What some people in Deep Asia do to try new herbs is to take a bit (a half cup or lesser) and observe themselves for a day. Any sign of weird symptoms, they go to the local health center. If after a day nothing alarming happens, they conclude that the herb is safe for them.
Some people who want extra precautions have the brew examined in a laboratory, and the results studied by a food technologist.
The stem of peperomia herbs look like mongo sprouts, but other people see it as similar to Chinese noodles. They are crunchy. Some people in deep Asia sauté them in some oil and crushed garlic and chopped onions. They taste like any sprouted veggie--crisp and juicy and watery. Put in some pork cubes for taste. Sometimes they smell like mustard. Some folks eat it raw and mix it with other green veggies for a crunchy salad. The whole herb--from roots to stems to the red heart-shape leaves, are eaten. So wash the whole thing thoroughly.
Peperomia is not sold in markets. You get them for free from exposed walls and damp places, but no one plants them in gardens intentionally. Pansit-pansitan, in fact, is not that popular as an edible or medicinal herb even in deep Asia. But it is gradually gaining fame in this age of herbal wellness.
In the Philippines, most rustic folks in central Luzon are familiar with this herb. Some of them intently hunt for them mostly as a medicinal herb to cure kidney troubles and urinary tract infections. Some use them sparingly to decorate vegetable salads or fried food dishes.