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Bacopa Monniere - Papait Plant or Waterhyssop

Updated on September 6, 2018
Papait plants in a pot. (Bacopa monnieri)
Papait plants in a pot. (Bacopa monnieri) | Source

With our love with gardening, and seeing both my parents tend our vegetable garden, there's this one small plant that is always present on our small garden for about three years now, that is if I'm not mistaken. This annual herb had never failed to get back to life every Spring with the tiny, oblong-shaped leaves slowly gaining back its greeny color once again and then as Summer approaches, turns even more greener and livelier. This is the papait, as we call it.

Bacopa monniere, or the papait as we call it, is a herb with a bitter taste just like bitter melon. It grows wildly on empty lots, reseeding itself resulting for more sarsalida to be harvested and enjoyed to whoever would discover its area.

Memories with papait plant:

Back when I was about 5 or 6 years old, I have memories of me excitedly walking along with my mom as she invites me to come with her to a nearby empty acre where the papait wildly grows. My mother would happily harvest the papait she sees while I followed her around, telling me how good those papait are and that she's looking forward on having it on either lunch or dinner.

Eating Papait:

Of all those years, there's only one way I had seen my parents and Ilocano relatives indulge themselves with papait, and that is boiled papait leaves enjoyed with diced tomatoes, onions,and sometimes with diced green mango and seasoned with soy sauce and lime or with fermented shrimp sauce. I knew there would be another way that some people may enjoy this bitter herb, and on my way around the web, here's what I found:

* This could be enjoyed stir fried. Your choice of vegetables whether you want it with potatoes, or yam maybe and other greens.

* Either raw or blanched, papait herb is consumed with potatoes, onions, and bagoong (fermented fish or shrimp sauce.) This is the way I've always seen my mom enjoy this plant.

* Despite the bitterness, some people enjoys sauteed papait with tomatoes and ground meat.

* Added to sauteed mung beans.

* Some cooked this together with egg.

Photo taken May 2nd. The papait herb, also called in some other names such as maligoso and sekan. And the other plant on the right, is called kalunay, but that would be another story.
Photo taken May 2nd. The papait herb, also called in some other names such as maligoso and sekan. And the other plant on the right, is called kalunay, but that would be another story. | Source

Above are the papait plant we have on a pot. With the weather getting hot, it is now turning all green like its supposed to be and starting to branch out. On Summer days, this papait would spread, covering the whole pot with its tiny leaves. It also bears flowers, little white flowers appears on hotter days.

The papait plant on our patio. Photo taken June 06, 2013.
The papait plant on our patio. Photo taken June 06, 2013. | Source

Health Benefits and Uses Of Papait:

* Papait or known as bacopa monniere, is used to treat anemia, worm infestation and even malaria.

* The juice is used to sooth itchy skin, and herb is also used in Mali for inflammation and intestinal parasites.

* Eating papait can help on lowering blood sugar level.

* Papait is considered a stomachi and antiseptic.

Planting papait: So how do you plant papait? If you live in the province where it wildly grows, you are lucky. But if you want to have them around so you can harvest some whenever you feel like having some, soak papait stems in a glass of water and watch them grow roots and transplant them. Or just plant them directly on the soil.

Do you know about this herb?

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After a month, I had taken another photo of the papait plant in the pot and here it is below, ready to reach the pavement. And when that happens, that means fresh papait for my mom who loves this herb.

Below are photos of my uncle's papait plants in pots when we dropped by to his place 9th of June. We went first to the parish fiesta and since his home is so close, we paid him a visit.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
And these are my uncle's papait plant. Also called maligoso.
And these are my uncle's papait plant. Also called maligoso.
And these are my uncle's papait plant. Also called maligoso. | Source

Papait plants on pots.

Above video of papait plants in pots was taken when dad, mom and I dropped by to uncle's place one Summer. Mom was happy to harvest and she was looking forward into blanching them and having them with tomatoes and fermented fish (bagoong.)


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    • profile image


      3 months ago

      thank you for the article,its very helpful to know about this herbal plant

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      3 years ago from USA

      Hi Christine. What kind of help? Like you mean you're thinking of a product idea out of this plant? Like a herb capsule maybe? My parents would also consume this plant raw and with chopped tomatoes, chives, and sometimes chopped onions with fish sauce or soy sauce.

    • profile image

      Christine almond 

      3 years ago

      Hello can you i find some help with this plant? Im searching what kind product should i can i do with this amazing plants, i easily recognized this because of my grandmother usually eay this and sauted it with tomatoes and garlic. I want to make it useful to all people, help me guess and search. Thanks!

    • profile image

      roy aragon 

      3 years ago

      the one in the photo and article here (bacopa monnieri), is called "ngalog" in ilokano. this is not the papait (mollugo oppositifolia) of the ilokanos.

      papait is a favorite wild vegetable of mine, it's available all year round and grows in the wild around. i love papait salad with kamatis, bugguong and lasona. it's also good in dinengdeng and boiled mongo. surely it's the bitterest leafy greens there is.

      see these links for some papait dishes:

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      Hi Ronald. Thanks for leaving comment here. Always a pleasure to read comments from guests letting me know they got on my hub. :) Search for bacopa monnieri, the papait plant will show up. I found one that sells the herb but most are powdered.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thank You soo much Precy for making this site! I fount it on ebay the papait herb (but it's Vietnamese bitter herb) but they look the same anyway...

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      Hi Segu:

      Thank you for pointing that out. Yeah, looks more like the first one you said, bacopa monnieri. It is bacopa monnieri. :)

    • profile image

      Segu Mohamed Kasim 

      4 years ago

      The plant shown appears to be either Bacopa monnieri or Portulaca oleracea (Purslane)and not Mullugo oppositifolia. M.oppositifolia will not have uniform leaves and will have profuse flowers with long pedicle on each node.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      @ Elisa:

      Hi Elisa. I've also heard it was called maligoso :) I too tried and checked out Ebay and Amazon but I cannot find a seller to help you on looking for this plant. I don't think there's a seller online, or if there's is, it was hard to find him/her.

      What I can suggest is, on markets, I read somewhere online that some sellers on market sell some papait plants. But you really need to be on the right market at the right day. :) Or if you have Ilocano neighbors or friends, ask them around maybe they know someone who knows who have the plant or knows where to buy some. We haven't tried planting maligoso by seeds, all our maligoso was from cuttings.

      Hope that helps :) I'll try search more and post a comment again if I found a site.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hello Precy, Thank you for posting this topic about Papait, we call it Maligoso in my province of Pampanga. I have been looking online for seeds so I can have my own Papait in my garden. How can I purchase some seeds or cuttings to plant?

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      And thank you for stopping by Drbj! ^-^' Maybe one day you'll come across this bitter herb. :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks to you, precy, I am easily becoming more knowledgeable about many Filipino vegetables (and fruits) that you write about - the papait included.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Avian :) We also had used the empty lot for planting vegetables and selling them on the market. Seems like just yesterday. Thanks for stopping by! Have a good evening!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I like how you and your family live off the land. Such good things are out there for free that are so good for you.


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