*This is the first of a series.
Ever since I had Naima, I seem to have transferred my interest in bag/clothes/bargains shopping to shopping and researching for baby stuff. If I need to buy a product, I read reviews and look for the best price. Throughout my 16 months (and going) nursing journey, I've amassed numerous products (some of them unnecessary) for breastfeeding. I've had several friends ask me where to get the products I have. Some were purchased abroad, some locally. I've come up with a list of products locally available as a ready shopping/resource list for nursing moms.
One of the concerns of a nursing mom is: "will I have enough milk". In reality, the average mom will have enough milk and does not really need galactagogues to maintain or increase supply. When I was directly nursing Naima (and did not pump), my milk supply was enough for her. When I started working and using the pump, I felt that I was not producing enough and needed to take something to increase milk production. I think that this "feeling" of not being able to produce enough milk is experienced by moms all over. Thus, galactagogues (or substances to increase milk) is being recommended everywhere -- from blessed thistle, domperidone, fenugreek, oatmeal, alfalfa and even Horlicks (yum!).
For Filipino moms, the galactagogue readily available is malunggay. Malunggay has gained quite a following and now comes in several forms. Biotech for Life Media and Advocacy Resource Center has compiled a comprehensive list of malunggay products currently out in the market. I've listed malunggay products that I know of from that list and some other products not included in that list. I have tried several and will include my reviews of these products.
The following malunggay capsules are currently available:
Pro-Lacta is manufactured by Pascual Laboratories and distributed by Altermed (4119907; 9258468; 9286750). Each tablet contains 350mg of Malunggay powdered leaves and costs about 6.65p at mercury and 6.75p at Watson's. Altermed has been aggressively marketing Pro-Lacta and I've seen in them in several parenting/pregnancy/breastfeeding sessions and activities I have attended.
Natalac is manufactured by Metropolitan Pharmaceuticals (807-9756/2782) and costs 8.95p each at Mercury Drug and 9p at Watson's. This was the brand recommended by my ob-gyne that I take at 36 weeks of pregnancy. I took it then eventually realized that it didn't give me much value for money. Each capsule contained 250mg only and was more expensive than Pro-Lacta. So I switched to Pro-lacta instead.
I found Sun Angel Malunggay capsules on the internet and read about them in the newspaper. Each capsule contains 500mg of pure malunggay -- the most that I've found in the market. However, they sell the capsules by the bottle - with 50 capsules costing 400p (8p). After Pro-Lacta, I switched to Sun Angel capsules. The only problem I have is that they are not yet readily available in the drug stores and I have make sure that I am able to order before my stocks run out.
I also inquired from Dr. Lester Lora, a retired pediatrician who is a breastfeeding advocate. She is now focused on promoting breastfeeding through trainings and seminars. She also sells malunggay capsules and can be contacted at 9273475 or 09173676568 or email at email@example.com. I think her capsules are 350mg and cost 6.50p each. Another company selling malunggay capsules is Moringana by Organics Asia. I met their Managing Director during the L.A.T.C.H. peer counsellor training. Their capsules are 300mg but I didn't get to ask about the price.
Aside from capsules, with the emergence of malunggay as a super vegetable, several products have been introduced in the market. One that I use daily is Sun Angel's malunggay herb tea (168p for a box of 20). They also have a malunggay camote tea (240p for a box of 20) but I didn't like it. It tasted slightly bitter. Polvoron (15p) and malunggay powder (85p) are also available. I thought the polvoron tasted too sweet. The malunggay powder is a healthy addition to the kitchen -- you can easily add this to soup stock, baby cereal, oatmeal, etc. to fortify it. Aside from Sun Angel, Moringana also sells malunggay powder and promote it to used as beverage mix and salad garnish, among others.
I believe that Moringana's products are available in ECHOstore (901-3485) in Serendra. ECHOstore also carries malunggay chips (60p) and malunggay pesto (199p). One interesting malunggay product I want to try is Butchie's Recipe's malunggay ice cream. Butchie's (385-0387) is in Wilson St., San Juan and I definitely have to make a trip there this summer to try this ice cream. I also want to check out the Sun Angel Malunggay Tea House whose menu will include a variety of malunggay products, from shakes, burgers, cookies and muffins. This tea house is located at Unit 101 AIC Gold Tower Emerald Ave. cor Garnet Road Ortigas Center, Pasig. Another place which serves malunggay ice cream is Elfav Ice Creamery in Paranaque. They will be opening another branch but nowhere near me -- in Robinson's Galleria.
As for Malunggay bread, I have only tried it once, bought at our employees' cooperative store. It costs P20 per piece. It tasted like ordinary bread but had a green tinge. I wasn't able to find out where our cooperative sources this malunggay bread. In Makati, Paul Calvin’s Deli in Forbes Town Center sells malunggay muffins and loaves. In Mandaluyong, Powernut (4802079) at 2nd Floor, GSquare Arcade, Barangka, Mandaluyong also sells malunggay bread and other products with malunggay. If you'd like to bake the bread yourself, Heny Sison has created recipes for malunggay bread, pasta and polvoron. This blog is also a great source of other malunggay recipes.
Meanwhile, if you're vacationing outside Manila, you could still get your malunggay fix in Albay at Ben's Baker [(063-52) 824-0233 / (0928) 300-1756] in Maroroy, Daraga, Albay or in Ilocos Sur, where you can get Bungro Ice Cream [(077)-726-4068], which comes in malunggay flavor, among others, in San Ildefonso town and Malunggay cake in 4 Stars Bakeshop in Sto. Domingo town.
*Update: 25 April 2009
Every Friday to Sunday, SM Hypermart in Mall of Asia has some special vendors inside the supermarket. There used to be Adelina's Ham and Bounty Fresh (which sells chicks and organic eggs). When I visited today, one of the new vendors was PowerNut. I'm happy that I don' t have to go all the way to Mandaluyong to buy their goods. According to the salesperson, they just started last week.
Their flier states they are "the first Malunggay Specialty Store.
in the Philippines that manufacture snacks and drinks fortified their Malunggay." Their product list is impressive! They sell malunggay capsules made by Life Pure Wellness at 400p for an 80-piece bottle. Each capsule contains 500mg (GH Malunggay C is made of 460 mg. pure malunggay leaf powder and 40 mg. sodium ascorbate. It is packed in gelatin capsules and has a genuine weight of 500 mg.). This comes out to about 5p per piece and will be cheaper than Sun Angel. I definitely will try this brand once my current stock runs out. They also have some malunggay pancit canton (80p for 500g) by J. Sesgundo Pancit Factory of San Miguel, Bato, Camarines Sur (09272948900 or 09184098181). We will be trying these malunggay noodles for our next pancit canton meal.
Aside from capsules, they also sell bakery goods made by PowerNut, all malunggay-fortified. They have butterfinger cookies (60p), diabetic crackers (45p), oatmeal cookies (65p for 6, 12@), Choco cookies (12@), pandesal (65p for 10), breadsticks (85p for about a dozen or so) and pulvoron (35p for 10). They also have malunggay powder (30p for 10g; 150p for 100g) and malunggay tea (12p for 1 teabag). They even have Am (30p for 1 serving) for babies and malunggay juice (25p for 1 bottle of about 250ml). I got some pandesal and breadsticks for Naima. And since MoA is just nearby, will definitely be back to stock up next week. Tip: It is cheaper to buy direct from PowerNut -- SM adds on to their price about 10p or so.
Aside from PowerNut, one of the regular vendors was MSC (Muñoz Science City) which sells various kinds of teas. Among the teas they sell is malunggay tea at 143p for 12 bags (comes out to about 11.91p per bag -- Sun Angel is still cheaper!). Muñoz Science City Food Products (of Nueva Ecija) can be reached through 09108034265 or 044-4565768. Other products include lemongrass and ginger teas, rice coffee, instant salabat, coffee rice in filter and rice cookies.
*Update 19 June 2009:
I have almost finished the entire bag of PowerNut Malunggay tea I purchased (I bought 20 bags). I have to say that the SunAngel brand is better. The PowerNut tea was "mapakla". I also tried the MSC malunggay tea but found it too light. So now, I've gone back to SunAngel tea - the plain malunggay one (not the malunggay-camote, which is expensive and weird tasting!).
Other posts in this series:
Clothes, clothes, clothes!