farmeric August 9th, 2009
WikiPedia defined Taro (or Gabi in the Philippines) as:
Taro (pronounced /ˈtɑroʊ/) is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and secondarily as a leaf vegetable. It is considered a staple in oceanic cultures. It is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants. In its raw form the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, although the toxin is destroyed by cooking or can be removed by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight. Taro is closely related to Xanthosoma and Caladium, plants commonly grown as ornamentals, and like them it is sometimes loosely called elephant ear. The name “taro” is from Tahitian or other Polynesian languages; the plant is also called kalo (from Hawaiian), gabi in The Philippines, dalo in Fiji, seppankizhangu in Tamil, Arvee in Hindi and Karkalo in Nepali.
Local names: aba (Ilk.); aua (Ilk.); abalong (Bis.); amoang (Bon.); gabi (Tag.); pising (Bon.); dagmai (Bis.); kimpoi (Bis.); lagbai (Tag., Bis.); linsa (Bik.); lubigan (If.), natong (Bik.); taro (Engl.); aro (Sp.).
Gabi, or taro, is generally cultivated throughout the Philippines but is not a native of the Archipelago. It is pantropic in cultivation.
Gabi is variable in size and grows from 30 to 150 centimeters in height. The rootstock is tuberous, and up to 10 centimeters in diameter, short or elongated. The leaves, in groups of two or three or more, are long-petioled, ovate, 20 to 50 centimeters long, glaucous, with entire margin, and a broad, triangular, basal sinus extending one-third or half-way to the insertion of the petiole, with the basal lobes broad, rounded. The petioles are green or purplish, and are 0.2 to 1 meter long. The peduncles are usually solitary. The spathe is variable n length but usually about 20 centimeters long, the tubular part green, usually about 4 centimeters long, with the lanceolate, involute, yellow limb about 20 centimeters long. The spadix is cylindric, about half as long as the spathe, green below, yellow or straw-colored above; the male and female inflorescence are each 2.5 to 5 centimeters long, separated by intervals and covered with flat oblong neuters.
Gabi, or taro, is prized chiefly on account of its large corms, or underground stems, which are a staple food in many localities. It has a high starch content, and on this account is very nutritious. The leaves and petioles of gabi are also considerably used as leafy vegetables, and both are very good sources of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. The leaves and petioles of gabi are not only excellent as to taste but also rich in minerals. According to Hermano and Sepulveda, the corms, petioles and leaf blades are all fair sources to Nadkarni.
Kirtikar and Basu, Degener, and Chopra report that the pressed juice of the petioles is styptic, and may be used to arrest arterial hemorrhage. It is sometimes used in earache and otorrhoea and also an external stimulant and rubefacient. Kirtikar and Basu, quote Dr. Thornton, asserting that the juice of the corm of this species is used in cases of alopecia. Internally it acts as a laxative, and is used in cases of piles and congestion of the portal system, and also an antidote to the stings of wasps and other insects.
The acridity of the leaves, petioles, and tubers is due to raphides, but these usually disappear on boiling or cooking. The physiological symptoms caused by these stinging crystals are purely mechanical.
Nadkarni further states that the heated tubers are locally applied to painful parts in rheumatism. The ash of the tuber mixed with honey is applied for aphthae in the mouth. Honigberger records that in the Punjab and in Cashmere the roots are used in catarrh and colic. Degener states that in Hawaii the raw juice of gabi is given to drink, mixed with sugar, as a febrifuge.
source: http://bpi.da.gov.phHow To Grow GabiMedicinal Plants: A Las CuatroHow to Plant Malunggay