Bignai Tropical Tea
Antidesma bunius is more popularly known as the Philippine currant or Bignai. It is a medium-sized evergreen tree that grows wild in slopes of secondary forests, along river banks and in clearings between rural villages in the Philippines. It is indigenous to India, Ceylon and other Southeast Asian countries, and particularly popular in Indonesia. The tree itself is attractive enough, with a wide canopy of shiny and dark green leaves, but every year it turns into a stunning tapestry of color from May to August.
During the fruit bearing season, the sight of the tree can make you stop in your tracks and stare. Long bunches of fruit in various stages of ripeness hang from branches, ranging in colors from white and pink when still immature, and red and almost black when fully ripe and ready for picking. The fruit's flavor also undergoes a transformation from sour and acidic, to juicy and tart-sweet. The tree is prolific and just one healthy and mature specimen can produce up to 200 kilos of fruit, to the delight of people, birds, bats and other creatures of the wild. A "superior" variety of the Antidesma bunius is reported to thrive in the Cordillera mountain range in northern Philippines where many tribal Filipinos live.
The Philippine Bignai is wild-crafted-collected from trees that grow in the wild in their natural surroundings, and not "mass cultivated" in farms. Wild-crafted plants are considered richer in nutrients and more beneficial for your health. Bignai fruit and its tender young leaves are eaten raw and used as souring agents in cooking. The ripe berries are processed into mouth watering and top quality jam, jelly, vinegar, brandy and wine that have an extremely long shelf life. The Neuleaf Bignai Tropical Tea, made from this exotic and unique berry, is pleasantly sweet-tart and extremely refreshing, whether served hot or cold, plain or flavored with a little honey.