Pandan or screwpine is an evergreen plant with an aroma compound which makes a flavorful taste to any dessert, even plain rice or sticky rice. The leaves are the main part that is utilized in cooking for flavoring of food. It even imparts a greenish hue in rice cakes or suman when used as flavoring.
Asians use pandan leaves must like Westerners use vanilla for flavoring. Thai people call it Baey Toey while Indonesian and Malaysian call it daun pandan. Filipinos call it dahong pandan, (dahon means leaf in English).
The pandan plant likes moisture and thrives in swampy areas or close to the stream. I remember when I was young, my mom keeps pandan plant close to the marsh area where we live. She makes sure she always have ready to use leaves if she wants to make bilo-bilo*or bibingka* two of our favorite snacks or merienda*( coffee break or tea time).
The plant never flowers so to propagate, cut a young shoot and let it root in a fine soil before transplanting in the ground.
I am not familiar with the medicinal value of pandan but if you use it to flavor “salabat” our ginger tea, it will definitely improve the taste of the tea and so more refreshing to drink.
They say that keeping leaves around the kitchen especially under the sink, will repel the roaches from invading the area. The roaches don’t like the smell of the pandan leaves so no need buying those chemical sprays, just buy pandan leaves from the Asian market or in my case, Chinatown.