Sitsaro is an annual climber with compound leaves terminated by branched tendrils. Stems are hollow. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, with auricled stipules. Stipules are conspicuous, larger than the leaflets and with indentations on the lower part. Leaflets are obovate, entire, 2 to 4 centimeters long. Peduncles are 1- to 2-flowered. Inflorescences occur at the leaf axils. Flowers are white, pink or purple, developing into inflated pods. Pods are straight or curved, 5 to 10 centimeters long, containing 6 to 9 seeds. Ripe seeds are round, smooth, or wrinkled.
Peas have hypogeal germination: the cotyledons remain enclosed within the seed coat beneath the soil surface. Flowers are white, developing into inflated pods.
- Grows well in Baguio and at lower elevations during cool months.
- Chinese variety adapted to warmer climates.
- Cultivated for its young pods and mature seeds.
Sitsaro (Pisum sativum) is the most expensive vegetable legume in the Philippines. There are several types: garden peas, English peas, or green peas (P. sativum var. sativum); field peas or soup peas (P. sativum var. ravense); and flat, edible-podded snow peas known as mangeout peas, sugar peas, or Chinese peas (P. sativum var macrocarpon).
Garden peas are grown for their green peas, field peas for their dried seeds. In the Philippines, the snow pea, with its flat pod, is the most commonly grown. The group also includes snap pea,with its thick, full-bodied, round, edible pods, and sweet, full-sized peas, with the pods snapping when bent like fresh green beans. (7)
- Seeds yield trypsin and
- Green and ripe fruits and seeds yield starch, albuminoids, galactolipids, alkaloids, trigonelline and piplartine, essential oil, and carbohydrates.
- 100 grams of edible portion of fresh sweet pea pods contain: 67 kcalories, water 82.4 g, protein 3 g, fat 0.4 g, carbohydrate 12.8 g, dietary fiber 2.1g, ash 1.4 g, calcium 92 mg, phosphorus 48 mg, iron 1.2 mg, vitamin A 52.0 µg, thiamin 0.16 mg, riboflavin 0.09 mg, niacin 1.0 mg, ascorbic acid 67.0mg. (The Philippine Food Composition Tables, 1997. (Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology/FNRI-DOST)
- Green and ripe fruits and seeds yield starch, albuminoids, an oil, galactolipids, alkaloids, trigonelline, and pilartine, essential oil, and soluble carbohydrates. Leaf, petiole, tendril, and stems yielded kaempferol-3-triglucoside, quercetin-3-triglucoside, and their p-coumaric esters. Germinating pea seedlings yield high concentration of D-alanine. Free homoserine has bee detected in the seeds and pods.
- Sweetish and tasty vegetable.
- Seed considered contraceptive, ecbolic, fungistatic, spermicidal.
- Seeds reported to cause dysentery if eaten raw.
- Flour considered emollient and resolvent.
Edibility / Nutritional
- Seeds and leaves are edible.
- Immature seedpods, raw or cooked.
- Mature seeds can be ground into powder and added to flour.
- Mature seeds are rich in protein.
- Roasted seed used as coffee substitute.
- Leaves and young shoots used as pot herb.
- Young leaves and shoots used as potherb; young shoots used in salads.
- Caution: Seeds reported to cause dysentery when eaten raw.
- Poultice prepared from dried and powdered seeds use for acne and other skin complaints.
- Flour considered emollient and resolvent, applied as cataplasm.
- Seed oil, taken monthly, believed to prevent pregnancy.
• Anticancer: Study evaluated aqueous and methanol extracts of four Leguminosae species--Pisum sativum, Phaesolus vulgaris, Vigna sinensis, and Sestina grandiflora--for cytotoxic potential against a cervical cancer cell line, CaSki. The methanol extract of Pisum sativum was active against CaSki cells with IC50 value of 14.8. Results suggest Leguminosae species may possess potential anticancer properties.(2)
• Amino Acid Content: Study evaluated the amino acid content of selected varieties of P. sativum. Most of all essential amino acid profile of total seed proteins compared favorably with FAP/WHO requirements except for phenylalanine. Pisum sativum grown in Central Europe are rich in lycine, leucine and arginine and can fulfill the essential amino acid content of human diet. (3)
• Dermatologic Benefits / Photoprotective / Self-Tanning / Increase Melanin Production: Pisum sativum extract provides a new approach as a safe tanning active, increasing the skin's melanin production, and preparing the skin for a healthy tan. The extract reduces inflammatory mediators produced during sunburn. Botanical and eco-friendly, it presents a potential for use in skin care, sun care, and self-tanning preparations. (4)
• Catecholamines / L-Dopa and Dopamine: Catecholamines are key metabolites found in the nervous system and endogenous deficiency is associated with patho-physiological disorders. Study investigated the amount of L-DOPA and dopamine in the leaves and roots of three species of legume family viz. Pisum sativum (garden pea), Phaseolus vulgaris (haricot bean) and Vicia faba (broad bean). Results showed all three cultivars accumulated different levels of L-DOPA and dopamine in leaves and roots. (10)
• Antibacterial / Skin and Seeds: Screening of seeds and skin of Pisum sativum showed good antibacterial activity when screened against 56 bacterial isolates. (11)
• Effect of Mild Hydrothermal Treatment of Pea Flour: Mild hydrothermal treatment of pea flour produced reductions in levels of α-galactosides, phyhtic acid, and trypsin inhibitors, together with a significant increase in digestive utilization of protein and carbohydrates. (12)
• Pericarp as Biologically Active Waste Product: Study evaluated the pericarp waste product for phytochemicals and biologic activity. Phenolic content was 27.5 mg/g. Analysis revealed eight phenolic acids (cinnamic, chlorogenic, vanillic, coumaric, ferulic, caffeic, gallic, and syringic) and three isoflavones (daidzein, genistein, and formononetin). Carbohydrate analysis identified glucose, fructose, sucrose, and rhamnose. Saponifiable matter showed significant anti-inflammatory activity. An aqueous-acetone extract showed potential hyperglycemic activity. (13)
• Adsorbent for Fe Removal from Industrial Waste: Study showed the sulphuric acid-treated shell of Pisum sativum showed to be an efficient low-cost adsorbent for removal of toxic Fe (II) from aqueous solution. (14)
• Adsorbent for Chromium Removal / Seed Husk: Study showed Pisum sativum seed husk has potential as adsorbent for the adsorption of Cr (VI) metal ions from aqueous solution. (15)