Water Hyacinth: From Worthless Weeds to Java Jade Noodles

Everyone may have heard of water hyacinth. You may think of a lot of water hyacinth floating on the water surface. Some may think that it has no benefit to them. Today, ACU PAY will show you how to process worthless water hyacinth into Java jade noodles which can generate income, as well as how to put it to good use. If you’re ready, let’s start!


The water hyacinth was brought from Indonesia to Thailand in 1901, during the reign of King Rama V.  It is a beautiful ornamental plant which was brought back by the head of the ladies of the court when she followed the visit to Indonesia. Since the water hyacinth flower is very beautiful, she decided to bring it and plant it in the clay basin in front of the field of Sra Pathum Palace. Until one day, there was a flood at Sra Pathum Palace. As a result, water hyacinths were floating away and were distributed along the rivers and canals in general until it has been widely propagated until now.

The water hyacinth is a widely-known floating plant and is often seen as worthless plants. However, it is an alien species originating from South Africaม especially Brazil. It can be classified as a plant that invades Thai water sources because water hyacinths can grow and propagate very quickly and withstand various environmental conditions. In a month, one water hyacinth can propagate up to 1000 and have a life expectancy of up to 15 years.

Water Hyacinth can be processed into Java jade noodles

The rapid propagation of water hyacinths affects the ecosystem. Due to the difficulty in getting rid of it, Thai people have ideas to process it into goods which help generate income for people. Thais have used water hyacinths to process a variety of things, such as fertilizer or weave into bags, baskets, and clothes. Recently, the water hyacinths have been processed into noodles called “Java jade noodles”.

Non-Formal Education (NFE) of , Nong Nam Sai Subdistrict, Phachi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, together with Community enterprise group, process water hyacinths into Java jade noodles that is edible and pass safety standards without chemical residue. Apart from the deliciousness, it also has properties as an antidote to toxins in the body. It helps to release the wind and cool the body well.

Are Java jade noodles really edible?

It is actually edible. Although water hyacinths are everywhere floating on Thai water sources, water hyacinths are high in dietary fiber, many vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. 

Cons of Water Hyacinth

It can be an obstacle in shipping routes, an obstacle to the reproduction of local fish such as a breeding ground for pests, and poisonous animals, and irrigation such as reducing water flow rate, etc. 

Since we have already looked at the cons, let’s move on to the pros of the water hyacinths.

What are the properties of water hyacinth?

  1. The stem of the water hyacinth is tasteless. It has properties to help detoxify or expel toxins within the body, drive the wind, and treat inflammatory wounds by pounding them roughly and applying or masking them around the wound.
  2. It is a delicious and nutritious food. The most popular parts to eat are young shoots, young leaves, and young flowers, which can be scalded or boiled as vegetables to be dipped in chili paste or you can add it in curry like sour curry. It is also found that in Japan, they like to eat water hyacinths as food as well but must come from a good environment without any toxic substances.
  3. The water hyacinths have properties that help cool down the body. 
  4. It’s an old-fashioned medicine that helps relieve knee pain and joint pain. It uses clean water hyacinths to wash, cut into small pieces, dry and grind into powder, dissolve with water a little thickly, and cover various parts of the body with pain such as knees, elbows, ankles, wrists, etc. It has properties to reduce pain and release wind remaining in the joints.
  5. The water hyacinths contain nutritional nutrients that are beneficial to the body including energy, water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and dietary fiber.
  6. The water hyacinths are useful for cultivating mushrooms because they provide good moisture. Just dry them in the sun, and can be used to grow mushrooms instead of rice straw. This helps us eat useful mushrooms and producers can generate income as well. 
  7. The water hyacinths are useful for animal feed because, in addition to various nutrients that are good for people, they can also be beneficial to animals. Thus, they can be used as food for animals such as pigs, cows, buffalo, sheep, goats, and chickens.However, you should be careful of the water hyacinths from polluted sources of water. If animals eat them, toxic accumulations can occur and cause harm to animals.
  8.  The water hyacinths can be processed into various appliances such as weave machines, mats, slippers, bags, baskets, etc.

The young leaves of the water hyacinths contain high fiber and chlorophyll, which are beneficial to the body. How to process the young leaves of the water hyacinth into noodles starts with blending the young leaves finely, and mixing them with wheat flour, eggs, and salt. Then knead and put into a machine to produce fresh noodles that are clean, hygienic, aromatic, and have an appetizing appearance. 

In addition, parts of water hyacinth can be used to cook a variety of dishes such as sour soup with water hyacinth stems, water hyacinth stem spicy salad, and java chili paste.

The use of some parts of water hyacinths to create a menu or process not only to solve the problem of the water hyacinth that has been propagated too quickly but also to create a career and income for the community. The market is both domestically and internationally such as exporting the water hyacinths to Japan which also generates very good income.

That’s all about the water hyacinth. What is your opinion on the water hyacinths that can be processed and used as appliances such as basketry like bags and baskets? Although it used to be considered worthless, now it’s a plant that can make money for a lot of people. There are many properties as well. Have you tried Java jade noodles or used a basket case made of water hyacinths? How does it taste? You can exchange opinions.

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