A response from Fidel Castro to a citizen's online query about the properties of two plant species was posted Wednesday on the government Web site Cubadebate.

In the note, the island's former president also noted the potential threat from Tropical Storm Sandy - upgraded Wednesday to a hurricane - and experienced confidence in Cuba's ability to deal with whatever the storm brings.

The piece is the second by Castro to appear this week on the official Web site, following a statement on Monday seeking to dispel rumors that his health has taken a turn for the worse.

The 86-year-old Fidel relinquished power to younger brother Raul Castro in July 2006 after he was stricken with a grave intestinal illness.

The posting of the items on Cubadebate came after the release of recent photographs of the leader of the revolution strolling through a grove of meringa and white mulberry trees.

Castro wrote an article in June extolling the virtues of the meringa, which originated in India, and the white mulberry, advocating mass cultivation of both species.

Meringa leaves, Fidel said in his latest comments, contain amino acids and "dozens of medicinal properties," though they "should not be consumed in excess."

"We have supplied sample seeds of different varieties to the agricultural research institutes," Castro wrote. "Soon we will know more about their potential."

"From my point of view, their major benefit ... lies in consumption as animal feed for the production of beef, milk, eggs and even fish farming," the former head of state said. EFE