Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Food and Health: Philippine Herbal Plants-- Alternative Medicine?

Philippine Herbal Plants--Alternative Medicine?

     Last year, my husband and I lost a good friend to cancer. Although we are happy that he is with the Lord in heaven, but he was a good man and a good Christian friend and we miss him. We did not know of his suffering until the last few weeks when some of his closest friends contacted us to pray and intercede for him. He was in a hospital somewhere in Benguet where they provide alternative medicine using herbal plants which they grow in that area.

     Although our friend died, we'll never know if herbal medicine could have helped him if he went to that hospital earlier. But according to Philippine Herbal Medicine website, in the past few years, a renewed interest in this natural method of treatment arose no only in the Philippines but also around the world. They define herbal medicine as the use of natural herbs and plants for the treatment and prevention of diseases, disorders and for the promotion of good health. The Department of Health (DOH) have given us 10 herbal medicinal plants which they approved as these herbs have undergone clinical laboratory tests and have been proven to have therapeutic values and have been generally recognized and recommended to be effective alternative medicine. These are the 10 herbal medicines approved by DOH and listed in the Philippine Herbal Medicine website:

1) Akapulko -- also known as 'bayabas-bayabasan' and 'ringworm bush' in English. As the name suggests, this is used to treat ringworms and skin fungal infections.-->

2) Ampalaya -- 'bitter gourd' or 'bitter melon'. Used for the treatment  and prevention of diabetes for the non-insulin dependent patients.<---


 3) Bawang -- 'garlic' in English, mainly reduces cholesterol in the blood, hence, helps control blood pressure.-->


4) Bayabas -- 'guava', primarily used as an antiseptic, to disinfect wounds. Also, it can be used as mouth wash to treat tooth decay and gum infections.

5) Lagundi -- '5-leaved chante tree'. It's main use is for the relief of coughs and asthma.-->

6) Niyog-niyogan -- vine known as 'Chinese honey suckle', effective in the elimination of intestinal worms, particularly Ascaris and Trichina. Only dried seeds are medicinal. Crack and ingest the dried seeds 2 hours after eating (5 to 7 seeds for children, 8-10 seeds for adults). If one dose does not eliminate the worms, wait a week before repeating the dose.

7) Sambong --Blumea camphora is its English name, a diuretic that helps in the excretion of urinary stones, can also be used as an edema. --->

8) Tsaang Gubat -- this is prepared like tea, effective in treating intestinal motility and also used as mouth wash since the leaves has high fluoride content.<--

9) Ulasimang Bato (Pansit-pansitan)-- effective in fighting arthritis and gout. The leaves can be eaten fresh (about a cupful) as salad or like tea. -->

10) Yerba Buena --commonly known as 'peppermint'. This vine is used as an analgesic to relieve body aches and pains. It can be taken internally as a decoction or externally by pounding the leaves and applied directly to the affected area.<--

     For preparation and dosage, please go to For picture sources, please go to the same website and see also

     Remember to get herbs that are organically-grown, do not use stainless utensils in boiling and do not cover while boiling, boil in low flame. Always consult your doctor before using these herbal medicinal plants.


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