medicines are being manufactured commercially in Tacloban
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– These days when Western medicines have become too expensive and
scarce, it is good to note that Filipinos can rely on herbal medicines
which are available in abundance, locally.
commercial quantities and at much cheaper price, in Tacloban City,
Leyte, are herbal medicines that are used as traditional and
alternative medicines in the Philippines.
This was learned from
Ms. Evelina Juaban, the Manager of the Herbal Processing Plant in
Tacloban City, of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and
Alternative Health Care of the Department of Health.
Ms. Juaban who was
guest of the Philippine Information Agency recently, at the cable
television program called Panindugan, said that there are many plants,
about 400 of them in the Philippines which have medicinal or
Department of Health through its Traditional Health Program has
endorsed 10 medicinal plants which have been thoroughly tested and
have been clinically proven to have medicinal value in the relief and
treatment of various ailments.
Today, the Tacloban
Herbal Plant of PTAHC has come up with the Lagundi tablets made from
natural Lagundi (Vitex negundo) which is known in English as the
“5-leaved chaste tree”. Its main use is for the relief of coughs and
asthma. The tablets are available in 300 mg.
There is the 250 mg.
Sambong tablet made from sambong leaves (Blumea balsamifera) - known
in English as Blumea camphora, a diuretic that helps in the excretion
of urinary stones and can also be used as an edema.
Both the Lagundi and
Sambong tablets are sold wholesale at a price of P150 per box of 100
tablets. This means that each tablet costs only P1.50 whole or P2.00
each at retail price.
Another is the Tsaang
Gubat 250mg tablet. Known with the scientific name Ehretia microphylla
Lam., this herbal medicine is effective in treating intestinal
motility and also used as a mouth wash since the leaves of this shrub
has high fluoride content.
The fourth is Akapulco
(Cassia alata) which is also known as “bayabas-bayabasan” and
“ringworm bush” in English. This herbal medicine is used to treat
ringworms and skin fungal infections.
The Ampalaya (Momordica
charantia), known as “bitter gourd” or “bitter melon” in English, is
most known as a treatment of diabetes (diabetes mellitus) for the
non-insulin dependent patients. Ms. Juaban said it is the leaves of
the Ampalaya which is used.
Bawang (Allium sativum),
popularly known as garlic, mainly reduces cholesterol in the blood and
hence, helps control blood pressure. Ms. Juaban cautioned the public,
however, that the potent substance in bawang is only soluble in oil,
thus, for those who are using bawang to reduce their cholesterol, they
should sauté the bawang in healthy vegetable oil. Eating the bawang
raw will only give one a heart burn.
guajava) or “guava” in English, is primarily used as an antiseptic, to
disinfect wounds. Also, it can be used as a mouth wash to treat tooth
decay and gum infection.
indica L.) is a vine known as “Chinese honey suckle”. It is effective
in the elimination of intestinal worms, particularly the Ascaris and
Trichina. Only the dried matured seeds are medicinal. One should crack
and ingest the dried seeds two hours after eating (5 to 7 seeds for
children & 8 to 10 seeds for adults). If one dose does not eliminate
the worms, wait a week before repeating the dose.
Ulasimang Bato (Peperomia
pellucida) is also known as “pansit-pansitan.” It is effective in
fighting arthritis and gout. The leaves can be eaten fresh (about a
cupful) as salad or like tea. For the decoction, boil a cup of clean
chopped leaves in 2 cups of water. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain,
let cool and drink a cup after meals (3 times per day). Decoctions
must be made just for one day use only.
Yerba Buena (Clinopodium
douglasii) is commonly known as Peppermint, this vine is used as an
analgesic to relive body aches and pain. It can be taken internally as
a decoction or externally by pounding the leaves and applied directly
on the afflicted area.
There are other herbs
and herbal remedies like banaba, virgin coconut oil, mangosteen,
gumamela, luyang dilaw, silymarin, countless of them.
Long, before the
introduction of modern medicines and Western curative methods, herbal
medicines had been widely used in the
The curative effects
of the herbs were tested by traditional healers on their patient on
try-and-error basis. The knowledge and skills on the curative
application of any give herbal medicine has been handed down from
generation to generation.
Apart from prescribing
herbs medicines, the traditional healers were known to give
psychological comfort and moral support to their patients. In the old
days, they were well respected and enjoy high social status.
Through generations of
selective process, the herbs that were known to be effective were kept
alive. The ineffective ones were soon forgotten.
Just a word of
caution, though. There is no substitute for the services of a licensed
medical practitioner. Consult with a doctor knowledgeable with herbal
medicine or Philippine medicinal plants before taking or mixing herbs
with prescription and non-prescription drugs. Test show that some
herbal medicines have adverse reaction when mixed with other drugs.