9 Herbal Medicines in the Philippines
Just a few years ago the Department of Health (Philippines) introduced medicinal plants that are cheaper than prescription medications and shown to be effective and safe for public use. These herbs are found in many specialty/health markets and may even be planted in your very own backyard!
I’ve put together a list, complete with the purpose of each herb, how to use it, the recommended dosage and the English name (so it’s easier to ask for outside of the Philippines).
NOTE: These herbs are thoroughly researched in use for mild cases only. As with anything new, there is a chance of allergic reaction, which is why I still strongly suggest to always consult your physician before trying anything new.
English Name: Camphor
Scientific Name: Blumea Balsifimera
Often used as a diuretic for fluid retention problems in cases of hypertension. It is also commonly used for wounds, cuts, rheumatism, diarrhea, colds and cough.
Gather fresh leaves, cut in small pieces and thoroughly wash
Boil 50 grams of Sambong leaves in 1 liter of water
Let it steep for 10 minutes and remove from heat
Serve and drink while warm
It is recommended to drink 4 glasses a day for best results.
Gather leaves and roots and wash
Pound it in a mortar
The freshly pressed leaves and juice can be used topically by applying directly onto the skin
English Name: Ringworm Bush/Shrub
Scientific Name: Cassia Alata
This shrub is only found in the Philippines. It is an anti-fungal and used for purposes such as athlete’s foot and scabies.
Gather and wash the leaves
Pound Akapulko leaves until juice is extracted
Clean the area thoroughly and apply the juice topically on affected area, twice daily
3. Tsaang Gubat
English Name: Wild Tea
Scientific Name: Carmona Retusa
This plant grows in the tropical climate of the Philippines used as a treatment for diarrhea and stomach aches. It may also be used as a mouthwash, due to its high fluoride content.
- Tsaang Gubat Tea: Stomach Problems and Mouth Gargle
Pound a cup of Tsaang Gubat leaves in a mortar
Boil for 10 to 15 minutes
Allow it to cool before drinking or gargling
For best results it is advised to drink 3 cups a day. The tea’s potency is only effective for a day.
English Name: Bitter gourd
Scientific Name: Momordica Charantia
Due to its awfully bitter taste, most people would avoid this herb, but it is known for treatment in mild non-insulin dependent diabetic patients. This herb, when ingested, has demonstrated effects of lowering your blood sugar by helping the pancreas produce more insulin.
Ampalaya can be cooked, juiced, steamed, or mixed with other vegetables. To lessen the amount of bitterness, once cut open, the pulp is removed and soaked in water with salt. For juicing, skip the salt just wash with water and juice it. I tried this one in a shot glass. They are extremely bitter, but loaded with nutrients. This fruit and leaves of this herb are edible and are rich in Vitamins A, B, C, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Folic Acid and Beta-Carotene.
English Name: Five-leaved Chaste Tree
Scientific Name: Vitex Negundo
One of the most known plants in the Philippines for its efficacy in eliminating coughs, colds, asthma and other respiratory problems. It has been shown to reduce the body’s production of leukotrienes during an asthma attack. This herb has anti-histamine and muscle-relaxant properties. Elders often use this for an aromatic bath when ill.
Wash fresh or dried Lagundi leaves
Chop and add 4 cups of water for every 1 cup Lagundi
Boil for 10 to 15 minutes
Steep and strain
Drink half cup of Lagundi tea three times daily
6. Ulasimang Bato/Pansit-Pansitan
English Name: Clear Weed
Scientific Name: Peperomia pellucida
Treats rheumatism and gout by lowering uric acid. In one study, this plant showed a 44% decrease of uric acid levels in blood. It is used as an alternative for allupurinol. Stems and leaves may be eaten raw as a salad mixed with other vegetables. It is described to have the crunchiness of a carrot.
English Name: Garlic
Scientific Name: Allium Sativum
Aside from its use in many recipes for it’s distinct flavor, this little powerhouse has many medicinal purposes, from lowering blood pressure, to relieving a toothache. It’s even been used as a decongestant, containing antibiotic properties as well.
Simply crush one garlic clove and bite
Allow the juice to seep in
Peel and chew one clove
Swallow the juice extracted
Steam chopped garlic, vinegar and water
The thought of chewing garlic may not be too appealing, not to mention the odor it leaves behind on your breath, but it’s a small price to pay for such a powerful natural remedy and it’s something you likely have in your kitchen right now.
English Name: Guava
Scientific Name: Psidium guajava
An edible, sweet, juicy fruit that has Vitamin A, C and antiseptic properties for bruises, it can also be used as an astringent. It should be noted that consuming large amounts of the fruit can be a cause for constipation, so consume in moderation.
- For Wound Cleansing and Gargle – use the leaves
Gather fresh leaves and wash well
Boil one cup of leaves in three cups of water for 8 to 10 minutes
Strain and let cool
Wash affected area, 2 to 3 times a day or gargle as you would mouthwash and spit
9. Yerba Buena (Hierba)
English Name: Part of the Mint family
Scientific Name: Clinopodium douglasii
This plant was being used long before its medicinal properties were discovered. Due to its strong mint flavor, it has been commonly used in salads. Medicinally, it is used as an analgesic, treatment for insect bites, nausea or made as a tea.
Let the leaves dry out for 2 weeks
Crush and boil 2 tablespoons of Yerba Buena in one cup of water
Let it seep for 30 minutes and strain
Drink for at least 4-6 cups a day for analgesia
There you have it! 9 medicinal plants found in the Philippines, which may be found in markets or gardens near you as well. Nature really does provide so much wonder and amazing resources for our health. Hopefully this information is useful for you. I know I certainly learned a lot while researching all of this!
Nicarose Mela U. Gerona is originally from Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.She spent her growing years in Qassim and Ar-Ar, Saudi Arabia with her family, then returned to her home country permanently for her schooling. She studied and graduated as Class Salutatorian in Bethany Baptist Academy Makati during high school, earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasig (University of Pasig City) as a Dean’s Lister and Best in Health Education Awardee in her fourth year.
In June 2013, she passed the Philippine Nursing Licensure Examination. She is member of the Philippine Nurses Association, a licensed IVT specialist (Intravenous Therapy), and a BLS-ACLS provider following the American Heart Association standards. Currently, she works in a non-hospital environment, which gives her the time to write, read books and paint.
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