Philippine herbal medicine is defined as the use of natural herbs and plants for the treatment or prevention of diseases, disorders and for the promotion of good health.
Healing with the use of herb is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. The scope of Philippine herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts.
Plants normally excrete substances that are useful to the maintenance of health in humans and other animals. These include aromatic substances, most of which are phenols or their oxygen-substituted derivatives such as tannins. Many are secondary metabolites, of which at least 12,000 have been isolated — a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.
In many cases, these substances serve as plant defense mechanisms against predation by microorganisms, insects, and herbivores. Many of the herbs and spices used by humans to season food yield useful medicinal compounds.
PHILIPPINE HERBAL MEDICINE
Philippines, blessed with a tropical climate, is rich in terms of traditional and alternative medicine. Below is the list of the ten (10) medicinal plants, used in Philippine herbal medicine, that the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) through its "Traditional Health Program" have endorsed. All ten (10) herbs have been thoroughly tested and have been clinically proven to have medicinal value in the relief and treatment of various aliments:
1. Akapulko (Cassia alata) - also known as "bayabas-bayabasan" and "ringworm bush" in English, this Philippine herbal medicine is used to treat ringworms and skin fungal infections.
2. Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) - known as "bitter gourd" or "bitter melon" in English, it most known as a treatment of diabetes (diabetes mellitus), for the non-insulin dependent patients.
3. Bawang (Allium sativum) - popularly known as "garlic", it mainly reduces cholesterol in the blood and hence, helps control blood pressure.
4. Bayabas (Psidium guajava) - "guava" in English. It 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.
5. Lagundi (Vitex negundo) - known in English as the "5-leaved chaste tree". It's main use is for the relief of coughs and asthma.
6. Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis 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 -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.
7. Sambong (Blumea balsamifera)- English name: Blumea camphora. A diuretic that helps in the excretion of urinary stones. This Philippine herbal medicine can also be used as an edema.
8. Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam.) - Prepared like tea, 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.
9. Ulasimang Bato | Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) - 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 day).
10. Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) - 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.
Philippine herbal medicine and medicinal plants and herbs have been used by Filipino forefathers for many centuries. This knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. In the past few years, a renewed interest in this natural method of treatment arose not only in the Philippines but worldwide. This popularity will continue as medical science validates the effectiveness of many herbs as alternative medicine.
Special thanks to www.philippineherbalmedicine.org