Herbal Medicines in the Philippines
There are ten powerful herbal medicines in the Philippines approved by the government as safe and effective. I've tried some of them and they worked superbly. Most of them are easily available.
- Dependable Herbal Medicines
- Tsaang Gubat
- Yerba Buena
- Why Go Herbal?
Dependable Herbal Medicines
I've known some of them since childhood. When there was sickness in the house, among the first solutions were herbal remedies. They were readily available in the kitchen or our backyard--or our neighbor's backyard. All you had to do was ask. That's how easily available herbal medicines in the Philippines are.
Recently, the Philippine health department approved 10 of them as safe and effective. Households around the country have been using them for generations and they're mostly under the cleansing herbal medicine category. Some effectively flush out toxins from your body as you enjoy them as steaming hot herbal tea. Some are applied as topical herbs. And they're easy to locate and prepare. Grandma always found them reliable herbal remedies. All she had to do was pick some young leaves and soft branches, pound them with her stone mortar and pestle, and apply.
So here are the ten approved herbal medicines in the Philippines:
Most children here enjoy playing on barefoot and sometimes catch minor skin diseases later--mostly due to some ringworm or fungal infections. I had them often but they never stopped me from enjoying the raw earth on the soles of my feet. What most grandmas often did then was to pick some Akapulko (sounds good for a beach resort), or what is known in the vernacular as "bayabas-bayabasan" (or little guava-like), chopped or pounded them, and applied topically on the affected areas. It was also good for insect bites and eczema and other itchy skin irritations. It was applied topically.
Once, while Manny Pacquiao, the internationally famous Filipino boxer, was being interviewed, it was mentioned that among his favorite vegetables was Ampalaya or bitter melon. His cook simply sliced it thinly and diagonally and sauteed it with sliced tomatoes, onions, and garlic. It was supposed to be Manny's secret to great strength.
Well, not only is ampalaya packed with nutrition, it's also among effective herbal medicines in the Philippines. The dried leaves can be an herbal tea that can help normalize your blood sugar count. It's a popular herbal medicine for diabetes. The green leaves and bitter fruit have effective anti-cancer properties. I love eating the sauteed leaves when I feel weak and seem to lack nutrition. It can change my condition within minutes of eating.
In Philippine folklore, bawang or garlic is said to be a tool for warding off nocturnal monsters. In reality, it is powerful in warding off hypertension and its uncomfortable effects. Countless people here suffering from high blood pressure resort to eating raw bawang bits for a quick relief. Most people prefer it to other remedies because it has no side effects--well that is, except for the foul smell you get in your breath later. But a few drops of fresh kalamansi on your tongue often does the trick.
The native bawang (it's smaller and more pungent) is also anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory. If your tooth aches, especially due to gingivitis, just chop off a small piece of this garlic and insert it in-between the teeth that hurt, or right inside a cavity. It really, really works!
You want to lower your cholesterol level? Bawang is it.
Bayabas or native guava has lots of nutritional value (foremost of which is Vitamin C and A). As kids, we often had the bayabas fruit for snacks, ripe or otherwise, and it gave us so much power for our athletic activities and also against common ailments. But the best is its healing remedies.
Bayabas is among the most handy herbal medicines in the Philippines. It's readily available in most sari-sari stores (street-corner stores), wet market, grocery, or backyard--again, even your neighbor's backyard. The leaves, especially the new sprouts, are effective as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory remedy for open wounds, even those due to ring worms or fungal causes. I used to have mysterious little boils when I was small and the bayabas leaves always took care of them. Just wash and boil them and use the warm water for gently cleaning the wound with sterilized cotton.
It's popularly known as an effective cough herbal remedy especially for kids. Grandmas boiled the leaves and made kids drink the brew which tasted somewhat funny to children. That often stimulated phlegm to rise up and be easily eliminated through the nose or mouth. It is effective for respiratory ailments, including asthma, and also used for boils (as a gentle washing agent) and diarrhea (as tea).
Today, lagundi is easily available in drugstores (in syrup form) and in neighbor's backyards.
Niyog-Niyugan (small coconut-like) is among the best herbal medicines in the Philippines for treating parasites, especially those lurking in the intestines. This is a very safe alternative remedy for kids suspected to carry parasites in their tummies. It flushes them out with just a few sips of the extract.
Sambong is an effective detox tea. It can get rid of your diarrhea, coughs, colds, and even small kidney stones. It's a weed-like plant that easily grows in any backyard and is often mistaken as a useless wild herb. It's easy to use: Just boil the leaves and drink the brew. Or, to make things easier, just buy packed sambong from your local drugstores.
Tsaang gubat or forest or wild tea is good for skin itches and irritations. If you have a wound and the itchiness is driving you crazy, just apply this warm tea topically on it and get relief. Better yet, drink it.
It is so-called because the stems look like white noodles, thus Pansit-Pansitan (noodle-like). It can be a crunchy salad treat when mixed with other fresh crunchy veggies, but most of all, it's among the best herbal medicines in the Philippines for treating gout and arthritis. My friend harvested them from roots to leaves (they're often just 2 to 3 inches in length), washed and boiled them, and drank the tea for his gout and other foot swelling problems.
This herb grows in damp places and on rocks often moist or wet. Your neighbor's backyard cement fence is likely to have it.
This is a native peppermint good for coughs, colds, sore throats, and even insect bites. Peppermint plants are also said to ward off insects, especially mosquitoes. Thus, keeping or planting Yerba Buena may also be an effective anti-dengue measure. Dengue is now a year-long occurring disease in the country, and perhaps it would wise to have a pot or two of this herb indoors and outdoors around the home.
Why Go Herbal?
Our bodies were created natural and designed to take in natural food and herbs. Natural should be treated with natural. If this principle is followed, our bodies easily recover from ailments naturally.
Some synthetic medicines are good for quick reliefs and temporary remedies. But most herbals, especially herbal medicines in the Philippines, give more than just relief and temporary solutions. I have heard lots of testimonies on their powerful effects. Well, some of them still lack clinical evidences, but we should seriously listen to the available anecdotal evidences as well.