Herbal Medicine in the Philippines
People who prescribe treatment by using medicinal effects of herbs are known as traditional healers. In early times, the traditional healers tested the effectiveness of certain herbs, which could be used specifically for a particular health condition. Traditional healers, then passed the application of curative herbs from generation to generation. This way, effective herbs have been kept alive. Following is a list of medicinal plants and their uses, which are approved by the Philippine’s Department of Health (DOH).
Bawang: Scientific name – Allium sativum and common name – garlic. It is an antioxidant and can be used for reducing cholesterol level and regulating blood pressure.
Akapulko: Scientific name – Cassia alata and common name – ringworm bush. It is used for treatment of ringworm and other skin disorders.
Bayabas: Scientific name – Psidium guajava and common name – guava. It is an effective plant for disinfecting wounds and treating gum diseases.
Ampalaya: Scientific name – Momordica charantia and common name – bitter gourd. It is commonly used to boost immune system and for treating cough, diabetes mellitus or Type 1 diabetes. (also called “Bitter melon”)
Lagundi: Scientific name – Vitex negundo and common name – five-leaved chaste tree. It is primarily used for cough and asthma.
Niyog-niyogan: Scientific name – Quisqualis indica L. and common name – Chinese honeysuckle. The matured seeds are effective for getting rid of intestinal worms.
Ulasimang Bato Scientific name – Peperomia pellucida and common name – pansit-pansitan. Its leaves are used to treat gout and arthritis.
Tsaang Gubat Scientific name – Ehretia microphylla Lam. It is used to treat stomach cramps and other gastrointestinal problems. Its leaves are rich source of fluoride and can be used as mouthwash.
Sambong: Scientific name – Blumea balsamifera and common name – blumea camphora. A diuretic herb for treating urine stones and edema.
Yerba Buena: Scientific name – Clinopodium douglasii and common name – peppermint. It can be used for relieving pain and body aches.
Malungay: used in soups, the leaf of the Malungay is also placed on open wounds.
As the number of hospitals in Philippines are not sufficient enough to provide services to all people who require medical attention, the Public Health Ministry has taken up a policy to revitalize the use of herbal medicines. This will also help to solve major health problems in the rural areas. Many villagers use drugs and medicines without taking proper advice from the health practitioner, which ultimately worsens the health problems. (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/herbal-medicine-in-the-philippines.html)
Another problem in he Philippines is that once you check into most hospitals, (1) You must purchase all medicines from an outside pharmacy. Your family or friends bring the meds back to the hospital and give ithem to the nurses station. They take possession of the meds you purchased. (2) Once you are cleared to leave, the bill MUST BE PAID! There are armed guards at the doors of the hospital, and without the pass from the cashier, (Which amounts to a receipt for payment), you cannot leave the hospital! (Remember, there are armed guards at the doors of most hospitals!) Now you’re in the situation where if your family or friends have problems raising the cash, every extra day you are in the hospital adds additional cost to the bill. An exception may be some of the provincial hospital (used by the poorest people), wherein they may accept a promisory note with an approved payment schedule.