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Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Monday, June 24, 2013

Herbal Medicine of the Philippines


Herbal Medicine in the Philippines is one of several scientific subjects also very closed to my heart. Thus in both of my undergraduate and graduate degrees, my minor subject was in natural products chemistry but my major subject was Analytical Chemistry. In FDA I was involved in the various committees promulgating requirements for the approval of botanical drugs.(http://pu.blish.us/article/585/a-brief-overview-of-new-drugs-development-in-the-united-states#).

As a tropical country the Philippines is a good and an abundant source of plants with medical benefits. Regulation of these products are under the guidance of the Philippines Department of Health (DOH).

The following are the ten Medicinal Plants in the Philippines endorsed by the Department of Health:

1. Akapulko (Cassia alata) a medicinal plant called "ringworm bush or schrub" and "acapulco" in English, this Philippine herbal medicine is used to treat tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.

2. Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) Common names include "bitter melon " or "bitter gourd " in English. This Philippine herbal medicine has been found to be effective in the treatment of diabetes (diabetes mellitus), hemofrhoids, coughs, burns and scalds, and being studied for anti-cancer properties.

3. Bawang (Allium sativum) Common name in english is "Garlic". Bawang is a used in Philippine herbal medicine to treat infection with antibacterial, antiinflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-hypertensive properties. It is widely used to reduce cholesterol level in blood.

4. Bayabas (Psidium guajava) - "Guava" in English. A Philippine herbal medicine used as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antioxidant hepatoprotective, anti-allergy, antimicrobial, anti-plasmodial, anti-cough, antidiabetic, and antigenotoxic in folkloric medicine.

5. Lagundi (Vitex negundo) - known as "5-leaved chaste tree" in english is used in Philippine herbal medicine to treat cough, colds and fever. It is also used as a relief for asthma & pharyngitis, rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and diarrhea.

6. Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis indica L.) - is a vine known as "Chinese honey suckle". This Philippine herbal medicine is used to eliminate intestinal parasites.

7. Sambong (Blumea balsamifera)- English name: "Ngai camphor or Blumea camphor" is a Philippine herbal medicine used to treat kidney stones, wounds and cuts, rheumatism, anti-diarrhea, anti spasms, colds and coughs and hypertension

8. Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam.) - English :"Wild tea" is a Philippine herbal medicine taken as tea to treat skin allergies including eczema, scabies and itchiness wounds in child birth

9. Ulasimang Bato | Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) is a Phillipine herbal medicine known for its effectivity in treating arthritis and gout.

10.Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) - commonly known as Peppermint, is used in Philippine herbal medicine as analgesic to relive body aches and pain due to rheumatism and gout. It is also used to treat coughs, colds and insect bites

Types of herbal medicine

Medicinal plants can be used by anyone, for example as part of a salad, an herbal tea or supplement. Many herbalists, both professional and amateur, often grow or wildcraft their own herbs. Making your own herbal medicine preparation is not only fun, but can be cost-effective. In using the above mentioned herbal medicines, some may require some degree of skill, you have to use your own judgement if you decide to use one. Below is a list of general ways on how to prepare your own herbal medicine. The list is not all inclusive and you have to see individual articles for the herb you use so that you will know how to prepare them.

Herbal teas: There are two methods of making herbal teas, infusion and decoction. Infusion is steeping lighter parts of the plant (leaves, flowers, light stems) in boiled water for several minutes. Decoction is boiling tougher parts, such as roots or bark for a longer period of time. Herbal teas are often used as a home remedy, and as an alternative to tea and coffee.

As a general rule unless recommended by a herbalist, Prepare 1 teaspoon of dried herb for every 1 cup of water. Let it steep in boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain the herbs out and drink 3 to 4 times a day.

Herbal tinctures: Steeping a medicinal plant in alcohol extracts the alcohol-soluble principles into a liquid form that can be stored for long periods. Herbalists may mix several herbal tinctures to form an individualized prescription for each patient. Plant tinctures are also the basis for many homeopathic medicines.

To prepare your herbal tincture you will need:

8 ounces of finely cut dried herbs,
1 large glass jar that can hold 4 cups of liquid
2 cups of vodka

Instructions:: Put the dried herb into a large, glass jar and pour in equal amount of liquid, making sure the herbs are completely covered (this is very important). Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, preferably 4. Make sure to shake the mixture every day. When ready to use, filter the mixture using a cheesecloth bag, coffee filter, or fine cloth, capturing the tincture liquid below in another container. Store the tincture in clean, dark glass containers, out of the sun. If stored properly the tincture will be preserved for two or more years. Vinegar tinctures should be refrigerated.

Note: A drop of tincture is equal to 1 tsp of herb juice.

For Vinegar Tinctures, use 1 ounce of herb per 5 ounces of vinegar.

Fluid extracts: Fluid extracts are stronger than herbal tinctures, and can be made with alcohol or glycerin.

Herbal poultices: Poultices are a solid, vegetable fat based mixture used externally. They have the shortest life span of any herbal remedy and must be made fresh for every use.

Powdered herbs and tablets: Herbs that are dried and (sometimes) certain parts are separated out then diced to powder fine consistency. Powered matter can then be compressed or put in an empty pill coating to form a tablet

Herbal creams and ointments: An ointment usually is mixed with beeswax (or something similar) to make it more applicable to outside the body, such as on a cut or scrape.

Essential oils: Extraction of volatile liquid plant materials and other aromatic compounds from plants gives essential oils. These plant oils may be used internally in some forms of herbal medicine as well as in aromatherapy and generally for their perfume, although their medicinal use as a natural treatment (alternative medicine) has proved highly efficacious in the treatment of headache and muscle pain, joint pain and certain skin diseases

Herbal supplements: Herbal supplements tend to be commercial products in tablet or capsule form manufactured and marketed by the health food industry for sale in retail outlets to the general public, although there are some types that are sold only to healthcare practitioners for prescription. Herbal supplements are often standardized to contain stated levels of active phytochemicals. Some herbalists may not agree with the standardization of active ingredients, preferring instead to use the whole plant.

Source: www.medicalhealthguide.com/philippinesherbalmedicine.htm

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