10 herbal plants highly endorsed by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) as an alternative medicine in treating particular health disorders.
10 Highly Endorsed Herbal Plants in the Philippines
The Philippines, a country of more than 7,000 islands, is blessed with rare, exotic flowering plants and more than 500 medicinal plants. With alternative medicine gaining some popularity, the Philippine government through proper government agencies and private organizations have done extensive researches and studies in search for traditional plants doubling as medicinal plants. Following is a compilation of 10 medicinal or herbal plants duly approved by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) as productive sources for alternative medicine.
1.Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya) – Momordica charantia
Well-known for its bitter edible fruit, Ampalaya is a herbaceous, climbing vine growing up to five meters. The plant have heart-shaped leaves and bear green oblong-shaped fruits. Leaves, fruits and roots are used in treating several health disorders.
- Juice extracted from leaves is effective in easing cough, pneumonia, heal wounds, and combating intestinal parasites.
- Juice from fruits aids in treating dysentery and chronic colitis.
- Decoction of roots and seeds is effective in treating hemorrhoids, rheumatism, abdominal pain, psoriasis.
and urethral discharges.
- Pounded leaves used for eczema, jaundice, and scalds.
- Decoction of leaves is effective for fevers.
Recent studies have suggested that the bitter fruit contains plant insulin, helpful for its blood sugar lowering effect. Ampalaya is recommended for diabetic individuals to take.
2. Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) – Cassia alata
An erect, shrubby legume reaching 6 ft tall, Akapulko grows throughout the Philippines. It has dark green leaves and yellow-orange flowers, producing as much as 50 to 60 small, triangular seeds. For medicinal purposes, leaves, flowers and seeds are used.
- Decoction of leaves and flowers is very effective in easing asthma, cough and bronchitis.
- The seeds are effective in expelling intestinal parasites.
- Juice from leaves aids in controlling fungal infections like; eczema, athlete’s foot, ringworm, scabies, and herpes.
- Pounded leaves reduce injury-related swellings, treat insect bites, and ease rheumatism.
- Leaves and flowers concoction used as mouthwash in treating stomatitis.
- Juice from leaves ease fetid discharges.
- The leaves stain is an effective purgative.
3. Garlic (Bawang) - Allium sativum
Garlic is a low herb with flat and linear leaves growing to about 30 to 60 cm tall. Garlic is commercially grown in the Philippine provinces of Batangas, Cotabato, Ilocos Norte, Mindoro and Nueva Ecija. Leaves, bulbs, lobes are used for medical purposes.
- Massaging crushed lobe to both temples can ease headache.
- Rubbing crushed lobe to affected areas is a good remedy for insect bites and athlete’s foot.
- Decoction of leaves and bulbs is effective for fever, tonsillitis, and digestive problems.
- Juice from crushed garlic is used to treat colds, cough, sore throat, bronchitis, and asthma.
4. Guava (Bayabas) - Psidium guajava
The guava is a perennial shrub growing to about 25 ft. tall at maturity. It has oval to oblong leaves and bears white flowers, developing into green fruits that turns yellow in color when ripe. A common backyard plant, Bayabas is grown throughout the Philippines. The edible fruit is a good source of Vitamin C. The leaves are used for treating certain health problems.
- As cleaning agent, decoction of fresh leaves prevents infection in wounds.
- Also, decoction of leaves is effective for diarrhea and skin ulcers.
- Boiled fresh leaves are good ingredients for aromatic baths.
- Chewing fresh leaves help control gum swelling.
- Placing tightly roll leaves into the nasal tract can stop nosebleeds.
5. Five-leaved chaste tree (Lagundi) - Vitex negundo
Lagundi is a small erect tree that can reach 3meter at maturity. The plant has evergreen leaves, blue flowers about 6-7 mm that develop into fruits about 4mm in diameter. Leaves, seeds, bark and roots are used for the treatment of various illnesses.
- Decoction of leaves is effective for cough, colds, fever, headache, toothache, asthma, menstrual difficulties and amenorrhea.
- As washing agent, boiled leaves are used for sponge bathing, treating wounds and ulcer.
- Placing ash of fresh leaves in affected areas can ease rheumatic joints.
- Decoction of leaves taken as a diuretic.
6. Chinese honeysuckle (Niyog-niyogan) - Quisqualis indica
Niog-niogan is a perennial climbing shrub growing to about 2.5-8 meters at maturity. It has egg-shaped leaves, aromatic flowers that may come in white to purple orange in color. The oval-shaped fruit can reach 30-35 mm long when ripe. For medicinal purposes leaves, seeds and roots are used.
- Dried seeds, when eaten, act as deworming agents.
- Roasted seeds help control diarrhea and fever.
- Boiled leaves used to check difficulty in urinating
- Fruit decoction of fruit, taken as mouthwash, is effective against nephritis.
- Juice made from leaves are used in the treatment of ulcers, boils, and fever-induced headache.
- Decoctions of roots aids in reducing pain due to rheumatism.
- Pounded leaves are used externally for skin diseases.
7. Shiny Bush (Pansit-pansitan) - Peperomia pellucida
Pansit-pansitan is a small, fleshy herb (about 40 cm tall), which grows in yards, nooks and other damp areas. The plant have green, heart-shaped leaves, fleshy stems that produce tiny flowers on a spike. The small, oblong-shaped fruits turn to black when ripe. Parts uses are leaves and stems.
- Fresh juice made from stem and leaves controls eye inflammation.
- Crushed whole plant as warm poultice, is effective for pimples, boils, and wound.
- Concoction of leaves used in treating fevers, headaches, sore throats, coughs, common colds, and diarrheas.
- Boiled leaves and stems is used for gout, arthritis, rheumatic pains, and conjunctivitis. The mixture is also effective in controlling high blood pressure.
- Juice made from leaves and stem, taken externally, is a good facial wash for skin problems.
8. Blumea camphora (Sambong) – Blumea balsamifera
Sambong is a tall, erect, shrub that grows in grasslands, open fields, waste areas. This strongly aromatic herb with elongated leaves, and yellow flowers can reach 4 meters tall at maturity. Leaves are used to treat certain medical conditions.
- Decoction of leaves is effective against fever, kidney problems and cystitis.
- Leaves is used as poultice for abscesses.
- Concoction of leaves is used for sore throat, rheumatic pains, stomach pains, and dysentery.
- Fresh juice made from leaves is applied to wounds and cuts.
- As expectorant, Sambong tea is used for colds.
9. Fukien tea tree (Tsaang Gubat): - Ehretia microphylla Lam
Grown throughout the Philippines, Tsaang Gubat is a shrub growing to about 5 m tall. Leaves grow in clusters with rough jagged edge towards the tip. The plant bears white flowers that developed into a fleshy, yellow-orange fruits when ripe. Leaves are used for medicinal purposes.
- Tea extracted from leaves is taken to ease stomach aches, diarrheas, and dysentery.
- Decoction of leaves is effective as dental mouthwash.
- Leaves concoction is used to stop bleeding cause by snakebites, and a cure for plant-based poisoning;
- Decoction of leaves is also used as body cleanser after childbirth.
10. Mint (Yerba Buena) - Clinopodium douglasii
Yerba Buena is a perennial plant of the mint family that grows up to 1 meter long. Leaves are elliptic in shape, and produces small, hairy whitish, or purplish flowers. In the Philippines, Yerba Buena is grown in high elevated areas. As medicinal plant, the parts used are leaves and stem.
- Promotes good health, if taken as tea.
- Sniffing crushed fresh leaves is effective for dizziness.
- Leaves soak in a glass of water is used as mouthwash.
- Decoction of leaves is used for migraine, headaches, fevers, toothaches, stomach aches, muscles and joint pains, and dysmenorrhea.
- Pounded or crushed leaves is used to treat insect bites.