Start your own Herbs and Spices Almanac
Starting your own Herbs and Spices Almanac will inspire others to do their own research on the availability and importance it will give to family members and visiting friends. The idea popped in my mind as I gaze at my medicinal garden that is my favorite morning site while enjoying the rays of the sun.
There's an herbalist in our place that serves as my mentor in knowing the local names of the available herbs and spices that are used as first aid in combating diseases .
This hub will be changing from time to time as this hubber will continue collecting fresh samples of other herbs and spices that abound some parts of my town.
I thought about this project since April this year. I've seen and read from science books how early alchemists or scientists patiently collected herbs and spices' samples and conducted treatment to patients at different proportions to know the potency of those herbal finds.
You'll notice that most of us are clinging to the basic healing sources, such as herbs and spices.
My experiences on herbal plants and spices were:
- scratches and simple cuts and wounds being cured by Moors' herb or bulong Moros;
- pounded black pepper seeds can lessen the effects of cold and runny nose;
- oregano extract cured my ringing ear due to water that accidentally filled in during swimming;
- artamesa and yerba buena from Mint family for colds and headaches; and
- madre de cacao can lessen the itchiness on my skin due to mosquito bites.
Nevertheless, I can conclude that an herbal garden is so helpful when you want to cling to a more basic and no-side effect cure on illnesses.
Even terminal diseases can still be cured by herbal plants according to a local scientist and inventor aptly named as Super Lady (aka as Dr, Winie R. Elfa of Camarines Sur,Philippines) whom I used to know during my radio stint. Her block time program is so popular that I intend to interview here one of these days and make a hub regarding her mission in life to eradicate cancer in the society, through her advocacy against it. Most of her patients are already rejected by hospitals but with her macrobiotic program, those patients are continue living and many of them are still living even doctors already put a deadline on their lives.
This leads to my realization that knowledge on herbs and spices can help us realize that the treatment and healing of health disturbances should begin at home. With the proper guidance on mixing different herbs and spices, you can produce a potent treatment for a particular ailment.
I would say it's an 'incidental' herb garden because I used to grow seeds on it (papaya, oranges, tomatoes) before transplanting it. I planted the herbs for cooking purposes and medicinal applications, too.
Oregano is the most adoptable herb and it grows rapidly, overcoming other herbs in the area. I was lucky to grow the mayanao (red violet in color), romero and camangcao.
As for the spices, I just started growing black pepper at the elevated part of our lot just at the roadside but sheltered with ipil-ipil trees and mango tree.
For maintenance, I always shoo farm chickens away from the plants and some stray piglets of my neighbor. Even my dog, Brownie, sometimes eat some leaves of wild herbs to heal himself from colds and bites (from dog fight)
Mother knows best
Our place maintain a medicinal garden located at the vacant lot near the barangay hall. Some local herbs growing abundantly are oregano, yerba buena, mayanao (with red violet leaves), artamesa, lakad-bulan, kamangkaw (spearmint) and some wild hers like tawa-tawa, bagangan, puro-pungso.
Seven herbs are usually mix by my mother with toasted rice, boil it then after cooling; drink the concoction diluted with water. It's a sort of herbal tea that is effective in colon cleansing, thereby eradicating certain illnesses that weaken the body.
For a starter, my mother uses this herbal mixes of homegrown and wild finds:
- bark of anonang
- kamangkaw (spearmint)
- bagangan (wild)
- puru-pungso (wild)
- kamoteng orig (wild)
Samples on my Herbs and Spices AlmanacClick thumbnail to view full-size
My Herbs & Spices Almanac requires ample time to complete. Some data are existing online, but local herbs didn't fit the description of some medical names. That's why, I'm using some of the local terms; looking the English name on Encyclopedia and Wikipedia for verification.
I had to use clean bond paper and spare cover or folder to keep my data intact.
Day 1 - I took some pictures of the available herbs on my medicinal garden. You can see the imposing papaya plant there. I had to single out photos of oregano, spearmint, mayanao and yerba buena or romero.
Day 2 - Took pictures of wild herbs used by people here for immediate cure for minor cuts and colds. I single out photos of tawa-tawa, bagangan, puru-pungso and bulong Moros.
Day 3 - I had to compile old, but clean bond paper and clean folder to start off with my project.
(I had to rest for awhile because some invitations came from the community to follow up things in our town. I saved first this hub and saw it's score rising even, though I didn't included the gist of this project.)
Day 4 - For fresh leaves of the available herb, I had to seal it on plastic covering that I bought prior to this project. I labeled it and paste on the bond paper and scribbled the medicinal benefits of particular herb and spice.
Day 5 - I had to collect samples of wild herbs that grow in our backyard and labeled it, too. I had to search online if there are already laboratory tests conducted for its medical values and toxicity level.
Day 6 - I compiled it in a secure folder. I'll book-bind it later.
Fresh Spices at HomeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Spices at home
Aside from the the usual garlic and onion plus hot pepper (siling labuyo) spices, I've grown some spices to enhance the taste of our tropical viands include:
- lemon grass -the most common. It grows naturally in tropical countries, like the Philippines. In Mindanao, there are many lemongrass farms, commissioned by factories that are making hair shampoos in the country.
- dill weed - usually ignored by rural folks and only planted as garden item. I've known its uses when I went on board ship as a seafarer. We usually cook green peas with lots of it for the Greeks. They're also fond of it in fish stew and baked potatoes.
- lubas (sour leaves) - I don't know the corresponding English word but this is often used on fish and meat stews. I used to chew its sour leaves for fresher breath.
- ginger - The red ones are quite expensive; unlike the white ones that grow fast in tropical climate.
- black pepper - Luckily, I was able to let it grow at the slope at the front yard of our house.
Herbs - The Wild Ones
When dengue fever invaded the homes of many Filipinos and victimized many children and young adults as well, some families who cannot afford fees on hospitalization cling to the so-called tawa-tawa (Filipino word variant for smile). I uprooted one, cleaned it and boil it whole, along with leaves stem and roots. When cooled, I drank it and it tasted sweet. No wonder, black ants frequent it's flower as it attracts other insects to sip its sweetness.
My cousin's friend, also a security guard related to me that his daughter recovered fully when they made a tonic drink out of tawa-tawa. The number of his blood platelets became normal again.
Other wild herbs that I collected, include:
- bulong Moros - It means medicine from Moors or as the name suggested. My mother used to pound its leaves and applied the green juice at the open wound, whenever I had an accident when I was a child.
- bagangan - used as local medication for dog bites. When I experienced it last February 13, 2011 (Please refer to my other hub on Dog Bite), my cousin who's our resident dog bite first aider instructed me to pound a handful of bagangan, dilute the juice with hot water then drink it. It is similar to the carabao grass, but I don't know the English name.
- Puro-pungso - has a distinct balmy odor. Also serves as part of seven mixed herbs for tonic drink to relieve gas pain, colds, headaches and other antioxidant properties.
- kamoteng orig - Pigs used to dig it for its little roots. We used to eat it, too, during our childhood days. It's also part of seven herb mixes used as tonic drink.
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