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Top 10 Philippine Medicinal Herbs

Updated on August 26, 2011

Combating High Cost of Medicines

To combat the high cost of synthetic medicines these days, the Philippine government endorses the use of herbal remedies for ailments. Top 10 Philippine medicinal herbs are endorsed in particular:

  1. Lagundi (Vitex Negundo). Basically for cough and other respiratory ailments.
  2. Yerba Buena (Mentha Cordifelia). Also Hierba Buena, it's basically for muscle and joint aches.
  3. Akapulko (Cassia, alata L.). For fungal infections.
  4. Ulasimang Bato (Peperonia Pellucida). Uric acid and related ailments.
  5. Bawang (Ajos). This is your regular garlic, but the native Philippine garlic is said to be more potent than any.
  6. Ampalaya (Mamordica Charantia). For blood sugar, among other ailments. This is a bitter plant/herb most Filipinos find better than any other veggie.
  7. Sambong (Blumea Balsamifera). A diuretic for flushing out toxins from the body.
  8. Tsaang Gubat (Carmona Retusa). Forest tea in English. Basically a health drink to boost the immune system, but heals other aches.
  9. Niyug-Niyogan (Quisqualis Indica L.). A de-wormer.
  10. Bayabas (Psidium Guajava L.) Simply Guava in English. It's a super health fruit and healing potion or mixture when brewed. The smaller native bayabas is tastier.

They're Everywhere

These herbs are easy to find in the country, especially in rural areas where most folks cannot afford costly medicines. For instance, most backyards have Bayabas or guava trees. Most of them grow wildly. Birds eat the fruit and scatter the seeds everywhere through their wastes. I have a young tree growing in front of my house, and it's thriving without my caring for it. Wild birds abound in our neighborhood. Bayabas is easy to grow and they just bear fruit in season.

Philippine herbal medicine is still a byword in most households. Most kids literally grow up with it. My sons all had their brewed Lagundi days when they had coughs and had to drink pitchers of it. Well, later the prepared types in bottles in drug stores made it all simpler. They just took 5 ml of it daily and the coughs were eradicated. Absolutely no side effects. But I think I like the freshly brewed ones better. They require hard work and patience, but they're cheaper and work as effective as those prepared by drug companies.

Sambong can be taken as a regular tea, like green tea. The same with Tsaang Gubat. And in terms of being caffeine free, they're definitely better than most commercialized coffees supposedly free of the substance. Cheaper, too.

I just wonder why they didn't include Kalamansi? This small-but-terrible citrus fruit (like miniature orange) is an ever dependable cold and cough remedy, and even a favorite and popular first refuge against flu. It's easily available, too. Every wet market, grocery and small street-corner store has it. Don't ask drugstores for Kalamansi, though. Drink it hot or cold (but drink it freshly squeezed), it relieves you of runny (I almost said funny) or clogged nose, sore throat, and even nasal drips. Perhaps the Heath Department would include Kalamansi when they officially enumerate top 11 Philippine herbal medicines the next time.


And what kitchen in the Philippines does not have Bawang or garlic? It's not just for cooking and for spicing up vinegar or fish sauce (patis) dips. It's not just an alternative medicine. It's also supposed to ward off evil spirits and other Philippine mythical nocturnal creatures. Well, this latter use of garlic remains to be seen. I myself, though a long time resident in the country and born in Deeper Asia, haven't seen how true this is. And I wouldn't recommend that you try it.

But for sure, garlic or bawang has been a tested effective cure for a lot of aches and ailments, like tooth aches, insect bites, high blood pressure, muscle aches, and others.

So, if you want free or readily available alternative medicine, live in the Philippines. Moreover, the folks here are so hospitable they'd offer you Philippine medicinal herbs for free and ready to use or drink.


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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 6 years ago from Germany

      My grandmother was a herbalist and she treated us with her selfmade medicine from the herbs that she collected in the forest and it was always a remedy. What a pity I can not ask her about herbs anymore. Thanks for sharing.