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The Most Commonly Used Herbal Medicines in Philippines

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Introduction “Nothing is more calming than connecting with God through his nature. His beautiful creations, gifts and blessings we should never take for granted but enjoy”- Rachel Sazon Reyes. Many years ago when the production of a lot of materials made by nature had been idealized by many civilizations and immensely brought us the reality that these materials were truly the wonderful gifts from our Almighty God. One of these gifts is the alternative medicines, herbal medicines in particular that have been around for centuries and still benefiting a lot of people from different countries.

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Long time ago, when the forefathers in every civilization taught their people to use the gifts of nature to sustain their lives and survive out from their harmful environment. Civilizations before, assumed these herbal medicines as a healthier solutions given by nature. Even though people nowadays are living in a world of globalization, where technology is the center of every transactions, people remains to stay with their beliefs and stand with their traditions of using herbal medicines instead of those expensive drugs that are available in the market.

Philippines, as one of the tropical countries of the southeast region of Asia, has its vast resources of herbal medicines that has been always one of the great alternative medicine since then. Filipinos in fact held a lot of considerations putting medicinal plants as an alternative to all the expensive medicines in the Philippines. These natural remedies can be found in lots of Filipino homes today. We are all attentive of the fact that because of the people’s ingenuity, practicality, and curiosity, it paved the way to discoveries of medicinal alternatives.

The purpose of this paper is divided into four points. It intends, first, to define and explain the herbal medicine itself, along with its importance held by the people putting it aside as an alternative. Second, it aims to tell the history of herbal medicines touching some of the well- known civilizations around the world where herbals were believed to be originated and widely used. This paper will also enumerate the most common medicinal plants in the Philippines and its uses as natural remedies.

Finally, it will also cover advantages of these medicinal plants as well as its disadvantages to humans as the primary user of these alternatives. As a whole, this paper will significantly inform everyone knowingly herbal medicines and its importance is still a difficult discussion to them. It will gain more knowledge considering this paper will be a very effective medium of information to everyone. However, the research will only cover points, with pertains to the most commonly used medicinal plants, in the Philippines. The definition and importance of herbal medicines.

Plants have the ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions in the lives of people. These have been believed to have beneficial effects on long- term wealth consumed by humans and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. Berquist (1975), defined herb as any plant especially used in medicines, scents, or seasonings. The use of herbs to treat a disease is almost universal among non- industrialized societies, and is often more affordable than purchasing expensive modern pharmaceuticals.

Herbal medicine or herbalism on the other hand, as defined by The Free Dictionary by Farflex, is the use of medicinal herbs to prevent and treat diseases and ailments or to promote health and healing, and any drug preparation from a plant or plants used for any such purposes (http://www. thefreedictionary. com/herbal+medicine). Philippines, having its great and vast resources of these herbs, has been promoting the use of herbal medicines as an alternative to pharmaceuticals since then. Filipinos, in return look forward to its greater effect compare with those expensive drugs in the market. Philippine Herbal medicine… the utilization of normal herbs and crops to the therapy or prevention of conditions, disorders and for your promotion of fine wellness. ” (http://www. philippinesherbalmedicine. com/p/about. html). Nature has endowed us with a huge number and variety of herbs that have amazing medicinal properties, and they are used to prepare herbal medicine. Herbal medicine nowadays is included under, and is a significant component of alternative medicine. It is a popular substitute to traditional medicine for the prevention and treatment of various ailments.

It is also been termed as pytotherapy, herbalism, botanical medicine, and medical herbalism. Various herbs are known for having medicinal properties. Herbal medicine is one of the oldest forms of medicine used for the treatment of physical and psychological maladies and for the purposes of general healthcare. Herbalism has been practiced for centuries to cure number of illness. As to Maier (2011), human beings have enjoyed a long relationship with the herbal kingdom. People have played significant role in the development of these herbal medicines.

Preservation of plant knowledge eventually led to the scientific investigation and evidence- based practice. As of today, the medicinal community recognizes the importance of herbs for health as much as our ancestors did 5,000 years ago. Advocates of herbal medicine subscribe to the principle that herbs work synergistically to achieve and maintain balance in the body of being technically known as homeostasis. Accordingly, Hobbs & Koville (2007) assert that “It is possible that we have a memory in our bodies that know the plants and responds to them in a gentle yet powerful way”.

The concept that nature provides the tools needed to prevent and cure disease is also a core concept. In addition, Rotblatt & Ziment (2002) pointed out that herbs provide different pharmacologic actions than any pharmaceuticals. For instance, a synthetic drug may effectively stall allergy symptoms, but certain herbs act as adaptogens (a term used in alternative medicine to describe a metabolic regulator which increases the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors and to avoid damage from such factors) and immune modulators (chemicals that influence the immune system also called  cytokines).

Mentioned above are some of the proofs that herbal medicines played the important role of improving everyone’s life over the centuries. History of herbal medicines. Gargatiel et. al. (2011) asserted that herbal medicine is the oldest form of medicine and has at one time been the dominant healing therapy throughout all cultures and the peoples of the world. The first examples of the use of herbs as medicines date back to the very dawn of mankind. Archaeologists have found many evidences of the use of herbs by Neanderthal man in Iraq some sixty thousand years ago.

All of the ancient civilizations – the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Chinese, Indian and Roman used herbs as an integral part of their various medical systems. The first famous Herbalist, who stressed the importance of nature in healing, was Hippocrates, known as the “Father of Medicine”. According to Fredricks (2008), since Stone Age, plants already provided them with food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. In prehistoric times, man determined his food by trial and error and by observations of wild animals.

Over time, man recorded the medicinal power of herbs and this knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. Naturalhealthschool. com explained the brief history of herbal medicines and started it in Mesopotamia (now known as Iraq). The site explained that the first written records of herbs as medicines were made over thousand years ago by the Sumerians. Sumerian prescriptions for healing using herbs were found by archaeologists on tablets made of clay. It is often believed that it is, perhaps even earlier than the herbal traditions made in China and India (http://www. aturalhealthschool. com/history-of-herbalism. html). The roots of Chinese medicine, which is based largely on herbalism, also dated back approximately 5,000 years ago. The Chinese emperor Chi’ en Nung created a book of medicinal plants called Pen Tsao. The book contained over 300 herbs which, where western scientists have derived the drug ephedrine. In India, their medicine was set forth in the sacred writings called the Vedas, which dated back as far as the 2nd century B. C. The Indians have their own system of medicine called the Ayurveda.

The Indian Materia Medica, as part of Ayurveda, is a list of herbs used as medicines and is quite extensive. As early as 800 B. C. , one Indian writer had already asserted 500 medicinal plants while the other writer on the following time had released 760 all indigenous plants of India. Ayurveda is still practiced today, and even other countries had already adapted some of its authentic and traditional formulations. The Greeks and Romans resulted much of their herbal awareness from these early civilizations.

Ancient Greece was greatly influenced by Babylonia (or Mesopotamia), Egypt, and somewhat by India and China. The Greek physician Hippocrates, who is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine”, was an herbalist. He is credited with having written the book, “Let your foods be your medicines, and your medicines your food. ” The natives in Central and South America also had extensive knowledge of the herbs original to their areas. They have released many herbs that is available until now as a result of their tradition, including Una de Gato or Cat’s Claw herb (Uncaria tomentosa).

This herb from the Peruvian Rain Forest has become very popular in the United States as an immuno-stimulant (supports the immune system in its attempt to keep us well) (http://www. naturalhealthschool. com/history-of-herbalism. html). Even before the Spaniards invaded the Philippines, our forefathers had already idealized the use of herbal medicines by means of their awareness around their environment as well as by means of trial and error method were they used to experiment some plants to be eaten by animals within the wildlife to see the effectiveness of the plant or herb may bring once they take it in as a drug.

Trading has also been popular that time between Philippines and China and other nearby countries leading its way to promote the use of herbal medicines in each of the country included. The incursion of the Spaniards taught Filipinos to be liberated in terms on the techniques leading to the medicines’ improvement during that time. Traditional practioners have also arisen like herbolarios, and was discharged as years go by, and the rest is history. In ancient times, herbalism, like life in general, was mixed with magic and superstition.

Today, with our scientific methods we can determine what superstition is and what fact is. Many traditionally-used herbs have been put to the scientific test and many have proven to possess remarkable curative powers. This is one reason for the renewed interest in herbalism that we are seeing today. Herbs are often proving to be effective and safe alternatives to dangerous and costly drugs. Today, we truly have the best of both worlds. And we are no longer limited to the herbs that are found in our region, for we now have access to plants from around the world.

It is on the long and continuous history of herbs as medicine, together with knowledge taken from modern scientific research, that today’s herbalism is based. Philippine herbal medicines. According to Salazar (2002), herbs have been significantly recognized for their medical properties for over 5,000 years. India uses them as part of the Ayurveda holistic system of healing and China apothecary relies solely on herbs. “The Philippines…, has… to explore the full potential of medicinal plants despite the fact that our ancestors have long known of their benefits.

This is unfortunate since the Philippines is the seventh country in Asia and the 23rd in the world with the most plant species, each with its own healing properties ”, Salazar (2002). Since 1992, President Fidel V. Ramos appreciated the significance of using the traditional medicines (herbalism is a part of traditional medicine) as an alternative modality for treating and preventing diseases in the Philippines. Thus, leading the way to create a program that will definitely focus and give importance particularly in the practice of using herbal medicines.

The president signed a traditional medicine program and signed into law Republic Act 8423, otherwise known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997 and eventually gave rise to the formation of Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health care (PITAHC) which is charged to encourage and advocate the use of traditional and alternative health care modalities through scientific research and product development. According to medicalhealthguide. om, Department of Health, as the endorser of the said program, has endorsed ten medicinal plants to be used as herbal medicine in the Philippines due to its demand and great use as well as its health benefits to all the Filipinos (http://www. medicalhealthguide. com/philippineherbalmedicine. htm). Akapulko or Acapulco (Cassia alata) in English is a shrub that is widely used in the Philippines to cure several skin related issues. Locals call the plant katanda, andadasi, and palochina in Tagalog, Ilocos and in the Visayas regions, respectively.

A medicinal herb that contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies, and eczema. Acapulco also contains saponin, a laxative that is very important and useful in expelling intestinal parasites. It gives help to prevent some skin related issues so as to protect the sensitive skin that is easy to be infected by germs that cause skin infections. The roots and the flowers are used for some certain preparations with medicinal value but the primary part of Acapulco used for herbal purposes are the leaves (http://rite-medicinal-plant. blogspot. com/).

Ampalaya Bitter Melon with a scientific name Momordica charantia, has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments. Most significant of which is for diabetes. The effectiveness of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help cure various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. It helps in providing a boost to our immune system, and thus helps one stay away from common cold and fever.

Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well (http://rite-medicinal-plant. blogspot. com/). Bawang or Garlic with scientific name Allium sativum. This herb is one of the most widely used herbal medicines in the Philippines and can also be found most commonly in the kitchen of Filipino households as it is used to spice up food preparations. Its medicinal properties have been known for a long time and have been especially proven during World War II.

It was used to treat wounds and infections of soldiers. Garlic has an antibacterial compound known as allicin. It prevented the wounds from being infected and developing into gangrene at a later stage by extracting the juice of bawang or garlic and applying to the wounds. Garlic is known as nature’s antibiotic. Its juices inhibit the growth of fungi and viruses thus, prevent viral, yeast, and infections (http://rite-medicinal-plant. blogspot. com/). Bayabas or Guava (Psidium guajava) is a tropical plant, which is locally known for its edible fruit.

It is used as fruit and as traditional remedy to treat various ailments. As shown by many research studies, almost all of the parts of this plant have medicinal qualities and value, and thus, making it as one of the most popular therapeutic plants in the Philippines. The bayabas fruit bark and leaves are used as herbal medicine. Its leaves decoction is recognized for its effectiveness to cure several ailments, including the treatment of uterine hemorrhage, swollenness of the legs and other parts of the body, of chronic diarrhea, and gastroenteritis, among others.

The most common use of the leaves is for cleaning and disinfecting wounds by rinsing the afflicted area with a decoction of the leaves (http://www. medicalhealthguide. com/philippineherbalmedicine. htm). Lagundi (Vitex negundo) is an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. Commonly known in the Ilocos region as dangla, lagundi has been clinically tested to be effective in the treatment of colds, flu, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, and pharyngitis. Studies have shown that Lagundi can prevent the body’s production of leukotrienes, which are released during an asthma attack.

The roots of this shrub are also used as treatment for rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils, and leprosy. The leaves, flowers, seeds, and root of Lagundi can all be used as herbal medicine (http://rite-medicinal-plant. blogspot. com/). Niyog-niyogan or Rangoon Creeper (Quisqualis Indica L. ). Almost all of its parts are used individually, or mixed with other ingredients, as remedy to different ailments. In the Philippines, these are taken to rid people of parasitic worms. Some also use these to help alleviate coughs and diarrhea.

Medical experts, advice patients to consult their doctors as improper dosing may cause hiccups. Niyog-niyogan’s leaves are used to cure body pains by placing them on specific problematic areas of the body (http://rite-medicinal-plant. blogspot. com/). Sambong (Blumea balsamifera) is an amazing medicinal plant. It is an anti-urolithiasis and work as a diuretic. It is used to aid the treatment of kidney disorders. The Sambong leaves can also be used to treat colds and mild hypertension. Since it is a diuretic, this herbal medicine helps dispose of excess water and sodium (salt) in the body.

Sambong is one herbal medicine that possesses a multitude of properties that make it worthy of the DOH approval. As an astringent, preparations made of sambong leaves may be used for wounds and cuts. It is also suggested to be incorporated to post-partum baths, as well as considerable immersion of particular body areas that are afflicted with pains caused by rheumatism. Its expectorant properties make it as a popular recommendation to be taken in as tea to treat colds (http://www. medicalhealthguide. com/philippineherbalmedicine. htm).

Luyang dilaw or Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) has long been used as a cold, cough, fever, and sore throat remedy. It helps in the digestion and absorption of food, lowering of cholesterol, alleviating nausea and vomiting. Ginger has antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties as well. In the same way, it has been found to contain potent anti-oxidant qualities, which come from the extract and active constituents of the plant. These uses are separate and distinct from the nutritional value of luyang dilaw (http://rite-medicinal-plant. blogspot. com/).

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is also known as Wild Marjoram, Mountain Mint, Origanum, Wintersweet and Winter Marjoram. It is good for cough and cold relief and helps prevent degenerative arthritis. It has Anti-aging properties and helps relieve rheumatism and osteoarthritis, bronchitis herbal remedy, ease asthma attacks. It could also relieves upset stomach, treatment of urinary tract problems, relief for dyspepsia or indigestion, healing wounds, insect bites & stings, cure for sore throat and avoid infections caused by childbirth by taking decoctions of the leaves by the recent mother (http://www. edicalhealthguide. com/philippineherbalmedicine. htm). Katakataka (Bryophyllum pinnatum). In the Philippines, the leaves are used as an astringent and antiseptic, and a counterirritant against poisonous insect bites. The fresh leaves, pounded, are also applied to burns, and as poultices on boils. The juice is mixed with lard and is used for diarrhea, dysentery, cholera and phthisis. The pounded leaves are applied as poultice to the soles of the feet in order to stop hemorrhages. The leaves are also used as topicals in dislocations, equimosis, callosities, etc. ( http://www. tuartxchange. com/Katakataka. html). Advantages and disadvantages of herbal medicines. People nowadays are giving preference to alternative medicines such as herbal medicine. It is worth mentioning that these natural and alternative medicines were used thousands of years ago. Archaeological evidences reveal that the civilizations before used herbal plants as part of traditional medicine. For almost 5000 years, herbal medicine was used for treating various ailments. Today, it has been developed as a separate industry as many people favor herbal medicine over synthetic medicine.

Herbal medicine remains largely an unproven, inexact science. Although the history of herbal medicine provides decades, sometimes centuries, of anecdotal information, scientific study of herbal medicine is relatively new. Despite the criticism of herbal medicine among mainstream medical professionals, it is wise to remember that many common drugs we use today were derived from plant-based sources. According to Grunert (2006), there are several advantages and disadvantages of herbal medicine.

Anyone who is taking into account of the use of herbal medicine to treat health conditions should be well- informed of some of the disadvantages aside from the advantages of these herbal medicines may hold (http://herbs. lovetoknow. com/Advantages_and_Disadvantages_of_Herbal_Medicine) . There are a number advantages linked with using herbal medicines as contrasted to pharmaceutical products. First one is the reduced risk of side effects. Most herbal medicines that are greatly used by the patient are intended to be known its prescriptions first before he uses it as his medicine.

Most herbal medicines typically have fewer side effects than any traditional medicine, like drugs that are available in the market particularly. Herbs are safer to use over time. Effectives with chronic conditions. Herbal medicines tend to be more effective for long-standing health complaints that don’t respond well compare with traditional medicine. One example is the herbs and alternative remedies used to treat arthritis. Vioxx, a well-known prescription drug used to treat arthritis, was evoked due to increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Another advantage to herbal medicine is its lower cost.

Herbs cost cheaper than prescription medications. Research, testing, and marketing are the reasons why it tends to be expensive; those are added considerably to the cost of prescription medicines. Herbs tend to be inexpensive compared to drugs. Yet another advantage of herbal medicines is their widespread availability. Herbs may be available without a prescription. You can grow some simple herbs, such as oregano and garlic, at home. In some isolated parts of the world, herbs may be the only treatment available to the majority of people. Herbs are not without disadvantages, and herbal medicine is not appropriate in all situations.

The following are a few of the disadvantages to consider (http://herbs. lovetoknow. com/Advantages_and_Disadvantages_of_Herbal_Medicine). Herbal medicines are sometimes inappropriate for many conditions. Modern medicine treats unexpected and serious illnesses and accidents much more effectively than herbal or alternative treatments. An herbalist would not be able to treat serious trauma, such as a broken leg, nor would he be able to heal appendicitis or a heart attack as effectively as a doctor using modern diagnostic tests, surgery, and drugs. It may be unadvisable because it lacks of dosage instructions.

Another disadvantage of herbal medicine is the very real risks of doing yourself harm through self-dosing with herbs. While you can argue that the same thing can happen with medications, such as accidentally overdosing on cold remedies, many herbs do not come with instructions or package inserts. There is a very real risk of overdose. Poison risk associated with wild herbs. Harvesting herbs in the wild is dangerous, if not risky, yet some people try to identify and pick wild herbs. They run a very real risk of poisoning themselves if they don’t correctly identify the herb, or if they use the wrong part of the plant.

Medication interactions. Herbal treatments can interact with medications. Nearly all herbs come with some warning and once it is mixed with some medication, hazardous effect may occur. It is important to discuss your medications and herbal supplements with your doctor to avoid dangerous interactions. It may not be recommended because of its lack of regulation. Because herbal products are not strongly regulated, consumers also run the risk of buying low-grade quality herbs. The quality of herbal products may vary among batches, brands or manufacturers.

This can make it much more difficult to prescribe the proper dose of an herb. Admits all the advantages and disadvantages, there is no denying to the fact that the merits of herbal medicines overpower the demerits. It’s always advisable to seek help from a good practitioner of herbal medicines to make the most of it. Conclusion Twenty-five hundred years ago when Hippocrates, the Father of Medical Literature, stated as part of his oath: “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone. ” Hippocrates used only food and herbs and is best known for the sayings: “Let your food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”.

This is only a proof that herbal medicine long before Hippocrates was born had already invaded everyone’s mind leading the way for its development as part of every civilization’s traditional medication. Herbal medicines have been a part of our lives since prehistoric times and the importance that the people held to it had lead to its improvement making it to be more reliable and dependable. Its history has been proven and even the people of today, who are living in the world where technology plays most of in their lives, still desire the use on the so- called “old folks”.

Surprisingly, Philippines has its wide variety of resources paving its way to produce more of its indigenous herbs. Herbs namely Acapulco, Ampalaya, Bawang, Bayabas, Lagundi, Niyog- niyogan, Sambong, Luya, Oregano, and Katakataka are just only ten of the thousands known Philippine herbs that have been approved by the Department of Health. The herbs mentioned were commended based on its quality as a remedy and its availability in society. Somehow, people may not think how lucky they are for that nature gives everything they need. As

Cite this The Most Commonly Used Herbal Medicines in Philippines

The Most Commonly Used Herbal Medicines in Philippines. (2016, Nov 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-most-commonly-used-herbal-medicines-in-philippines/

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