Philippines is the World’s 3rd Richest Country in Medicinal Plants


"We Filipinos are so much beholden to North America and European pharmaceutical companies that we forget we are more bio-diverse than the US, Europe and China. We tend to rely too much on imported synthetic medicine instead of our own natural products." says Dr. Galvez. Tan a proponent of integrated medicine (traditional and modern). Out of the hundreds of thousands of plants documented since the Spanish times, 1,500 are medicinal plants but only 170 or 10% have been intensively researched. This is the reality of what the Philippine medicinal plants are today.


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Next to Brazil and Indonesia, the Philippine medicinal plants is the answer to the people who cannot afford or does not even have money to buy expensive medicine available over the counter today.  An average Filipino does not need to spend a little more for his daily vitamin supplements for him to keep working and not spending too much of his sick leave. Philippine medicinal plants have the advantage of phytochemicals which makes them the safest medicines or no issues of safety, toxicty and side effects except with some very potent plants.

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Dr. Galvez Tan  is Undersecretary when he helped Health Secretary Juan Flavier to formulate the top 10  Philippine medicinal plants based on research, accessibility, and power to address the common diseases with no side effects.

  

Top ten comprises of:



Lagundi or Five-leaved Chaste Tree (Vitex negundo) - a shrub whose leaves are used as decoction or tea for asthma, cough and fever. 

Yerba Buena/Mint or Hibas (Mentha cordifolia) - an herb and spice that can be eaten raw or drunk as a tea and serves as an analgesic for headache and body pains.

Sambong or Blumea Camphor (Blumea balsamifera) - is a hairy shrub with fragrant leaves that effectively melt kidney stones. It is also a dieuretic, which is safe for people with edema or hypertension.

Wild tea or Tsaang Gubat (Carmina retusa) - is a shrub with shiny, dark green leaves used for abdominal pain and colic. As a decoction, the leaves contain natural fluoride good for mouthwash.

Chinese honeysuckle or Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis) -  is a vine with fruits and flowers. The seeds fight ringworms. The only side efect is a hiccup.

Bayabas or Guava (Psidium guajava) - The decoction of leaves and its powdered dried fruits and bark cleanses wounds and skin ulcers. As a mouthwash, it treats oral infections and serves as a foot and boty deodorant.
Ampalaya or Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia)  - is a vegetable with corrugated skin and leaves used to lower blood sugar.
Bawang or Garlic (Allium sativum) - is a spice known for lowering blood cholesterol.

Pansit-pansitan or Silver/Shiny bush - has heart-shaped leaves and edible stems used for salads and as a decoction. It treates gout and lowers blood uric acid.

Akapulko or Ringworm bush (Cassia alata) - is a shrub with bright yellow flowers and long, slender, flat fruits. The juice of the leaves can heal fungal skin infections.
Article source from Look magazine September Issue 2010 "What's in your backyard?"

 


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