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Library Health News

10 medicinal plants

Editor's Note: The plants shown here are the ones that Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan wants the Department of Health to officially recognize and promote as medicinal plants

DR. JAIME GALVEZ-TAN, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and now president of Health Futures Foundation Inc., wants Congress to allot at least P200 million--an amount touted as mere bribe money in the National Broadband Network deal--for the research and development of a new batch of herbal medicines.

Health research and development over the past 30 years has focused on only 10 medicinal plants. "It's time to unveil the next 10," said Galvez-Tan, adding that it takes about P20 million to complete necessary chemical and clinical tests on one plant.

Galvez-Tan, a professor at the UP College of Medicine, said he was "very disappointed" that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State of the Nation Address this year stressed the quest for cheaper medicines through parallel importations without complementary support for developing our own drugs, including alternative or herbal medicines.

The Philippines hosts some of the most diverse flora in the world. About 1,500 of over 13,000 plant species in the country have identified medicinal value. But it is losing out on what is now a $100-million global herbal medicine market because of the low priority given by government to medical research, Galvez-Tan said in an interview with the Inquirer.

Original 10
The original 10 medicinal plants being promoted by the Department of Health are: lagundi (Vitex negundo), yerba buena (Mentha cordifolia Opiz), sambong (Blumea balsamifera), tsaang gubat (Carmona retusa), ampalaya (Momordica charantia), niyug-niyogan (Quisqualis indica), bayabas (Psidium guajava), akapulko (Cassia alata), ulasimang bato (Peperomia pellucida), and bawang (Allium sativum). Many of them are already available in commercial preparations.

Dr. Nelia Maramba, head of the National Integrated Research Program for Medicinal Plants, has published a list of 83 plants that have already passed rapid-screening tests and are awaiting more exhaustive chemical and clinical examination. The coordinating body is ready to present its suggested next 10 but is keeping the list under wraps until it is presented to the Department of Health.

A Philippine phamacopeia released in 2004 lists 30 priority "crude plant drugs" backed up by validated studies here and abroad. Excluding the first-10 DOH-approved plants, the list includes: Dita bark, sinta herb, kintsay leaf, sampaguita flower, ipil-ipil seeds, makahiya herb, apatot fruit, malunggay bark, ikmo leaf, paminta, oregano leaf, mayana leaf, granada rind, romero leaf, akasya leaf, duhat bark, sampalok pulp, makabuhay stem, ginger and banaba. The list will be updated every five years.

At the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, the agency that coordinates and helps fund studies in alternative medicine, among many others, executive director Jaime Montoya has a list of eight new, ongoing research projects. Four involve plants on the old-10 list (sambong, ulasimang bato, tsaang gubat and bayabas) but for new uses. The other four are the golden shower tree (Kanya fistula), saluyot, makahiya and guyabano.

There are also some ongoing studies in university laboratories on atis, for possible biopesticide use; gumamela, a skin salve and rejuvenator; alibunyog, antibacterial; banago, antifungal; and mangagaw, a possible treatment for dengue fever, among others.

Next 10
From these lists, a colloquium of government, academic and industry players came up in 2003 with its own next-10 suggestions. Among them are gugo, already quite popular as a hair wash; lawat, another skin and hair nourisher; gotukola, a known rejuvenator and germicide; siling labuyo, an ingredient in salves to ease arthritis pain; ilang-ilang, a well-known fragrance; patchouli or kabling, another fragrance and possible hair grower; and neem, lemon grass and black pepper--all known biopesticides.

Dr. Isidro Sia, who has been given the reins of NIH's new Institute of Herbal Medicine, said the next-10 list would evolve in the coming months based on further consultations--and depending on the budget lawmakers and health officials will make available to researchers.

With a budget of only P8 million, he is proceeding with efforts to document all indigenous Philippine herbal preparations with the hope that these traditions will be preserved and will eventually benefit the communities themselves. New rules are being implemented to prevent biopiracy of Philippine indigenous resources, he said.

Balanoi (sweet basil)
Ocimum basilicum L.
Coughs and dizziness

Preparation and use: For dizziness, crush enough fresh leaves with your
fingers and sniff them. As a decoction for cough, boil eight tablespoons of fresh leaves in two glasses of water for 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to half. Divide the decoction into eight parts and take one part, three times a day.

Oregano (broad leaf thyme)
Coleus amboinicus Lour.
Respiratory ailments like cough, asthma and bronchitis

Preparation and use: Squeeze juice of the leaves. Take one teaspoon every hour for adults. For children above 2 years old, 3 to 4 teaspoons a day.

Banaba
Lagerstroemia speciosa L.
Abdominal pains

Preparation and use: It is prepared and taken as a tea as a general tonic.
Exact dosage for other uses is not yet available.

Malunggay (horse radish)
Moringa oleifera Lam.

Leaves: Good source of phosphorus, ascorbic acid, calcium and iron.
As a decoction, it is used to treat hiccoughs, asthma, gout, lumbago, rheumatism, enlarged spleen or liver and other deep-seated
inflammations. It can be used to clean wounds and sores.

Preparation and use:
To use as treatment for constipation, eat one or two cups of the cooked leaves at supper time accompanied by plenty of water. As a wound wash, apply crushed leaves directly to affected area. Be sure to maintain cleanliness throughout the procedure.

Makabuhay
Tinospora rumphi Boerl

Indigestion, diarrhea, fever, skin wounds and, as an ointment, for rheumatism.
It should not be given to patients with cardiac disorders and those suffering from fever due to typhoid and pneumonia; pregnant women, children below three years old, as well as other weak individuals.

Preparation of ointment:
Wash and chop 1/2 glass of stem. Sauté chopped stem on low fire for about five minutes in one glass of coconut oil. Remove the stems then add half a glass of grated white candlewax. When the wax is melted, pour into clean bottle and label. Use the ointment over the whole body, save the face area, for three consecutive nights.

Balbas pusa (cat's whiskers)
Orthosiphon aristatus
(Blume) Miq.
Gout and renal disorders

Preparation and use: Dosage for decoction and other crude drug preparations has not yet been established.

Luyang dilaw (turmeric)
Curcuma longa L.
Wounds and swelling

Preparation and use: To make an ointment, wash the ginger. There is no need to peel it. Chop the rhizomes to fill half a glass of water. Sauté with one glass of coconut oil on low heat for five minutes. Place in a clean bottle and label. To use as an antiseptic for wounds, extract juice of the fresh rhizome and apply directly on the wound or swelling. For gas pain in adults, boil a thumbsized rhizome in a glass of water until it becomes one half glass. Drink the decoction.

Saluyot
Corchorus capsularis L.
Chronic inflammation of urinary bladder

Preparation and use: Incorporate the leaves in vegetable dishes and soups. Dosage for decoction and other crude drug preparations has not yet been established.

Tanglad (lemon grass)
Andropogon citratus DC

Stomach discomfort, toothache, sprain, vomiting and ringworm

Preparation and use:
To make a liniment, boil equal amounts of chopped leaves and roots with freshly made coconut oil. This can also serve as insect repellant. To make an infusion, mix four ounces of the grass to one pint of boiling water. To keep away mosquitos, plant it around your house or place crushed leaves on your window sills.

Takip kuhol
(Asiatic pennywort)
Centella asiatica L.
Wounds and skin sores

Preparation and use:
The sap of the leaves is used on wounds and skin sores. Rich in Vitamin B, it can be eaten as a salad or vegetable dish. Dosage for specific conditions not yet available.

DR. JAIME GALVEZ-TAN, former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and now president of Health Futures Foundation Inc., wants Congress to allot at least P200 million--an amount touted as mere bribe money in the National Broadband Network deal--for the research and development of a new batch of herbal medicines.

Health research and development over the past 30 years has focused on only 10 medicinal plants. "It's time to unveil the next 10," said Galvez-Tan, adding that it takes about P20 million to complete necessary chemical and clinical tests on one plant.

Galvez-Tan, a professor at the UP College of Medicine, said he was "very disappointed" that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's State of the Nation Address this year stressed the quest for cheaper medicines through parallel importations without complementary support for developing our own drugs, including alternative or herbal medicines.

The Philippines hosts some of the most diverse flora in the world. About 1,500 of over 13,000 plant species in the country have identified medicinal value. But it is losing out on what is now a $100-million global herbal medicine market because of the low priority given by government to medical research, Galvez-Tan said in an interview with the Inquirer.

Original 10
The original 10 medicinal plants being promoted by the Department of Health are: lagundi (Vitex negundo), yerba buena (Mentha cordifolia Opiz), sambong (Blumea balsamifera), tsaang gubat (Carmona retusa), ampalaya (Momordica charantia), niyug-niyogan (Quisqualis indica), bayabas (Psidium guajava), akapulko (Cassia alata), ulasimang bato (Peperomia pellucida), and bawang (Allium sativum). Many of them are already available in commercial preparations.

Dr. Nelia Maramba, head of the National Integrated Research Program for Medicinal Plants, has published a list of 83 plants that have already passed rapid-screening tests and are awaiting more exhaustive chemical and clinical examination. The coordinating body is ready to present its suggested next 10 but is keeping the list under wraps until it is presented to the Department of Health.

A Philippine phamacopeia released in 2004 lists 30 priority "crude plant drugs" backed up by validated studies here and abroad. Excluding the first-10 DOH-approved plants, the list includes: Dita bark, sinta herb, kintsay leaf, sampaguita flower, ipil-ipil seeds, makahiya herb, apatot fruit, malunggay bark, ikmo leaf, paminta, oregano leaf, mayana leaf, granada rind, romero leaf, akasya leaf, duhat bark, sampalok pulp, makabuhay stem, ginger and banaba. The list will be updated every five years.

At the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, the agency that coordinates and helps fund studies in alternative medicine, among many others, executive director Jaime Montoya has a list of eight new, ongoing research projects. Four involve plants on the old-10 list (sambong, ulasimang bato, tsaang gubat and bayabas) but for new uses. The other four are the golden shower tree (Kanya fistula), saluyot, makahiya and guyabano.

There are also some ongoing studies in university laboratories on atis, for possible biopesticide use; gumamela, a skin salve and rejuvenator; alibunyog, antibacterial; banago, antifungal; and mangagaw, a possible treatment for dengue fever, among others.

Next 10
From these lists, a colloquium of government, academic and industry players came up in 2003 with its own next-10 suggestions. Among them are gugo, already quite popular as a hair wash; lawat, another skin and hair nourisher; gotukola, a known rejuvenator and germicide; siling labuyo, an ingredient in salves to ease arthritis pain; ilang-ilang, a well-known fragrance; patchouli or kabling, another fragrance and possible hair grower; and neem, lemon grass and black pepper--all known biopesticides.

Dr. Isidro Sia, who has been given the reins of NIH's new Institute of Herbal Medicine, said the next-10 list would evolve in the coming months based on further consultations--and depending on the budget lawmakers and health officials will make available to researchers.

With a budget of only P8 million, he is proceeding with efforts to document all indigenous Philippine herbal preparations with the hope that these traditions will be preserved and will eventually benefit the communities themselves. New rules are being implemented to prevent biopiracy of Philippine indigenous resources, he said.

Balanoi (sweet basil)
Ocimum basilicum L.
Coughs and dizziness

Preparation and use: For dizziness, crush enough fresh leaves with your
fingers and sniff them. As a decoction for cough, boil eight tablespoons of fresh leaves in two glasses of water for 15 minutes or until the liquid is reduced to half. Divide the decoction into eight parts and take one part, three times a day.

Oregano (broad leaf thyme)
Coleus amboinicus Lour.
Respiratory ailments like cough, asthma and bronchitis

Preparation and use: Squeeze juice of the leaves. Take one teaspoon every hour for adults. For children above 2 years old, 3 to 4 teaspoons a day.

Banaba
Lagerstroemia speciosa L.
Abdominal pains

Preparation and use: It is prepared and taken as a tea as a general tonic.
Exact dosage for other uses is not yet available.

Malunggay (horse radish)
Moringa oleifera Lam.

Leaves: Good source of phosphorus, ascorbic acid, calcium and iron.
As a decoction, it is used to treat hiccoughs, asthma, gout, lumbago, rheumatism, enlarged spleen or liver and other deep-seated
inflammations. It can be used to clean wounds and sores.

Preparation and use:
To use as treatment for constipation, eat one or two cups of the cooked leaves at supper time accompanied by plenty of water. As a wound wash, apply crushed leaves directly to affected area. Be sure to maintain cleanliness throughout the procedure.

Makabuhay
Tinospora rumphi Boerl

Indigestion, diarrhea, fever, skin wounds and, as an ointment, for rheumatism.
It should not be given to patients with cardiac disorders and those suffering from fever due to typhoid and pneumonia; pregnant women, children below three years old, as well as other weak individuals.

Preparation of ointment:
Wash and chop 1/2 glass of stem. Sauté chopped stem on low fire for about five minutes in one glass of coconut oil. Remove the stems then add half a glass of grated white candlewax. When the wax is melted, pour into clean bottle and label. Use the ointment over the whole body, save the face area, for three consecutive nights.

Balbas pusa (cat's whiskers)
Orthosiphon aristatus
(Blume) Miq.
Gout and renal disorders

Preparation and use: Dosage for decoction and other crude drug preparations has not yet been established.

Luyang dilaw (turmeric)
Curcuma longa L.
Wounds and swelling

Preparation and use: To make an ointment, wash the ginger. There is no need to peel it. Chop the rhizomes to fill half a glass of water. Sauté with one glass of coconut oil on low heat for five minutes. Place in a clean bottle and label. To use as an antiseptic for wounds, extract juice of the fresh rhizome and apply directly on the wound or swelling. For gas pain in adults, boil a thumbsized rhizome in a glass of water until it becomes one half glass. Drink the decoction.

Saluyot
Corchorus capsularis L.
Chronic inflammation of urinary bladder

Preparation and use: Incorporate the leaves in vegetable dishes and soups. Dosage for decoction and other crude drug preparations has not yet been established.

Tanglad (lemon grass)
Andropogon citratus DC

Stomach discomfort, toothache, sprain, vomiting and ringworm

Preparation and use:
To make a liniment, boil equal amounts of chopped leaves and roots with freshly made coconut oil. This can also serve as insect repellant. To make an infusion, mix four ounces of the grass to one pint of boiling water. To keep away mosquitos, plant it around your house or place crushed leaves on your window sills.

Takip kuhol
(Asiatic pennywort)
Centella asiatica L.
Wounds and skin sores

Preparation and use:
The sap of the leaves is used on wounds and skin sores. Rich in Vitamin B, it can be eaten as a salad or vegetable dish. Dosage for specific conditions not yet available.

source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/talkofthetown/view_article.php?article_id=93006

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