Philippine herbal medicine supplements that have been approved by the Philippine Department of Heath are also endorsed by them. The parts of the plants used vary greatly but can include the seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark or flowers. Philippine herbal medicine, which has been around longer than conventional medicine, is rapidly becoming a mainstream alternative.
Philippine herbal medicine endorsement program
Currently there are ten herbs that have been tested in the Philippines and have been clinically proven to have enough medicinal value to offer relief of symptoms or treatment for various ailments. These ten herbs that are approved for use by Philippine herbal medicine standards are akapulko, ampalaya, bawang, bayabas, lagundi, niyos-niyogan, sambong, tsaang gubat, ulasimang bato and yerba buena.
• Cassia alata, commonly known as akapulko, ringworm bush or bayabas-bayabasan, has anti-fungal properties and is a common ingredient in shampoos, lotions and soaps. It is also used to treat ringworms and fungal infections in skin.
• Momordica charantia, commonly known as ampalaya, bitter gourd or bitter melon, is used as a treatment for diabetes in non-insulin dependent patients. It is also believed to help inhibit HIV-1 infection and has been known to act as an anti-tumor agent.
• Allium sativum, commonly known as bawang or garlic, lowers the risk of further heart attacks in myocardial infarct patients and helps to control blood pressure because it helps to reduce cholesterol in the blood. Garlic has many medicinal properties besides the ones above. It is also a stimulant, diuretic and has antiseptic properties.
• Psidium guajava, commonly known as bayabas or guava, can be used to treat tooth decay, gum infection, diarrhea, sore throats, to disinfect wounds and as an antiseptic. It is best to eat guava fresh.
• Vitex negundo, commonly called lagundi or chaste tree, helps relive coughs, disperses the swelling of joints in rheumatism, helps with burns and scalds and is also used to help relieve asthma. It is the second most important treatment for chronic bronchitis in Chinese medicine.
• Quisqualis indica, commonly called niyog-niyogan or Chinese honeysuckle, helps eliminate intestinal worms, treats skin diseases, fever and diarrhea.
• Blumea balsamifera, commonly known as sambong, helps with the dissolution of urinary stones, is a cure for colds and is an expectorant. Sambong is one of the most commonly used herbs in the Philippine herbal medicine cabinet.
• Ehretia microphylla, commonly known as tsaang gubat, is used as a mouth wash, an antispasmodic, for colic and cough and is effective in treating intestinal motility.
• Peperomia pellucida, commonly known as ulasimang bato or pansit-pansitan, is used for fighting arthritis and gout, is an anti-inflammatory and has analgesic properties.
• Clinopodium douglasii, commonly known as peppermint or yerba Buena, helps to relieve the body of aches and pains, is an aphrodisiac, a blood purifier and is often used as a treatment for insomnia, colds and fevers.
Currently almost 80% of the world population uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care according to the World Health Organization. Philippine herbal medicine is no different than any other herbal medicine, the common name may change, but the medicinal properties of the plant do not.