Lemon Grass- The green cure for cancer and the pesky mosquito bite

English Name: Lemon Grass
Local Name: Tanglad / Tangad


 Commonly valuable and grown in households across the countryside, Lemon grass (Cybopogon nardus /Citronella winterianus) or Tanglad (is it is commonly called in the country) is not just a great spice and aromatic for the traditional roasted chicken (lechon manok) and other stews but has more to offer aside from just pleasing our appetite. 

Recent studies conducted by Israeli scientists on this humble grass revealed its cancer fighting qualities where its extract known as Citral (which gives the plant its citrus smell) causes cancer cells to kill themselves without damaging healthy cells.

Locally, Lemon grass is also gaining popularity as the plant of choice for households that want to deter mosquitoes. One may simply plant a handful of stalks in the ground or a potting medium near the home and enjoy its repelling benefits. There are also commercially available mosquito sprays and lotion which contain Lemon grass extract as base.


How to make Lemon Grass Tea



 To enjoy its cancer fighting benefits, simply make fresh Lemon Grass tea. 

1.    Get a handful of Lemon Grass leaves (clove included) and peel out the outer layer of the leaves and discard them.


2.    Let the leaves boil in water for about 20-30 minutes until the color changes to brown.


3.    Add sugar or your preferred sweetener and let it simmer for a few more minutes.


4.    Remove the mixture from the fire and using a strainer, strain the mixture in a cup and drink it hot. 







Mangagaw: The cheap cure for Dengue

Mangagaw- Euphorbia Hirta 

English Name: Euphorbia plant, Asthma weed

Local Name: Mangagaw, Tawa-tawa, Taua taua

Largely known for centuries in the country as the poor man’s cure for the dreaded Dengue disease, Mangagaw in bisaya or Tawa-tawa in tagalog  (Sci name: Euphorbia Hirta) comes into view whenever the onset of the rainy season is felt in the countryside. (Usually in the months of June to December) where Dengue outbreaks also frequently occur.  

The Mangagaw plant/ weed is commonly found growing among mountainsides and backyards across the Philippines and possesses anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties along with the unique ability to increase blood platelets among Dengue patients.

Using Mangagaw/ Tawa-tawa as medicine

1.    Harvest a handful of these plants (mature ones are much preferred) 
2.    Boil them until the water turns to brown or dark green.
3.    Pour the mixture in a glass or mug 
4.    Let the patient drink the concoction

If the patient dislikes the usually pungent and tangy taste of the brew, you can opt to add it in a glass of juice until all the contents have been consumed. 
 
Should you happened to be in a community where this plant is scarce, one can also avail of ready to drink juices and herbal products containing this wonderful herb in major grocery and drug stores nationwide.



Malunggay: The super-green supplement wonder

Malunggay- Moringa Oliefera

English Name: Horseradish tree, Ben Oil tree, Drumstick tree

Local name
: Malunggay, Kamunggay, Kalamunggai, Molongai

Malunggay as this shrub is popularly known in the Philippines, is a popular vegetable additive for viands among Southeast-Asian and Indian geographies. Malunggay is widely acknowledged in the scientific community for having great nutritional as well as medicinal values.

In the Philippines, one can easily find this wonderful plant thriving in the wild and in almost every backyard. As it only requires low maintenance, this plant can grow accustomed with all types of soil. Almost all the parts of this plant is very useful- as flowers, leaves, fruit / pods and roots all have different health directives and benefits.

The benefits of Malunggay are centered around its leaves which have been found as a wonder supplement; being a rich resource for calcium, iron, vit c and phosphorus. A handful of this plant's leaves, thawed over low flame for a few seconds and applied on fresh cuts and wounds has already been practiced in most parts of the Visayas and Mindanao and is found to be an effective antiseptic and anti-inflammatory first aid. Its flowers contain anti-oxidant, anti- diabetic, and circulatory stimulating properties.

To get the most out of Malunggay, one can just simply:
  • Simply eat the sumptous long time Visayan Recipies: Utan Bisaya (visayan vegetable soup) and Kinamunggayang Tinola (fish stew) where the leaves of this plant is one of the main ingredients.
  • Take the supplement capsule that is now commercially available in the market.

Lagundi: The green relief of coughs, asthma and skin disorders

LagundiVitex Negundo

English name:
5- leaved chaste tree
Local name: Dangla, Lagundi

Is a shrub that is perennially growing in the Philippines. Since ancient times Lagundi, has been used as an effective remedy for colds, flu, asthma, chronic bronchitis and even pharyngitis. Studies found that this shrub contains extracts which can prevent the body’s production of leukotrienes- a chemical reaction that’s released from the body during an asthma attack. It also has Chrysoplenol D which has anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties.

The roots of the Lagundi on the other hand are used to treat rheumatism, dyspepsia, boils and even leprosy. The upper parts as leaves, flowers, seeds can be boiled and taken orally.

Commercially today, Lagundi is now available in capsule and syrup form while its flowers are recommended as tonic for the heart, liver and for other internal disorders as diarrhea and cholera.

This perineal plant has anti- inflammatory properties which make it an ideal treatment for leprosy and other skin diseases.

Preparation:


Boiling a cup of fresh or dried leaves and drinking the concoction.
Rub on / apply directly the decoction to relieve skin disorders.

Garlic: The stinking relief for blood cholesterol and high pressure

Garlic- Allium sativum

English name- Garlic, Poorman's treacle, Stinking rose, Nectar of the gods

Local name
- Bawang, Ahos


A staple spice for most dishes in Asian and Filipino cuisine, this bulbous and pungent herb is noted for a lot of healing properties the most popular of which is to control pressure and reduce cholesterol in the blood. For treatment using garlic, patients are advised to eat raw cloves.

This herb is widely distributed among major areas of Luzon as Batangas and Nueva Ecija and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao and can commonly be found in market places, grocery, and sari-sari stores nationwide.

Hosts of other ailments by which garlic can cure include:

Crush some cloves and apply on affected areas for rheumatism, arthritis and toothache.
Crush a clove and apply to temples in case of headaches or rub on affected areas for insect bites and athlete's foot.
Other parts of garlic which can be used are its bulb and leaves which when brewed is used to treat common colds, cough up to much higher ailments as asthma and bronchitis.


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Atis: A potent healer of fever and colds

Atis- Anona Squamosa

English name- Sweet Sop, Sugar Apple
Local name- Atis


A small to medium sized fruit tree with light green, oval leaves used as a medicinal herb in most parts of the country. Atis is primarily a native plant of the Americas (Spanning from Central- South Americas) and was introduced in the Philippines during the spanish colonial times.

Described as having a milky, sweet and succulent flesh with black poisonous seeds, excluding only those; all parts of this tree have medicinal value.

Brewed leaves in boiling water is a good medicine for colds and fever. Drinking this concoction can also treat dysentery while pouring the hot concoction to one's bath will help ease out rheumatic pain. Inhaling its crushed leaves will help ease out drowsiness, while its bark brewed in boiling water will eliminate diarrhea.

An unripened Atis fruit is a good relief for insect bites.


Ampalaya: The affordable medicine for Diabetes



Ampalaya- Momordica Charantia (English name: Bitter Melon)
Local name: Ampalaya, Paliya

A popular climbing vine having tendrils of which can grow up to 20 centimeters long. This plant is largely used in the country as a staple viand and is also known for the bitter taste of its flesh when eaten.

Throughout the ages, Ampalaya has been used to treat ailments but it has gained reputation in the treatment of Diabetes. Its fruit contains momorcidin, certain flavanoids and alkaloids with which the effect on diabetic patients, is that their pancreas produce more insulin to control blood sugar effectively. Its fruit is also a potent source of Vitamins and minerals particularly: A, B, C, Iron, Folic Acid, Phosphorous and Calcium.

Ampalaya has long been used in the country for the treatment of skin diseases, as parasiticide, antipyretic, purgative, treatment of cough to even increase sterility in women.

The Philippines’ Department of Health has recently recognized and endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine for Diabetes.

Akapulko: The potent antifungal alternative

Akapulko– (Cassia alata) (English name: Ringworm bush)
Local: bayabas-bayabasan,kapurko, katanda, katandang asoandadasi, andadasi-a-dakdakel, kasitas, sunting, palo china, pakayomkom kastila.



Described as an erect shrub that grows wild having dark green leaves that have an orange rachis and has 16-28 leaflets.

It can be found in abundance throughout the archipelago and is popularly used as herbal medicine in the treatment of fungal infections such as ringworms, scabies and eczema.

This shrub is most prized for its leaves and sap which have diuretic, sudorific and purgative properties. Akapulko is also widely used to treat intestinal parasites, bronchitis and even asthma.