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Medicine from Plants at your Fingertips

     When we suffer from any illness, we are inclined to at once seek the help of a doctor or rush to a drug store for self-medication.

But there are proven treatments to illness using plants commonly found around us. They can save us a good sum of money and provide immediate relief from complaints if only we know how to use them. Of course, it's still convenient to take a pill, but what is its cost?

Here are illments and their treatments using local medicinal plants according to the "Guidebook on the Proper use of Medicinal plants" by Dr. Nelia P. Cortes-Maramba.

Some of plants may not be familiar to you, but Maramba provides photos of these plants in her book which enables you to identify them at once. Even better, contact the Philippine Council of Health, Research and Development (PCHRD) which promotes the use of medicinal herbs. Another government agency, the Philippine institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC), is actually processing some of these medicinal plants into easy plants into easy-to-take pills.

1. Wounds. For superficial cut and scratches, apply on the wound the juice from the leaves of any of the following: balanoy, bawang, dilaw, b alanoy, eucalyptus, ikmo, luya, or suob kabayo.

2. Bleeding. Boil one or two handfuls of the plant material any of the following in a small pot of the water for five minutes: abutra stems, balanoy, bayabas (guava), kalantas bark, kamakamatisan, damong maria, duhat leaves, lagundi leaves, lanting, makabuhay stems, sampalok leaves, sulasi leaves, suob kabayo, and tangan-tangan leaves. Use this extract or decoction to wash the wound once or two times a day.

3. Toothache. Chews fresh leaf tops of bayabas young leaves and leave on the aching tooth up to 15 minutes a blanched and then crushed clove of the garlic. Extracts of the lagundi or yerba Buena leaves may also to used as cure. For adults, boil four tablespoons or tbsp (if dried) or six tbsp (if fresh) of any of the leaves in two glasses of water for 15 minutes or until only one glass of the liquid is left. Drink one part of the decoction every three or four hours. Children aged seven to 12 should receive treatment using half of the leaves of the material required in adults.

4. Abdominal pain. Indigestion, diarrhea, intestinal parasitism, urinary tract disease, menstruation, and other ailment may result in abdominal pain. A relief is by drinking a decoction taken from boiling any of the following in one glass of water for 15 minutes or until only one-half of the liquid is left: two tbsp of bayabas leaves if dried ( three tbsp if fresh), one tbsp of dried or fresh mangos teen peel, or two tbsp if dried or three tbsp of tsaang gubat leaves. For children, use one-half of the adult dose.

For gaseous distention, treatment can come from boiling in one cup of water for five minutes one tbsp (dried or fresh) of the following leaves: balanoy, bani, romero, sulasi, sambong, (two tbsp for fresh), tanglad ( two tbsp for fresh), and yerba buena. Strain the mixture and drink when lukewarm.

5. Abscess (boil). A warm, painful swelling under the skin containing pus, an abscess may caused by a dirty skin, an obstruction in the sweat glands, a punctured wound, or a clotted blood. Wash the abscess daily; apply the following medicinal plants as poultice ( warm, soft, moistened mass spread on cloth and applied to a sore) to hasten point of boiling: gumamema flower bud, kamatigi leaves, suob kabayo leaves, talumpunay leaves and flower.

6. Asthma. Drink a decoction that comes from a boiling lagundi leaves (four tbsp if dried and six tbsp if fresh) with two glasses of water for 15 minutes. Take one part three times daily. Talumpunay dried flower or leaves may also be made into a cigarette for more than six hours, and another precaution is just like marijuana, it may be addictive.

7. Arthritis. Heat enough amount of this freah leaves- balanoy, kabling, lantana, sulasi, yerba Buena -- or siling labuyo fruit and luya rhizomes. Pound the plant material and apply while warm on the affected joint.

8. Burns. Apply two times daily on the affected parts the juice of nay of these -- gumamela flower buds, oregano leaves, and sabila leaves. If a blister form, take off the skin, clean with soap and water. and apply the medicinal plants.

9. Constipation. Aside from taking eight to 12 glasses daily and eating plenty of fiber-rich food like vegetables and fruits, treatment includes eating of one to two medium sized rice papaya fruit or one or two cups of the following cooked vegetables --kamote leaves, kamoteng kahoy leaves, kangkong leaves, malunggay leaves.

Other treatments are eating one-fourth to one -half cup of the following cooked seeds ---kasuy, linga,mani, or pili; drinking the mixture of one or two crushed kanya pistula fruit in one glass of water; drinking of two teaspoon of palay bran boiled in one glass of water for five minutes; and drinking of one or two tbsp of coconut cream taken from coconut meat.

10. Cough. This is a symtom of many illnesses including throat infection, bronchitis, colds, measles, flu, tuberculosis bacteria, and smoking. Relief can some from the decoction of six tbsp if dried or eight tbsp if fresh of alagaw leaves boiled in two glasses of water for 15 minutes. Balanoy leaves, lagundi leaves, luya rhizomes,, mangga tops, oregano leaves, and eucalyptus leaves may be a substitute to alagaw leaves by using a different material requirement (refer to the book). take one part three times daily. Children aged seven to 12 should get half of the adult dose.

11. Diarrhea. Dehydration or loss of water that can go with diarrhea can be treated with oresol or coconut water (from seven to nine-month of old), or clean water mixed with two tbsp of sugar or honey, one-fourth teaspoon of salt and one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda. For controlling the increased frequency of bowel movement, eight tbsp if dried and 10 tbsp if fresh of the following leaves maybe boiled with two glasses of water---abukado, or kaymito. Drink one part every two to three hours. Children aged seven to 12 should take half of the adult dose. bayabas leaves, mangosteen peel, tsaang gubat leaves, and niyog fruit maybe substitute abukado or kaymito but using a different dosage (refer to the book)

12. Dizzeness, fainting, and hysteria. Let the patient sniff any of these crushed fresh plants --leaves of balanoy, bayabas, kalamansi, suha, sulasi, or yerba Buena; dalanghita, or kabuyaw or dayap leaves or rind; and pounded anis seed wrapped in cloth.

13. Falling hair. Use gugo bark soaked in the water until lathery to wash hair and scalp. Use sabila leaves as juice applied and massaged on the scalp and wash off after 15 minutes.

14. Fever. Indicated by a body temperature of 37.5 degrees centigrade and up, fever is a symptom of many illnesses (infection like flu, colds, measles, malaria, meningitis, tonsilitis, pnemonia, tuberculosis; heart stroke, and cancer). Aside from intake of fluids, sponge bath, a decoction of four tbsp of dried lagundi leaves boiled in two glasses of water for 15 minutes may be given to a patient. other substitutes are leaves of alagaw, balimbing, dayap, kamyas,lagundi, mangga, sambong, sampalok, and suha.

15. Headache. A symptom for fatigue, emotional stress, migraine, high blood pressure, eye disease, and others, headache may be treated by applying on the forehead the crushed form of the following leaves heated over a small fire and covered in a cloth bandage ---alagaw, damong maria, lagundi, mayana, mansanilya, pandan mabango, sambong, suob kabayo, and yerba buena.

16. High Blood Pressure. Eat cooked ( roast or blanched) two medium-sized cloves of garlic. Precaution: this is not recommended for peptic ulcer patients.

17. Urinating difficulty (like those caused by kidney stone) This may be treated by taking a decoction of four tbsp if dried or six tbsp if fresh of sambong leaves boiled in two glasses of water for 15 minutes. It is taken one part three times daily. Corn hair and kugon roots are substitute to sambing leaves, but on different dosage (refer to the Guidebook)

18. Itching. Caused by an allergy, eczema, prickly heat, fungal infection, and emotional stress, it may be treated by washing the itchy skin with the decoction of one or two handfuls of chopped abutra leaves, bani leaves, or bayabas leaves boiled in a small pot of water for five minutes. Juice of resh kakawati leaves may also be applied on the skin. A thick starch solution of kamoteng kahoy, mais, or palay may also be prepared and applied on the itchy skin.

19. Otitis Media. An infection of the middle part of the ear, it may be treated with the heated (on small fire) juice of fresh sorosoro leaves. Apply two to three drops of the juice (not the latex) on the affected ear two times daily.

20. Poisoning. To induce vomiting, drink the mixture of a whole bulb of garlic burnt and powdered and mixed with one-half glass of water. The juice of kintsay plants may also be taken.

21. Scabies. A skin disease due to small insects biting and forming a tunnel under the skin, it can be treated by applying on the skin the juice of the following leaves----akapulko, kakawati, or malunggay----or makabuhay stems. Use after bathing two times daily. Kalatsusi bark, one-half cup of chopped dried bark, may also be boiled with one-half cup of cooking oil for five minutes and applied on the skin.

22. Spraines. Aside from applying bandages or cold compress, it may be treated with the following leaves----ikmo,kakawati, lantana, mayaba, and tubing bakod. Heat enough fresh plants over a small fire, pound the plants and apply on the sprained joint, changing the material two times daily.

23. Swollen Gums. It is a sign of dental caries, abscess, gingivitis or Vitamin C deficiency. Prepare a decoction of the following leaves----bayabas,duhat ,kaymito ,kasuy, lanting----five tbsp of their chopped formed boiled with two glasses of water for 15 minutes. Use this as mouth wash three times a day.

 
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