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Thursday, September 14, 2006
Herbal Medicines Part 1


Herbalism, also known as Herbal medicine and phytotherapy, is folk and traditional medicinal practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Finding healing powers in plants is an ancient idea. People in all continents have long used hundreds, if not thousands, of indigenous plants for treatment of various ailments dating back to prehistory. There is evidence that Neanderthals living 60,000 years ago in present-day Iraq used plants for medicinal purposes (found at a burial site at Shanidar Cave, Iraq, in which a Neanderthal man was uncovered in 1960. He had been buried with eight species of plants). These plants are still widely used in ethnomedicine around the world.

A survey released in May 2004 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine focused on who used complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), what was used, and why it was used. The survey was limited to adults age 18 years and over during 2002 living in the United States. According to this recent survey, herbal therapy, or use of natural products other than vitamins and minerals, was the most commonly used CAM therapy (18.9%) when all use of prayer was excluded.

Herbal remedies are common in Europe and the Philippines.

SAMPALOC
For Colds

1. Boil the chopped leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes, or until the water is reduced to half its volume. Allow to cool and strain.

2. Divide the decoction into 3 parts and drink 1 part every after each meal.

The following measurements should guide you:



For wounds and itchiness:

1. Boil one to two handfuls of the chopped plant material in a pot of water for 15 minutes.

2. Let cool and strain.

3. Use the decoction twice a day for washing the wound or itchy portion.


YERBA BUENA (MARSH MINT, PEPPER MINT)

The Yerba Buena plant is a creeping herb that rises to only 20 cm. (or 8 in.) from the ground. Its stems are fleshy or non-woody, and the leaves are coarse. This plant is also strongly aromatic. There is another creeping plant that is also called Yerba Buena. Known scientifically as Mentha arvensis L. and also commonly known as Poleo or Poliyo in some places, this non-medicinal Yerba Buena has narrower leaves and bears lilac flowers, while the medicinal Yerba Buena does not flower in the Philippines. Yerba Buena is indicated or used primarily as pain reliever. The medical term for pain reliever is analgesic. As analgesic, it is effective for headaches, toothache, and pains caused by arthritis. But Yerba Buena has other medicinal uses too, called its secondary indications. It is also used for gaseous distention and as mouthwash. Yerba Buena is best propagated using terminal stem cuttings. Cut the top end of mature stems consisting of three to four parts of leaves, maintaining a length of 10 to 15 cms. (4 to 6 in.), and plant them in containers or directly in plots. They will grow roots in a weeks time. The cuttings, if planted in containers, may be transplanted to plots two weeks after planting. It may also be planted near or between tall plants as it can tolerate partial shading. But avoid using chemical pesticides because they might leave poison on the plants. The procedure for using Yerba Buena as pain reliever or analgesic is the same whether its for headache, toothache, or arthritis. Preparing the decoction: The amount of leaves you should use differs depending on whether the leaves are dried or fresh and on how old the patient is. Fresh leaves are washed first and then chopped coarsely, while air-dried leaves are crushed.



After you have identified how much leaves to use, boil the leaves in 2 glasses of water for at least 15 minutes. This boiled mixture is called "decoction." Divide the decoction into two parts and take one part every three hours. These are important rules to follow when boiling the leaves in water.

Observe strictly the following:

a. Use only enameled container or claypot (palayok), never an aluminum pot.

b. A standard glass or cup should contain 240 ml. or 8 fluid ounces of water. This measurement is the same as the content of a bottle of regular Pepsi or Coke.

c. Mix leaves in water before placing on fire.

d. As soon as the mixture boils, uncover the pot and let boil continuously for 15 minutes. Remember that the mixture should boil uncovered.

e. Strain and let cool. You now have what is called a decoction.

f. For headache, toothache, or arthritis take one-half (1/2) glass (standard glass or cup) of decoction every three hours, as needed.

When applied as fresh leaves: If the pain caused by headache, toothache, or arthritis is moderate and localized you may choose to just apply fresh Yerba Buena leaves on the affected part. Fresh leaves are heated, then pounded and applied on affected part.

When used as mouthwash: Aside from being medicinal, Yerba Buena is also a mouthwash. It is prepared as follows: Soak tablespoonfuls of chopped fresh leaves in a glass of water for 30 minutes. Strain and use as mouthwash.

Harvesting and Storing Leaves:It is best to harvest only the mature and healthy leaves. Make sure, though, that the plant is left with enough leaves to survive. If you wish, you may harvest excess leaves and air-dry them for storing. Air-drying takes place about four days on warm weather or about two weeks during the rainy season. Leaves are sufficiently dry if they crumble when crushed with the fingers. Dried leaves should be sealed in plastic bag or kept in covered tinted glass jar. Keep leaves in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight to extend their storage life.


LAGUNDI

Luzon: Dabtan, Dangla, Kamalaan, Limo-limo, Lingei, Lingo-lingo

Visayas: Lagundin, Tugas

Mindanao: Kalipapa-madam, Limpapa, Magupay, Molrei-oso, Sugarai

Lagundi is a shrub that grows to as tall as 5 meters. A shrub is described as somewhere between an herb and a tree. A shrub is a low, woody plant with several stems while a tree is a tall, woody plant with only one stem called "trunk." A leaf of Lagundi is composed of 5 leaflets arranged like fingers in a hand. Lagundi is indicated or used primarily for the following:

1. To stop coughing, relieve asthma, and facilitate the discharge of phlegm.

2. To lower fever due too colds or flu.

Preparing the Lagundi Mixture (Decoction)

For cough, asthma, and fever, the steps in preparing Lagundi leaves as medication are the same.

Measurements: However, the amount of leaves you should use differs depending on whether the leaves are dried or fresh and on how old the patient is. Fresh leaves are washed first and then chopped coarse, while air-dried leaves are crushed. The following measurements should guide you:



After you have identified how much leaves to use, boil the leaves in 2 glasses of water for at least 15 minutes. This boiled mixture is called "decoction."

Boiling the Mixture: There are important rules to follow when boiling the leaves in water. Observe strictly the following:

1. Use only enamelled container or claypot ("palayok"), never an aluminum pot.

2. A standard glass or cup should contain 240 ml. or 8 fluid ounces of water. This measurement is the same as the content of a bottle of regular size Pepsi or Coke.

3. Mix leaves in water before placing on fire.

4. As soon as the mixture boils, uncover the pot and let boil continuously for 15 minutes. Remember that the mixture should boil uncovered.

5. Strain and let cool. You now have what is called a "decoction."

Storing the Decoction: For convenience, you may prepare enough decoction that you can use for several days. Simply adjust the amount of leaves to use according to the amount of water you will boil. While kept in thermo pot ("termos") the decoction will last for three days without losing its efficacy. When kept in refrigerator the decoction will last up to four days without losing its efficacy. Keep in mind, however, that whether kept in thermo pot or refrigerated, the decoction must not be taken anymore when its color has changed or when it has grown molds or fungus.

Primary Medicinal Uses of Lagundi, Dosage and Ailments: The amount of decoction to drink and how often depends on a persons ailment, as described. The dosage is the same for children and adults.

Cough: For cough, take one-half (1/2) glass of decoction three times a day (preferably at 6:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m.; or any other 8-hours interval most convenient to your schedules.) Also, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to further help loosen phlegm. If you cough does not improve in three days, consult a physician. You should also consult a physician when you observe any of the following:

1. When your coughing and breathing become difficult.

2. When your phlegm smells bad, or has blood, or is yellowish or greenish in color.

3. When the hoarseness of your voice persists for more than two weeks.

Asthma: For asthma, take one-third (1/3) glass of decoction three times a day (preferably at 6:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.; or any other 8-hours interval most convenient to your schedules). If your asthma does not improve after one dose of the decoction or when the attack is severe, consult a physician.

When treating asthma, remember that it is sometimes an allergic reaction to certain materials or food items, or even environmental conditions. It may also be caused by fatigue and worrying. In these cases, it is wisest for you to identify those that trigger the asthma attack so you can avoid or protect yourself against them.

Fever Due To Flu or Colds For fever take one-half (1/2) glass of decoction every three hours, as needed.

Headache: To relieve headache, heat enough fresh leaves over a ire until slightly wilted. Then crush the leaves and apply on forehead and temples. Bandage the leaves in place. Change the dressing every four hours when needed. If you have headache, it is best for you to rest in a quiet, cool, and dimly-lighted room. A cold pack or massage on the forehead and nape also soothes the pain. If the headache accompanies fever or colds, appropriate therapy for the fever or colds must be taken concurrently. In case the headache is not relieved after one day of treatment, it is a must that you see a physician.

Toothache: For toothache, take one-half (1/2) glass of decoction every three hours. You are advised though to see your dentist whether the toothache is relieved or not.

As Wound Wash: As wash for wounds and other minor skin irritations, boil 2 handfuls of fresh leaves in enough water. Strain the boiled mixture and let cool. Use this to wash the wound or affected part once in the morning and once before bedtime. Then cover the wound with gauze or thin cloth, if needed, as protection from dirt and flies. When washing wound, remove pus and dead tissues that have formed. See a physician if the wound does not improve within one week, or when the wound has caused fever, when you lymph nodes have become swollen and painful, or when too much pus has formed.

As Bath: As bath for mother who just gave birth and for sick people, boil 4 handfuls or more of fresh. Lagundi leaves in sufficient amount of water for five minutes. Strain and add plain water to bring it to a comfortable warmness.

How To Plant Lagundi: Lagundi is easily propagated using cuttings. It is best to use a mature leafless stem (hardwood) as cutting. A stem to be cut must be 20 cms. (8 inches) long and should include at least 3 nodes. The nodes are where the new leaves will grow. To plant the cutting, insert the lower one-third (1/3) of the stem cutting (with one node included) into the soil. Then water the soil thoroughly after planting. Keep the new plant under shade. In about 4 weeks, the new plant must have grown its own roots. In two more weeks, the cutting is ready to be transplanted to a bigger pot or garden.

Caring for the Plant: You will have to water the plant every day. Remove weeds and apply fertilizer or compost if you want. You must remove branches and leaves attacked by pests or diseases so they do not spread to the whole plant. Avoid using chemical pesticides because they might leave poison in the plant itself. Remember that you planted Lagundi for its medical uses, and that you intend to take boiled mixture of Lagundi leaves later on.

Harvesting and Storing Leaves: It is best to harvest only the mature and healthy leaves. Make sure, though, that the plant is left with enough leaves to survive. The first harvest of leaves is best done seven to eight months after transplanting and as a way of pruning the grown plant. Leaves can be harvested every four months thereafter for air-drying or storing. Or if you have only a few potted plants, you may choose to harvest leaves only as you need them. Air-drying takes about for days on warm weather or about two weeks during the rainy season. Leaves are sufficiently dry if they crumble when crushed with the fingers. Dried leaves should be sealed in plastic bag or kept in covered tinted glass jar. Keep leaves in cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight to extend their storage life.


TSAANG GUBAT

Luzon: Kalabong, Kalimumog, Katdalugod, Maragued, Mara-mara, Taglokot, Talibunog,

Tst, Tsaang-gubat, Tsa-tsa

Visayas: Alibungog, Semente

Mindanao: Alangitngit, Alingitngit, Buyo-buyo

Tsaang-gubat is a low, woody plant with several stems. It is grown as ornamental or bonsai because of its attractive appearance. Its leaves are small and have dark, green and shiny upper surface. Tsaang-gubat is indicated or used primarily for diarrhea. But it is also advised for stomachache and colic.

Diarrhea: A person has diarrhea or LBM (Loose Bowel Movement) when his stool is soft to watery and when he has to move his bowels more often than two times in one day. To treat diarrhea using Tsaang-gubat, follow these steps:

1. Determine the amount of Tsaang-gubat leaves to use. The amount of leaves to use varies according to the age of patient and the condition of leaves, as follows:



2. Boil correct amount of leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes.

3. Let cool, then strain and divide into 4 parts.

4. Take 1 part every two hours (until stool becomes solid).

Boiling the Mixture: There are important rules to follow when boiling the leaves in water. Observe strictly the following:

a. Use only enameled container or claypot ("palayok"), never an aluminum pot.

b. A standard glass or cup should contain 240 ml. or 8 fluid ounces of water. This measurement is the same as the content of a bottle or regular size Pepsi or Coke.

c. Mix leaves in water before placing on fire.

d. As soon as the mixture boils uncover the pot and let boil continuously for 15 minutes. Remember that the mixture should boil uncovered.

e. Strain and let cool. You now have what is called "decoction."

Storing the Decoction: For convenience, you may prepare enough decoction that you can use for several days. Simply adjust the amount of leaves to use according to the amount of water that you will boil. When kept in thermo pot ("termos"), the decoction will last for three days without losing its efficacy. When kept in refrigerator, the decoction will last up to four days without losing its efficacy. Keep in mind, however, that whether kept in thermo pot or refrigerated the decoction must not be taken anymore when its color has changed or when it has grown molds or fungus.

Oral Rehydration Solution

To prevent dehydration due to diarrhea, a person should take a solution of water, sugar and salt, known as Oral Rehydration Solution or ORS. ORS can either be bought from the drugstore, obtained for your community health clinic or prepared at home. To prepare your own ORS, simply mix in a pitcher or jar 4 glasses of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 3/4 (three-fourths) teaspoon of salt. These are the basic ingredients of an ORS. An adult is advised to drink at least three glasses of this solution every one hour or after every diarrheal discharge. Children should take in one and one-half (11/2) glasses. But a "more complete" ORS can be prepared by substituting some of the basic ingredients. If honey is available, use 2 tablespoons honey instead of sugar. Also, the three-fourth (3/4) teaspoon salt can be substituted with one-fourth (1/4) teaspoon baking soda plus one-fourth (1/4) teaspoon salt. In severe dehydration, a diarrheal patient is rehydrated intravenously with a solution, more popularly called dextrose or saline. Only a medical personnel is allowed to administer this procedure.

Stomachache and Colic: To relieve stomachache and colic caused by indigestion, excessive air in the stomach or vomitting, Tsaang-gubat is prepared as follows:

1. Determine the amount of Tsaang-gubat leaves to use, which varies according to the age of patient and the condition of leaves, as follows:



2. Boil correct amount of leaves in 1 glass of water for 15 minutes.

3. Strain and drink when lukewarm. If the pain is not relieved within one hour after taking Tsaang-gubat, prepare another glassful following the same steps above. If the pain is still not relieved, then see a physician. The cause of the stomachache may be something else.

How to Plant Tsaang-Gubat: Tsaang-gubat is propagated using either seeds or basal cuttings. Although using basal cuttings cannot assure that all cutting will survive, it is still preferred over the use of seeds. Its because seeds take very long to germinate, and germinated seeds need another long time to grow. For a basal cutting only the lower portion of a stem, which is also its harder part is used. For Tsaang-gubat, a basal cutting should be about 20 cm. (8 in.) long and must include at least three nodes. The nodes are where the new leaves will grow or come out. Plant basal cuttings by inserting the lower one-third (1/3) of the stem, at least one node into the soil, in separate containers or pots. Water immediately after and place under shade. The cuttings will root six to eight weeks from planting. They may be transplanted to plots or retained in larger pots. Avoid using chemical pesticides because they might leave poison on the plants. It is best to harvest only the mature and healthy leaves. If you wish, you may harvest excess leaves and air-dry them for storing. Air-drying takes about four days on warm weather or about two weeks during the rainy season. Leaves are sufficiently dry if they crumble when crushed with the fingers. Dried leaves should be sealed in plastic bag or kept in covered tinted glass jar. Keep leaves in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight to extend their storage life.

PAPAYA

One of the most common fruit trees, papaya can be found in tropical and sub-tropical countries and usually grows in lowlands. A typically small tree, it can grow from 3 to 6 meters high. Its fleshy fruit comes from the female flowers and can grow from 5 to 30 cm. big. It is yellow or yellowish-orange when mature, with black seeds embedded in the pulp. The parts used as fruits, leaves and latex of trunk and fruit.

For constipation: Get the ripe fruit of the tree. Eat the fruit liberally. Yellowing of the skin, especially the palms and soles may occur but this is harmless.

For foul wounds: Get the latex of the trunk of the fruit. Apply this to the wound and let it say for 15 minutes before washing it off. Do this once a day.

For rheumatism: From the bruised papaya leaves, prepare a heated mass (poultice). Apply the poultice in areas where rheumatism occurs.


To be continued...


SOURCE: Sorsogon LGU


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