Saturday, September 22, 2012

Some Examples of Herbal Plants here in the Philippines


Oregano


Oregano (Origanum vulgare)


Herbal Medicine Picture: Oregano (Origanum Vulgare)

Oregano (Scientific name: Origanum vulgare) is also known as Wild Marjoram, Mountain Mint, Origanum, Wintersweet and Winter Marjoram. This erectly spreading plant has strong aromatic characteristics, with leaves and stems that are fleshy. The leaves of oregano are heart-shaped, with toothed edges, and which, grow for up to 9 meters in length. In other countries, the plant is primarily used as a culinary ingredient. However, in countries like the Philippines, Oregano is a known herbal medicine for its strong anti-oxidant properties. Oregano contains a rosmarinic acid compound, thymol, and carvacrol that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Oregano also contains flavinoids, triterpenoids, sterols, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Its anti-bacterial properties have been proven by recent studies to treat infections of the reproductive tracts, and which make it ideal to be given to women who have just given birth.

The volatile oils in oregano and its properties are believed to be responsible for slowing the process of spoilage of food and thus minimizing the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria, parasites and fungi.

The anti-oxidant properties of oregano helps fight free radicals in the body that cause cellular damage and accelerate ageing. Free radicals are believed to be involved with many degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis and heart diseases, to name a few.

The most useful parts of this plant are its leaves. The extracts and juices of such are used for asthma, dyspepsia, chronic coughs, bronchitis, and rheumatism. Ear aches have also been proven to be cured by the infusion prepared from its leaves. The leaves relieve painful swellings, boils, and sprains, when their poultices are applied directly to the affected area.

Health Benefits of Oregano:

• Good for cough and cold relief
• Helps prevent degenerative arthritis
• Has Anti-aging properties
• Helps relieve rheumatism and osteoarthritis
• Bronchitis herbal remedy
• Ease asthma attacks
• Relieves upset stomach
• Treatment of urinary tract problems
• Relief for dyspepsia or indigestion
• Healing wounds, insect bites & stings
• Cure for sore throat
• Avoid infections caused by childbirth by taking decoctions of the leaves by the recent mother.
• For general good health

Preparation of Oregano Leaves:

• Boil one cup of fresh leaves in 3 cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink half a cup 3 times a day for common colds.
• For a concentrate, juice the oregano leaves and take 1 tablespoon every hour to relieve chronic coughs, rheumatism, bronchitis, asthma, and dyspepsia.
• For Insect bites, wounds and stings, apply the leaves as a poultice directly on the afflicted area.
• For sore throat, boil 2 tablespoonfuls of dried oregano leaves in a pint of water, take 2 hours before or after meals.
• To prevent degenerative arthritis & for general good health drink oregano decoction daily.

Pandan


Pandan (Pandanus tectorius

FRAGRANT SCREW PINE



The pandan tree grows as tall as 5 meters, with erect, small branches. Pandan is also known as Fragrant Screw Pine. Its trunk bears plenty of prop roots. Its leaves spirals the branches, and crowds at the end. Its male inflorescence emits a fragrant smell, and grows in length for up to 0.5 meters. The fruit of the pandan tree, which is usually about 20 centimeters long, are angular in shape, narrow in the end and the apex is truncate. It grows in the thickets lining the seashores of most places in the Philippines. In various parts of the world, the uses of this plant are very diverse. Some countries concentrate on the culinary uses of pandan, while others deeply rely on its medicinal values. For instance, many Asians regard this food as famine food. Others however mainly associate pandan with the flavoring and nice smell that it secretes.

In the Philippines, pandan leaves are being cooked along with rice to incorporate the flavor and smell to it. As can be observed, the uses of the pandan tree are not limited to cooking uses. Its leaves and roots are found to have medicinal benefits. Such parts of the plant have been found to have essential oils, tannin, alkaloids and glycosides, which are the reasons for the effective treatment of various health concerns. It functions as a pain reliever, mostly for headaches and pain caused by arthritis, and even hangover. It can also be used as antiseptic and anti-bacterial, which makes it ideal for healing wounds. In the same manner, a preparation derived from the bark of this plant may be used to address skin problems. Many people have also discovered that it is an effective remedy for cough. In India, pandan leaves are being used to treat skin disorders like leprosy and smallpox. The bitter tasting quality of the leaves makes it ideal for health problems which include, but are not limited to, diabetes fever, ulcer and wounds. In Hawaii, pandan flowers are being chewed by mothers who later give the chewed flowers to their children, as laxative. The juice extracted from pounded roots of this tree is used and mixed with other ingredients to ease chest pains. Also, it is used as tonic for women who have just given birth and who are still in weak states. Pandan flowers have also been traced with characteristics that function as aphrodisiac. Pandan also manifests anti-cancer activities, and that is why modern researches in the United States have subjected this plant for further experiments and investigation.

Pandan Health Benefits:

• Treats leprosy, smallpox and wounds.
• Helps reduce fever
• Solves several skin problems
• Relives headache and arthritis
• Treatment for ear pains
• Functions as a laxative for children
• Eases chest pains
• Helps in speeding up the recuperation of women who have just given birth and are still weak
• Pandan reduces stomach spasms and strengthens the gum.

Preparation & Use of Pandan:

• Decoction of the bark may be taken as tea, or mixed with water that is to be used in bathing, in order to remedy skin problems, cough, and urine-related concerns.
• Apply pulverized roots of pandan to affected wound areas to facilitate healing.
• The anthers of the male flowers are used for earaches, headaches and stomach spasms.
• Chew the roots to strengthen the gum.
• Extract oils and juices from the roots and flowers are used in preparing the decoction to relieve pains brought about by headache and arthritis.

Pansit-Pansitan


Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida Linn.) a.k.a. Ulasiman-Bato


Pansit Panistan, Herbal Medicine Picture

Pansit-pansitan (family: Piperaceae) is an herbal medicine also known as Ulasiman-bato, olasiman-ihalas & tangon-tangon in the Philippines. English name: peperomia. It is a small herb that grows from 1 to 1 1/2 feet. Pansit-pansitan can be found wild on lightly shaded and damp areas such as nooks, walls, yards and even roofs. Pansit-pansitan has heart shaped leaves, succulent stems with tiny flowers on a spike. When matured, the small fruits bear one seed which fall of the ground and propagate.

The leaves and stalk of pansit-pansitan are edible. It can be harvested, washed and eaten as fresh salad. Taken as a salad, pansit-pansitan helps relive rheumatic pains and gout. An infusion or decoction (boil 1 cup of leaves/stem in 2 cups of water) can also be made and taken orally - 1 cup in the morning and another cup in the evening.

For the herbal treatment of skin disorders like abscesses, pimples and boils, pound the leaves and/or the stalks and make a poultice (boil in water for a minute or two then pounded) then applied directly to the afflicted area. Likewise a decoction can be used as a rinse to treat skin disorders.

For headaches, heat a couple of leaves in hot water, bruise the surface and apply on the forehead. The decoction of leaves and stalks is also good for abdominal pains and kidney problems.
Like any herbal medicine it is not advisable to take any other medication in combination with any herbs. Consult with a medical practitioner knowledgeable in herbal medicine before any treatment.

Pansit-pansitan is used as an herbal medicine for the treatment of:

• Arthritis
• Gout
• Skin boils, abscesses, pimples
• Headache
• Abdominal pains
• kidney problems

Pansit-Pansitan


Pansit-Pansitan (Peperomia pellucida Linn.) a.k.a. Ulasiman-Bato


Pansit Panistan, Herbal Medicine Picture

Pansit-pansitan (family: Piperaceae) is an herbal medicine also known as Ulasiman-bato, olasiman-ihalas & tangon-tangon in the Philippines. English name: peperomia. It is a small herb that grows from 1 to 1 1/2 feet. Pansit-pansitan can be found wild on lightly shaded and damp areas such as nooks, walls, yards and even roofs. Pansit-pansitan has heart shaped leaves, succulent stems with tiny flowers on a spike. When matured, the small fruits bear one seed which fall of the ground and propagate.

The leaves and stalk of pansit-pansitan are edible. It can be harvested, washed and eaten as fresh salad. Taken as a salad, pansit-pansitan helps relive rheumatic pains and gout. An infusion or decoction (boil 1 cup of leaves/stem in 2 cups of water) can also be made and taken orally - 1 cup in the morning and another cup in the evening.

For the herbal treatment of skin disorders like abscesses, pimples and boils, pound the leaves and/or the stalks and make a poultice (boil in water for a minute or two then pounded) then applied directly to the afflicted area. Likewise a decoction can be used as a rinse to treat skin disorders.

For headaches, heat a couple of leaves in hot water, bruise the surface and apply on the forehead. The decoction of leaves and stalks is also good for abdominal pains and kidney problems.
Like any herbal medicine it is not advisable to take any other medication in combination with any herbs. Consult with a medical practitioner knowledgeable in herbal medicine before any treatment.

Pansit-pansitan is used as an herbal medicine for the treatment of:

• Arthritis
• Gout
• Skin boils, abscesses, pimples
• Headache
• Abdominal pains
• kidney problems

Sabila


Sabila | Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller liquid)


Herbal Medicine Picture: Sabila / Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis Miller)

Sabila or Aloe Vera holds the scientific name, Aloe barbadensis miller liquid. It is an herb, which is known mainly for its cosmetic functions. However, this plant is also rich in substances that aid in several illnesses and ailments. The aloe vera plant has been found to have great contributions to health, both internally and externally. Research studies have shown that it has properties comprising of inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, and anti-bacterial functions.

Preparations made with aloe vera as the primary ingredient have been effective in reducing pain and allergies. In the same way, some of its properties are responsible for cell regeneration that causes close cuts and hemorrhages to heal easily and more rapidly. Its purgative properties, brought about by the existence of six antiseptic agent substances in the plant (that is, cinnamic acid, lupeol, sulphur, salicylic acid, phenol and urea nitrogen), make it ideal in eradicating parasites, harmful bacteria, and fungi in the intestinal tracts. Sabila can be used externally for the treatment of acne, pimple burns, insect bites, and for moisturizing and hydrating the skin.

The herbal properties of Sabila is able to penetrate the inner parts of the body, and specifically targets joints, tendons, and muscles, and helps in the promotion and growth of new tissues. Aloe vera or Sabila contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, vitamin C, choline, niacin amide and 18 amino acids. You can mix the Aloe Vera extract with fruit juice and other drinks. Aloe Vera is also an anti-oxidant in which, it prevents oxidation of certain fats and gene cells, preventing ailing conditions like tumors and cancers. Since it is an anti-oxidant, it has anti-aging properties. It also reduces free radicals, which can damage the arteries. Aside from being an herbal medicine, Aloe Vera is good for the health and can be taken internally, or applied externally.

Medicinal Benefits of Aloe Vera:

• Treatment of acne, pimples & psoriasis
• Analgesic properties for inflammation of skin
• Helps reduce high blood pressure
• Anti-aging properties
• Heals insect bites, minor burns & sunburns
• Arthritis, diabetes
• Eradicates intestinal bacteria and parasites
• Helps prevent cancer & tumors
• Eases Constipation
• Antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic and antibiotic properties

Preparation & Use:

• For treatment of skin inflammation, acne, pimple, insect bites, scalds (minor burns) etc., remove the skin of a leaf then rub Sabila (Aloe Vera) juice on your skin (may be mixed with coconut oil) and leave for at least 30 minutes.
• The poultices of the aloe vera leaves may be applied directly to contusions.
• For hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, intestinal parasites, constipation etc., remove the skin and take internally. The jell liquefies a after a few minutes and can be mixed with other drinks.

Saluyot


Saluyot or Jute (Corchorus capsularis L.)


Saluyot or Jute (Corchorus capsularis L.)

Saluyot, also known as jute, is a green leafy vegetable that is rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. It has also been determined that 100 grams of saluyot contains an ample amount of Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, ascorbic acid, and is also rich in fiber. With these facts alone, we can appreciate the benefits that can be derived from eating and incorporating saluyot in one’s diet. This vegetable also assures safety of intake even for pregnant mothers. Unlike other plants with medicinal benefits like makabuhay, it is safe to be eaten even by those which are medically considered to be in a weak state. Saluyot can be found basically everywhere. From warm, tropical countries like the Philippines to tropical deserts and wet forest zones, saluyot is abundant. It does not require much attention and care, and thus, thrives without cultivation the whole year round.

PREPARATION AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF SALUYOT


Because the saluyot or jute plant is by nature a vegetable, it is easy to prepare and can be incorporated to various dishes that would allow individuals to benefit from its vitamins and mineral content. Since it can be found easily, there are a lot of local viands and/or dishes that use saluyot as an ingredient. For instance, the Ilocanos use saluyot in their preparation of dinengdeng and bulangbulang. Fried saluyot are also mixed with sautéed bamboo shoots and dried beans. Other dishes include, but are not limited to chicken viands, wherein saluyot are mixed in either sautéed or pureed form. It is also integrated in mongo dishes, and in soups.

Although some dislikes the slimy character of saluyot, its benefits are worth enduring the slimy character of this vegetable. Its vitamin content is good for eyesight, as the vegetable contains beta-carotene. Its iron and calcium content necessarily aids a person in maintaining strong bones and teeth, and a healthy count of red blood cells. Saluyot has been used to reduce wrinkles, as it also contains anti-oxidant substances. Studies have also shown that saluyot can be used for anti-inflammatory treatment. It is to be noted that saluyot has been used traditionally to address concerns related to inflammation and pain, and the results of recent studies confirmed the validity of such traditional practice. In the same manner, saluyot has also been connected with curing the chronic inflammation of the urinary bladder. To prepare its medical decoction, an individual is advised to eat dishes and soups that contain saluyot. As to the dosage or the amount of intake that one should have, recent studies have not been able to establish this yet.

The Philippine Department of Health advises the public to increase their intake of this particular vegetable, to include malunggay and banana as well, in order to build resistance against the threat of swine flu. The DOH encourages this because its vitamins and mineral content, as have been mentioned earlier, would fortify one’s defenses against communicable diseases, which includes the widespread and dreaded disease. It is a good thing, therefore, that no other separate preparation is needed in order to experience and enjoy saluyot's benefits.

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