Wednesday, June 30, 2010


English: Holy Basil

Latin: Ocimum sanctum (“sacred fragrant lipped basil”)
or Ocimum tenuiflorum (“basil with small flowers”)
or Ocumum gratissimum (“very grateful basil”)
Botanical Family: Lamiaceae (mint)
Hindi: Tulsi
Sanskrit: Tulasi

Holy Basil has a long tradition of use in Ayurvedic medicine and is a well-known sacred plant of the Indian subcontinent. Holy Basil has been called the “Incomparable One”, the “Queen of Herbs” and “The Elixir of Life.”

In Sanskrit, tulsi means literally “the incomparable one” and has been revered since ancient times. Tulsi, the holy basil, is said to have grown at the site of Christ’s crucifixion and is associated with St. Basil’s feast, a day celebrated in Greece on January 1.

In ancient Indian scriptures, Tulsi (Holy basil or Ocimum sanctum) holds a supreme place as a sacred plant. It is considered very dear to Lord Vishnu, and devotees adorn Him with a tulsi garland. Tulsi has been widely known for its health-promoting properties for over 5000 years. Tulsi is also extensively used to maintain ritual purity; people wear tulsi beads (made from the woody stalks of the plant) as necklaces. The ancient sages ensured the integration of the tulsi into daily life by incorporating it into religious rituals. In most of the Hindu temples, tulsi-soaked water is used to consecrate the deity and later distributed to devotees. This ensured that every one routinely consumed tulsi during worship at home and at the temples.

Parts utilized

Properties and constituents
Used as a mosquito repellant in India and South Africa.
Leaves yield a volatile oils or methyl homo anisic acid, plus cineol and linalool.
Seed decoction used as demulcent.
Leaves are expectorant and stomachic.

It is the most sacred plant in Hindu religion.
In Malaya, leaves are eaten sparingly as salad., but not used for flavoring foods.
Decoction of leaves used for aromatic baths.
Decoction of roots and leaves used for gonorrhea.
Used for rheumatic baths.
Dried plant used for croup, diarrhea, catarrh, bronchitis and diarrhea.
Decoction of roots used as diaphoretic for malarial fevers.
Leaf juice used for earache.
Infusion of leaves as stomachic and hepatic infections.
Fresh juice iinduces vomitiing and expels worms.
Mixed with honey, ginger and onion juice, used as expectorant for bronchitis and coughs.
In Java, used to increase milk secretion.
In India, leaf juice traditionally used for cough, stress situations, worm infestations, superficial fungal infections, and as diuretic.

Radioprotective: The radioprotective effects of two flavonoids, orientin and vicenin from the leaves of OS were studied by evaluating chromosome aberration in bone marrow cells of irradiated mice. Results suggest ocimum flavonoids may be promising for human radiationn protection.
Hypoglycemic:In a study, one of 24 of 30 medicinal plants, OS showed significant blood glucose lowering activity.
Anti-anxiety: Ethanolic extract study showed leaves possess anti-anxiety effects probably through a central nervous system pathway that may involve the GABA-ergic system. Another study on noise-induced changes in rats were normalized with pretreatment with OS extract indicating its stress-alleviating effect.
Anti-tussive: Antitussive effect probably by central action mediated through both opiod and GABA-ergic system.
• :Antibacterial: Study of ethanol extracts showed antibacterial activity, greater in Gram positive bacter than gram-negative, esp against B subtilis and S aureus; comparatively less than Origanum majorana. Another study on OS essential oil showed marked antibacterial efficiency against all bacteria tested, maximum against S aureus and marked antibacterial efficacy against P mirabilis, P aeruginosa, Klebsiella sp and E coli.
• :CNS-Protective: A study showed the ethanol leaf extract of O sanctum to have a protective effect against haloperidol-iinduced catalepsy and indicates that OS may be used to prevent drug-induced extrapyramidal effects.
Antioxidant: A study showed the leaves of OS to possess both superoxide and hydroxyl free radical scavenging effect and attributes the antioxidant property to be responsible for its hypoglycemic effect.
Myocardial Salvaging Effect: A study showed Ocimum sanctum has cardioprotecdtive effects against ISP-induced myocardial necrosis probably through improved ventricular function, augmentation of endogenous antioxidants and suppression of oxidative stress.
Anti-cancer activity: Administration of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Ocimum sanctum to mice with sarcomatous tumor resulted in a significant reduction in tumor volume and increase in lifespan.
Anti-Ulcer activity: Study showed the extract of OS reduced the ulcer index, free and total acidity in rats. Seven days of treatment increased mucous secretion.
Antidiabetic activity: A study indicated OS leaf extracts to have stimulatory effects on physiological pathways of insulin secretion to explain its antidiabetic action.
Hepatoprotective activity: A study showed the leaf extract of OS to have a hepatoprotective effect on hepatotoxicty induced by antitubercular drugs. The exact mechanism has not been defined, but OS antioxidant activity seems to be the most important mode of its hepatoprotective effect.

A Natural Remedy Rich in Phytochemicals and Anti-oxidants

The Holy Basil, known as the Tulsi in India, is sometimes termed “The Mother Medicine of Nature,” due to its many health benefits.

Parts Used

All parts of the plant are used, but particularly the fresh or dried leaves, which have a strong aroma and taste. The delicious tea made from Tulsi leaves, in particular, has many health benefits.

Chemical Composition of Tulsi

The chemistry of Tulsi is rather complex, as it contains many biologically active compounds and nutrients. The Phytochemicals are said to interact and combine in unique ways. The main compounds in tulsi are “ursolic acid,” an essential oil called “eugenol,” and antioxidants. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.

The Health Benefits of Tulsi

Regular use of Tulsi leads to overall good health and vitality.

  • It boosts the immune system and metabolism of the body, and is effective in treating allergies.
  • Tulsi detoxifies the blood, and flushes out toxins from the body.
  • The juice is effective in treating bronchitis, coughs and colds, and other common ailments. Moreover, it enhances the use of oxygen in the body, and is thus useful in respiratory problems, like asthma.
  • Tulsi contains antioxidants, which neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals, and thus arrests aging.
  • It is also reputed to control degenerative conditions, like dementia, cancer, diabetes, heart problems and arthritis.
  • Tulsi reduces inflammation and fevers, and cures headaches.
  • Due to its antibacterial properties, it is used to treat infectious diseases.
  • Tulsi is supposed to be anti-carcinogenic. Traditional practitioners recommend taking a Tulsi leaf every day to prevent cancers.
  • Tulsi lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and thus prevents cardiac problems.
  • It helps in digestion and absorption of nutrients by the body, by encouraging the secretion of digestive enzymes. Therefore, it also acts as an appetizer. Moreover, its carminative properties prevent gastric ulcers.
  • It also controls E.coli and tuberculosis, and hastens the recovery of patients with viral hepatitis and encephalitis.
  • Tulsi has been proved good for periodontal health; a decoction can be used to cure toothache, and as a general mouth wash.
  • The Ursolic acid has an anti-fertility effect, without any negative effects.
  • Some research points to the Tulsi as a protection against the ill effects of radiation.
  • An interesting fact is that it does not contain any caffeine, yet acts as a vitalizer or quick “pick me up” to increase stamina and endurance.
  • Finally, Tulsi relaxes the muscles, and acts as a stress buster.

The small leaves of the Tulsi are packed with health enhancing properties, beneficial for the heart, lungs, immune and digestive systems. Tulsi is also effective in preventing and treating a number of common ailments, and contributing to a general feeling of well being. Therefore, it is rightly called the “Queen of Herbs” in India.

Caution: Though there are generally no side/after effects, one should check with a medical practitioner, before using any herbs for medicinal purposes.

Holy Basil or Tulsi is a powerful adaptogen; hence it is invaluable as an anti-stress agent. In fact, it is sometimes said to be more effective at reducing stress than ginseng. Tulsi, the sacred basil, is one of the holiest plants of modern Indians, renowned for its health promoting and disease-preventing properties.

Benefits of Fresh Basil Leaves

Should you be feeling stressed or exhausted, and suffering any associated symptoms such as headaches, indigestion, muscle tension, nerve pain and so on, or feel that your memory needs a boost, taking basil is the perfect tonic. This herb is known to be both antiseptic and cleansing and assists the body overcome a variety of infections.

The relaxant properties that are found in hot basil tea, extend to both respiratory and digestive tracts and so relieves symptoms of colic, constipation, nausea, asthma and coughs. Other benefits of Tulsi Tea: it can reduce fevers and moves phlegm build up during times of suffering colds and flu.

  • Assists in Sharpening Memory and Concentration
  • Tonic for Nerves and Treats Irritability
  • Reduces Stress
  • Promotes Calmness and Clarity
  • Clears Phlegm from Chest and Nose
  • Eases Symptoms of Colds, Flu, Coughs and Sore Throats
  • Strengthens the Stomach
  • Treats Vomiting and Nausea
  • Improves Metabolism
  • Aids in Treating Constipation
  • Strengthens the Kidneys
  • Known as a Anti-Stress Agent or ‘Adaptogen’
  • May Reduce Blood Cholesterol
  • Assists in Treating Insomnia

Leaves of the Holy Basil herb may be chewed to help relieve ulcers of infections of the mouth, and can also assist with various skin diseases, bites, stings, cuts and wounds if juiced and applied to the skin. This method may also be used to treat head lice.

The taking of Tulsi tea or holy basil leaves can refresh you when you feel tired, calm you when you feel tense or anxious as well as providing many other benefits. Holy Basil or Tulsi tea is rich in natural antioxidants, is a powerful adaptogen and a natural immuno-modulator.

15 Benefits of the Holy Basil (Tulsi)

The tulsi or holy basil is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition and is worshipped in the morning and evening by Hindus at large. The holy basil is also a herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments. Here're top fifteen medicinal uses of tulsi.

1. Healing Power: The tulsi plant has many medicinal properties. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. They promote the removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tube. The leaves strengthen the stomach and induce copious perspiration. The seed of the plant are mucilaginous.

2. Fever & Common Cold: The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers. During the rainy season, when malaria and dengue fever are widely prevalent, tender leaves, boiled with tea, act as preventive against theses diseases. In case of acute fevers, a decoction of the leaves boiled with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water and mixed with sugar and milk brings down the temperature. The juice of tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature.

3. Coughs: Tulsi is an important constituent of many Ayurvedic cough syrups and expectorants. It helps to mobilize mucus in bronchitis and asthma. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.

4. Sore Throat: Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water can also be used as a gargle.

5. Respiratory Disorder: The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder. A decoction of the leaves, with honey and ginger is an effective remedy for bronchitis, asthma, influenza, cough and cold. A decoction of the leaves, cloves and common salt also gives immediate relief in case of influenza. They should be boiled in half a liter of water till only half the water is left and add then taken.

6. Kidney Stone: Basil has strengthening effect on the kidney. In case of renal stone the juice of basil leaves and honey, if taken regularly for 6 months it will expel them via the urinary tract.

7. Heart Disorder: Basil has a beneficial effect in cardiac disease and the weakness resulting from them. It reduces the level of blood cholesterol.

8. Children's Ailments: Common pediatric problems like cough cold, fever, diarrhea and vomiting respond favorably to the juice of basil leaves. If pustules of chicken pox delay their appearance, basil leaves taken with saffron will hasten them.

9. Stress: Basil leaves are regarded as an 'adaptogen' or anti-stress agent. Recent studies have shown that the leaves afford significant protection against stress. Even healthy persons can chew 12 leaves of basil, twice a day, to prevent stress. It purifies blood and helps prevent several common elements.

10. Mouth Infections: The leaves are quit effective for the ulcer and infections in the mouth. A few leaves chewed will cure these conditions.

11. Insect Bites: The herb is a prophylactic or preventive and curative for insect stings or bites. A teaspoonful of the juice of the leaves is taken and is repeated after a few hours. Fresh juice must also be applied to the affected parts. A paste of fresh roots is also effective in case of bites of insects and leeches.

12. Skin Disorders: Applied locally, basil juice is beneficial in the treatment of ringworm and other skin diseases. It has also been tried successfully by some naturopaths in the treatment of leucoderma.

13. Teeth Disorder: The herb is useful in teeth disorders. Its leaves, dried in the sun and powdered, can be used for brushing teeth. It can also be mixed with mustered oil to make a paste and used as toothpaste. This is very good for maintaining dental health, counteracting bad breath and for massaging the gums. It is also useful in pyorrhea and other teeth disorders.

14. Headaches: Basil makes a good medicine for headache. A decoction of the leaves can be given for this disorder. Pounded leaves mixed with sandalwood paste can also be applied on the forehead for getting relief from heat, headache, and for providing coolness in general.

15. Eye Disorders: Basil juice is an effective remedy for sore eyes and night-blindness, which is generally caused by deficiency of vitamin A. Two drops of black basil juice are put into the eyes daily at bedtime.

DISCLAIMER: These are only general guidelines as a first aid. It is always better to see a doctor depending upon the intensity of the case. The views expressed above are entirely those of the author.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guyabano : The Fruit That Heals

It’s not only a natural cancer cell killer, but the various parts of the guyabano tree is also known to cure a lot of ailments.

A miraculous natural cancer cell killer 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.” That was how the forwarded e-mail described the fruits of sour sop or graviola (more popularly known here as guyabano or labana).

“What’s more, unlike chemotherapy, the compound extracted from the graviola tree selectively hunts down and kills only cancer cells,” the e-mail said. “It does not harm healthy cells!” In addition, it “effectively targets and kills malignant cells in 12 types of cancer, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer.”

According to the email, a research has been conducted and showed that the extracts from guyabano can “attack cancer safely and effectively with an all-natural therapy that does not cause extreme nausea, weight loss and hair loss.” It also “protects your immune system and avoids deadly infections; feels stronger and healthier throughout the course of the treatment; and boosts your energy and improves your outlook on life.”

One wonders: Why are people not aware of this fact? The email explained: “It’s because some big corporation want to make back their money spent on years of research by trying to make a synthetic version of it for sale.”

The U.S. National Cancer Institute reportedly performed the first scientific research on graviola in 1976. The results showed that the plant’s “leaves and stems were found effective in attacking and destroying malignant cells.” Although the results were supposedly published in an internal report, it was never released to the public.

Whether the circulated e-mail is true or not, the guyabano (scientific name: Anona muricata) has been identified by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) as one of the fruits that deserved attention. The book Underexploited Tropical Plants with Promising Economic Value described it as “a tropical fruit with potential for development as a processed industrial commodity.”

Plants of the Philippines, published by the University of the Philippines in the 1970s, mentioned guyabano just in passing. “A relative of atis” is all you can read about the fruit in the 550-page book.

The heart shaped guyabano fruit has a dark green, leathery and spike-like skin that measures from 8 to 12 inches long and can weigh up to 2.5 kilos. Ripe fruits are light yellow and soft. The creamy and delectable flesh contains from 60 to 100 black-brown seeds that are indigestible and non-edible.

Comparisons of the flavor of guyabano range from strawberry and pineapple mixed together to sour citrus flavor notes contrasting with an underlying creamy roundness of flavor reminiscent of coconut or banana.

A native of tropical America, guyabano was introduced into the Philippines at an early date and is cultivated in practically all parts of the archipelago. The plant grows in any kind of soil, but a fairly deep, friable soil of volcanic origin is conducive to growth & fruiting. It thrives very well from sea level up to 500 meters above sea level.

Guyabano is one of the healthiest fruits known to man. The flesh of the fruit consist of a white edible pulp that is high in carbohydrates (particularly fructose) and considerable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, potassium and dietary fiber. Guyabano is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. Not only is guyabano a good health food, it also tastes delicious.

Aside from being eaten raw, the guyabano fruit is processed into candies, tarts, shakes, ice cream, and sherbets and other beverages. An assortment of punch and cocktail drinks can be made by mixing the nectar with wine rum or cola drinks or buko (fresh coconut) juice and ice.

In Indonesia, immature guyabano are cooked as vegetables or used in soup in Indonesia. In the northeastern part of Brazil, they are either roasted or fried.

The fruit, seeds, and leaves have a number of herbal medicinal uses in countries where the plant is common. The sap of the young leaves may be applied directly on pimples to inducesuppuration. The sap is also considered parasitical. An alcoholic extract of the leaves, when distilled with steam, yields a small amount of essential oil. The portion of alcoholic extract which is soluble in water contains a large amount of potassium chloride together with dextrose tannins, amorphous products, and a small amount of an alkaloid substance which could not be crystallized. The leaves and roots also cure colic and convulsions.

To reduce fever, a decoction of leaves can be taken internally. It has the same affect as when leaves are added to bathing water. In the Caribbean, it is believed that laying the leaves of the guyabano on a bed below a sleeping person with a fever will break the fever by the next morning.

The crushed fresh leaves are also applied on skin eruptions for faster healing. A poultice of young guyabano leaves is applied on the skin to alleviate rheumatism and other skin infections like eczema. Applied during the healing of wounds, this can result in less or no skin scars.

The decoction can also be used as a wet compress on swollen feet and other inflammations. Poultice of mashed leaves and sap of young leaves used for eczema and skin eruptions.

The guyabano leaves are believed to have tranquilizing and sedative properties. In the Netherlands Antilles, the leaves are placed inside pillows or placed on top of the mattress to induce a good night’s sleep. Boiling the leaves and drinking may help induce sleep.

Guyabano are also good in checking insect pests. Pulverizing the guyabano seeds and mixing it with soap and water can be used as an effective spray against caterpillars, armyworms and leafhoppers on plants. The petroleum ether and chloroform extracts of guyabano are toxic to black carpet beetle larvae. The seed oil kills head lice.

The bark of the guyabano tree has been used in tanning. The bark fiber is strong but, since fruiting trees are not expendable,
is resorted to only in necessity. Bark, as well as seeds and roots, I has been used as fish poison.

The wood is pale, aromatic, soft, light in weight and not durable. It has been used for ox yokes because it does not cause hair loss on the neck. Analyses of the wood in Brazil show cellulose content of 65 to 76%, high enough to be a potential source of paper pulp.

Here are some words of warning: Research carried out in the Caribbean has suggested a connection between consumption of guyabano and atypical forms of Parkinson’s disease due to the very high concentration of annonacin. On the other hand, the seeds contain 45% of yellow non-drying oil which is an irritant poison, causing severe eye inflammation.

“Guyabano seeds are toxic, and care must be taken to assure that all are removed before the pulp is processed,” the NAS reminds.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kamatis - (Tomato) - Lycopersicum Esculentum Mill. Parts used: fruit

Kamatis is cultivated throughout the Philippines. The original form of this species has small fruit. Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing, author of the classic book "Medicinal Plants of the Philippines," states, "Briefly, the medical and food value of tomatoes may be stated thus: -- (a) Tomatoes are the richest in vitamins of all foods; (b) they are the most wonderful and effective blood cleansers of all foods known to man; (c) they are the richest of all vegetables in the natural health acids which keep our stomachs and intestines in condition; (d) they are a most extraordinary corrective for kidneys, being a gentle, natural stimulant which helps to wash away the poisons which cause disease and contaminate our systems."

Piña - (Pineapple) - Anana Cosmosus Linn. Parts used: fruit, leaves/stalks

Piña is a fruit widely cultivated in the Philippines. There are two varieties, the native one, which has smaller fruits and is grown on Mt. Banahaw, and the Smooth Cayenne variety, which was introduced from Hawaii. Piña is well-known for its digestive enzyme bromelin, which has anthelmintic properties. For more information on Piña

PAPAYA- (English same) - Carica Papaya - Linn. Parts used: fruit, leaves, flowers, seeds

Papaya is a fruit tree found throughout the Philippines, mostly cultivated. The native species grows mostly wild on Mt. Banahaw. Papaya is one of our four "power herbs" having a long history and proof of being a very effective medicinal plant. The leaves, fruits, stem and roots all contain the proteolytic enzyme papain. Exhaustive studies have been done on papain, and it is reported to be a true, soluble, digestive ferment or a mixture of ferments of vegetable origin, its proteolytic action marked in acid, alkaline, and neutral solutions and also in the presence of many chemicals, antiseptics, and therapeutic agents. It has a peculiar softening and disintegrating actions in proteids, and its general proteolytic action is that of a genuine digestive ferment, similar to that of the ferments of animal origin. It acts in the way rennet does upon milk, and has a pronounced digestive power at a wide range of temperatures. Papain is used effectively as an anthelmintic. The leaves are often employed as a remedy for asthma, and said to also be a heart tonic. The flowers have pectoral properties. The fruit is used in cosmetics for a healthy skin complexion. The green fruit is laxative and diuretic. Studies at the University of Nigeria have revealed that extracts of ripe and unripe papaya fruits and of the seeds are active against gram-positive bacteria. Strong doses are effective against gram-negative bacteria. The substance has protein-like properties. To read more about Papaya

Niyog - (Coconut) - Cocos Nucifera Linn. Parts used: fruit, root

Niyog is a palm tree cultivated throughout the Philippines. Mt. Banahaw, being in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines, is rich in Niyog trees. The roots of Niyog are astringent, and are used for coughs. Niyog fruit is often processed into oil or milk because of its refrigerant, aperient, diuretic, anthelmintic, and purgative properties. It is often used in cosmetics as a lotion for the skin. For more information on Niyog


10 medicinal plants approved by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) as an alternative medicine in treating particular disorders.

The Philippines is blessed with more than 500 medicinal plants, and below is a list of 10 medicinal plants approved by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) as an alternative medicine in treating particular disorders.

Ampalaya:(Bitter Gourd) – Momordica charantia

Ampalaya is a herbaceous, climbing vine that has heart-shaped leaves and grows to 5 meters. In the Philippines, ampalaya is grown year long for its bitter edible fruit. Each plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. The fleshy green fruit has an oblong shape.

Medicinal Uses (parts use: leaves, roots, fruits)

  • Leaves or root decoction can be use to ease hemorrhoids.
  • Juice made from leaves is use for cough, to heal wounds and as a purgative and to drive out intestinal parasites.
  • Juice from fruit is effective for dysentery and chronic colitis.
  • A mixture of seeds and roots is helpful in treating urethral discharges.
  • Pounded leaves used for scalds.
  • Concoction of leaves relieved fevers.
  • It is also used for jaundice, eczema, abdominal pain, pneumonia, rheumatism, and psoriasis.

Recent studies have suggested that ampalaya is highly recommended for the treatment of diabetes. It contains a plant insulin responsible for its blood sugar lowering effect.

Akapulko: (Ringworm Bush) – Cassia alata

Akapulko or Acapulco in English is an erect, shrubby legume found throughout the Philippines. It grows up to 6 feet tall, with dark green compound leaves. It has yellow-orange flowers that produce on average 50-60 small, triangular seeds. The parts use are leaves, flowers and seeds.

Medicinal Uses: (parts use: leaves, flowers and seeds)

  • The seeds are used in expelling intestinal parasites.
  • Decoction of leaves and flowers eases cough.
  • Crushed leaves and juice extract are used to treat fungal infections such as; ringworm, athlete‘s foot, scabies, eczema, and herpes.
  • Pounded leaves are used for insect bites, rheumatism and reducing swelling of joints due to injuries.
  • Mixture of leaves and flowers used as mouthwash in the treatment of stomatitis.
  • The leaves stain is used as purgative.
  • The juice of the leaves is used for the treatment of fetid discharges.
  • Decoction of leaves are used to treat bronchitis and asthma.

Bawang: (GARLIC) - Allium sativum

low herb that grows to about 30-60 cm high. Garlic leaves are linear and flat and the bulbs are about 2-4 in. that are widely ovoid containing several angular and truncated tubers. In the Philippines,iIt is commercially grown in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Batangas, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija and Cotabato.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Crushing a lobe and massaging it to both temples can relieve headache
  • Crushing a lobe of garlic and directly rubbing to affected areas is used to treat insect bites.
  • Mixture of leaves and bulbs boiled is used for the treatment of fever.
  • Decoction of leaves and bulbs is also used for tonsillitis.
  • It is used for treating gastrointestinal spasms and digestive problems.
  • Juice from crushed garlic is good for cough, sore throat, colds, asthma and bronchitis.
  • Also used in the treatment of athlete’s foot.

Bayabas: (GUAVA) - Psidium guajava

The guava is a Perennial tree or shrub with oval to oblong leaves about 7.6 cm (3 inches) in length. At maturity, the tree will reach up to 25 feet high. It bears white flowers that developed into ordinary yellow fruits on ripening. Found throughout the Philippines and is a common backyard plant. The fruits are edible and is very high in Vitamin C. for its medicinal applications, the leaves are used.

Medicinal Uses:

  • It has antiseptic, antispasmodic, and astringent properties.
  • Fresh leaves are used for treating wounds and toothache.
  • Decoction of fresh leaves is used as cleaning agent for wound to ease healing and to prevent infection
  • Boiled fresh leaves is used for aromatic baths.
  • Decoction of leaves is also used for diarrhea.
  • Chewing fresh leaves is used as mouthwash to ease gum swelling.
  • Decoction of leaves is also used for skin ulcers.
  • Placing densely roll leaves into the nostril cavity can stop nosebleeds.
  • It is also used as vaginal wash (after childbirth) or douche.

Lagundi: (Five-leaved chaste tree) - Vitex negundo

A small erect tree that grows to about 3m. The leaves are typically 5-foliate, blue flowers 6-7 mm long and globose black when ripe. Fruits about 4mm in diameter. For medicinal uses leaves, bark, roots and seeds are used.

Medicinal Uses: (parts use:leaves, bark, roots and seeds)

  • Decoction of leaves are used for headache, toothache, fever, cough and asthma.
  • Boiling leaves in coconut oil stop fungal infections on scalp.
  • Ash of fresh leaves are used for swelled rheumatic joints.
  • Decoction of leaves are used to ease amenorrhea, menstrual difficulties, menorrhagia, and Premenstrual Syndrome.
  • Lukewarm decoction of leaves are used for sponge bathing.
  • Mixture of leaves are used as wash in treating wounds and ulcers.
  • Decoction of leaves taken as a diuretic.

Niyog-niyogan: (Chinese honeysuckle) - Quisqualis indica

Niog-niogan is a large climbing shrub that grow to about 2.5-8 meters. The leaves are egg-shaped and opposite with a pointed tip and a rounded base. The flowers’s color varies from white to purple orange and are aromatic and tubular. The fruit grows to about 30-35 mm long and their color varies from white to pink to red. The 30 to 35 mm long fruit is oval-shape and has five distinguishable wings.

Medicinal Uses:

  • The seeds (dried nuts) and leaves are used for traditional medicine.
  • Dried seeds are used for deforming.
  • Decoctions of the root can be used as antihelmintic.
  • Roasted seeds are used to ease diarrhea and fever.
  • Fruit decoction is also used for gargling and to fight nephritis.
  • The roots can be used to ease rheumatism.
  • Decoctions of seeds and fruits are used as pectoral to combat ascaris.
  • Juice out of leaves are used for boils, ulcers, and headache cause by fever.
  • Pounded leaves are used externally for skin diseases.
  • Decoction of boiled leaves used to ease difficulty in urinating.

Pansit-pansitan: (SHINY BUSH) - Peperomia pellucida

It is a small herb that grows may reach 40 cm high ad can be found in damp areas such as: yards nooks, walls and even roofs. Leaves are shiny light green, heart-shaped , and alternate. Stems are erect, juicy and glabrous with tiny flowers on a spike. The fruits are also very small; round to oblong, green but turns to black when ripe.

Medical Uses: (parts use: leaves and stems)

  • Fresh juice out of stem and leaves combats eye inflammation.
  • Concoction of leaves are used as treatment for headache, fever, common colds, sore throat, cough, coughing, and diarrhea.
  • Also used to fight against prostate problems.
  • Mixture and decoction of leaves and stems ease gout and arthritis.
  • Concoction of stems and leaves is good against high blood pressure.
  • Concoction of leaves are used for abscesses, conjunctivitis, rheumatic pains, and gout.
  • Externally, as a facial wash for skin problems.
  • Pounded whole plant used as warm poultice for wounds, boils, and pimples.

Sambong: (Blumea camphora) – Blumea balsamifera

Sambong is a tall, erect, half wood, strongly aromatic herb that thrives in open fields, grasslands and waste areas. The shrub can grow up to 4 meters tall grows up to tall. Leaves are elongated with jagged edge and bears yellow flowers.

Medicinal uses: (parts use leaves)

  • Leaves is an effective poultice for abscesses.
  • Decoction leaves is used to ease fevers and cystitis.
  • Concoction of leaves is used for rheumatic pains.
  • Fresh juice of leaves used for wounds and cuts.
  • Poultice of leaves used for headaches and stomach pains.
  • Tea is used for colds and as an expectorant.
  • Concoction of leaves is used for treating dysentery, sore throat

Tsaang Gubat: (Fukien tea tree) - Ehretia microphylla Lam

Tsaang Gubat is a shrub that grows up to 5 meters. Found throughout the Philippines in secondary forests at low and medium altitudes Leaves in clusters, simple, rough, alternate, jagged towards the tip, slowly narrowing towards base. Tsaang gubat bears white flowers and a fleshy, yellow-orange when ripe fruits. >

Medicinal Uses: (part use; leaves)

  • Taken as tea, it is effective for stomach ache, diarrhea, and dysentery.
  • Decoction has also been used as a dental mouthwash.
  • Leaves concoction is an antidote for plant-based poisoning;
  • Leaves are also used to stop bleeding from snakebites. ; as body cleanser after childbirth.
  • Decoction of leaves is used as disinfectant wash after childbirth.

Yerba Buena: (PEPPER MINT) - Clinopodium douglasii

Yerba Buena is a strongly aromatic herb of the mint family. This perennial plant can reach up to 1 meter long with ascending terminal branches. growth ranges from 0.6 meters to 1 meter. It has elliptic to oblong-ovate, elongated leaves 1.5 to 2 cm long and bears small, hairy whitish, light blue or purplish flowers. Yerba Buena plants are found in high elevated areas.

Medical Uses: (parts use: leaves and stem)

  • Decoction of leaves is used for headaches, fever, toothaches, migraine and joint pains.
  • Leaves soak in a glass of water is an effective mouthwash.
  • Decoction of leaves is also used for treating indigestion, dysmenorrhea, stomach aches, diuresis, and relieves internal gas.
  • Pounded or crushed leaves is effective for insect bites.
  • For dizziness: Crushed fresh plants or leaves are sniffed.
  • It is good for the health if taken as a tea.
Sambong - (Blumea Camphor) - Blumea Balsamifera Linn. Parts used: leaves

Sambong is found throughout the Philippines, and grows wild on Mt. Banahaw. Doctors in the Philippines prescribe Sambong for the dissolution of kidney stones. The leaves of Sambong are used as a tea in the Philippines, and as a cure for colds. It is also said to have antidiarrhetic and antigastralgic properties. It is also used as an expectorant. It is given for worms and dysentery. It is one of the most common used medicinal herbs in the Philippines. For more information on Sambong
Talong - (Eggplant) - Solanum Melongena Linn. Parts used: root

Talong is cultivated throughout the Philippines, and is common on Mt. Banahaw. In the Philippines, the Talong roots are taken as a decoction internally as an antiasthmatic and general stimulant. The roots are also used in treatment of skin diseases
Duhat - (Black Plum/Java Plum) - Syzygium Cumini Skeels Parts used: fruit, leaves, bark, seeds

Duhat is a fruit tree found mostly wild throughout the Philippines. Duhat seeds are known for the treatment of diabetes, as are the leaves and the juice from the fruit. The bark is astringent and in decoction is used as a mouthwash and as a gargle for ulcerations of the mouth. For more information on Duhat
Darangita - (Mandarin Orange, or Tangerine Orange) - Citrus Reticulata Blanco Parts used: fruit

Darangita is a fruit tree common throughout the Philippines and abundant on Mt. Banahaw. Darangita is valued for its pleasant flavor and high concentration of vitamin C. For more information on Darangita

Cacao - (Cocoa) - Theobroma Cacao Linn. Parts used: pulpy flesh from fruit

Cacao is a fruit tree cultivated throughout the Philippines, and is very abundant on Mt. Banahaw. It is most known for the seeds of its fruit, which is used to manufacture cacao, chocolate, cacao butter, etc. We use the pulpy flesh of the fruit in our Digestive Enzyme tincture, because it contains the enzymes protease, invertase, raffinase, cesease and oxydase.

Bignay – (no English) – Antidesma Bunius Linn. Parts used: fruit, leaves

Bignay is a fruit tree with small red berries. It grows wild on Mt. Banahaw. The fruit is commonly used to make jam and wine. The fruit is known for its cooling properties. The leaves are sudorific and employed in treating snakebite, in Asia. The fruit is harvested once a year, and we add fresh bignay juice to our Kombucha Health drinks during that time. For more information on Bignay

(Guava) - Psidium Guajava Linn. Parts used: fruit, leaves, and bark

Bayabas is a fruit found throughout the Philippines. While the larger varieties are cultivated, most of it grows wild. It is very abundant on Mt. Banahaw in its wild form. The leaves and bark are known to be astringent, vulnerary, and antidiarrhetic. The bark is used in the chronic diarrhea of children. The fruit is known to be anthelmintic, and is used for high blood pressure, poor circulation, diabetes and asthma. The fruit also has probably the highest concentration of vitamin C of any of the tropical fruits in the Philippines. For more information on Bayabas,

Avocado - (English same) - Persea Americana Mill. Parts used: leaves and bark

The Avocado is a fruit and was introduced into the Philippines from tropical America around the 16th century. It is very common on Mt. Banahaw. It is a seasonal fruit, which contains over 20 percent fat, and more protein content than any other fresh fruit. The parts we use in our herbal formulas are the leaves and bark. The leaves and bark are used in domestic medicines because of the pectoral, stomachic, emmengague, resolutive, and antiperiodic properties ascribed to them.

Kalabasa - (Squash) - Cucurbita Maxima Duchesne Parts used: seeds

Kalabasa is a vegetable cultivated throughout the Philippines, and is common on Mt. Banahaw. Kalabasa seeds are used as an anthelmintic, which is attributed to the presence of saponin in the seeds. They are used to combat tapeworms. The seeds are also used as a diuretic for urinary diseases.

Ampalaya (Momordica charantia)

Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) with a scientific name Momordica charantia, is a climbing vine and the tendrils of which grow up to 20 centimeters long. This herbal plant belongs to the family of Cucurbitaceae, and it is a tropical as well as a subtropical vine. Ampalaya leaves are heart-shaped, which are 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruits of the ampalaya vine are fleshy green with pointed ends at length. It can never be mistaken for any other variety because its ribbed and wrinkled surface had always been ampalaya’s distinct physical structure. The bitter taste of the ampalaya fruit had also been the distinguishing factor from the rest of the fruits with medicinal value, and this is due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin.

Ampalaya has been a folkloric cure for generations but has now been proven to be an effective herbal medicine for many aliments. Most significant of which is for Diabetes. The Philippine variety has proven to be most potent. Ampalaya contains a mixture of flavanoids and alkaloids make the Pancreas produce more insulin that controls the blood sugar in diabetics. Aside from Ampalaya's medicinal value, it is good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, folic acid, phosphorous and calcium.

Ampalaya has been for used even by the Chinese for centuries. The effectively of Ampalaya as an herbal medicine has been tried and tested by many research clinics and laboratories worldwide. In the Philippines, the Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya as an alternative medicine to help alleviate various ailments including diabetes, liver problems and even HIV. Aside from these, ampalaya also helps treat skin diseases and cough. Its herbal value extends to increasing the sterility of women, in parasiticide, antipyretic, and has purgative functions, as well. Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.

Medical uses of Ampalaya

Diabetes. Ampalaya fruits and leaves can be eaten as vegetable. Ampalaya tablets and capsules are also now available in the Philippines.

Hemorrhoids. Powdered leaves and root decoction of Ampalaya are applied to hemorrhoids as astringent.

ampalayaStomach Problems. Ampalaya leaf juice is used to expel intestinal parasites, treat dysentery, diarrhea, and chronic colitis. Grounded seeds may also be used. Taken in a spoonfull 3x a day until ailment subsides.

Cough. Ampalaya leaf juice is used for mild coughs for children. Administered in a teaspoon 3x a day.

Burns, Scalds and Wounds. Pounded Ampalaya seeds or leaf are used to treat burns, scalds and wounds.

Other acclaimed uses are for the treatment of HIV, hypertension, treatment of fever and headaches, treatment of rheumatism and gout, disease of the spleen and liver.

Note: In large dozes, pure Ampalaya juice can be a purgative and abortifacient.

Ampalaya leaves are part of a tropical vine that initially gained wide use for medicinal purposes on the Philippines. Through the years, Ampalaya leaves were used to treat a number of conditions, diseases and ailments. The medicinal use of Ampalaya leaves expanded outside of the Philippines in more recent times.

    Topical Treatments

  1. Use Ampalaya leaves as a topical treatment to help resolve a number of different conditions. Ampalaya leaves are used to treat more superficial wounds and milder burns. Ampalaya leaves speed the overall healing process and also work to ease the pain associated with wounds and burns.

    As a topical treatment, mashed Ampalaya leaves are blended with a white cream or patted onto the wound or burn directly in their ground form.

    Ampalaya leaves may also be effective in aiding in the resolution of hemorrhoids. Again, the Ampalaya leaves are ground and applied directly to the hemorrhoids. They act to lessen the swelling and also as an astringent.
  2. Digestive Treatments

  3. Grind Ampalaya leaves to be used in treating certain digestive conditions and ailments. In addressing digestive issues, 1 tsp. of ground Ampalaya leaves are taken three times throughout the course of a day.

    In the Philippines, Ampalaya leaves are used to treat diarrhea and colitis. Ampalaya leaves may also be helpful in eliminating intestinal parasites and in the treatment of dysentery.
  4. Diabetes

  5. Incorporate Ampalaya leaves into your diet to aid in regulating diabetes (types I and II). Ampalaya leaves are also available in capsule form for diabetic patients. Ampalaya leaves may assist in regulating blood sugar levels in a person with diabetes.

    Before using Ampalaya leaves as part of a regimen to regulate blood sugar, consult with a doctor to ensure that using Ampalaya leaves makes sense for you and that it is an appropriate alternative remedy for your condition.
  6. Nutrition

  7. Add Ampalaya leaves to your diet to better your overall health. In addition to being effective at resolving a variety of common ailments and illnesses, Ampalaya leaves are nutritional. Ampalaya leaves are a useful dietary supplement in addition to having healing properties.

    Ampalaya leaves are rich in iron, calcium, beta carotene and vitamin B. These are all important nutrients in maintaining optimal health.


Guyabano/Soursop Fruit Nutrition

Guyabano belongs to the family of Annonaceae, (A. muricata L.). The flesh of the fruit consist of a white edible pulp that is high in carbohydrates and considerable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Potassium and dietary fiber. Guyabano is low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium. No only is guyabano a good health food, it also taste delicious. The tree and fruit is known in various names: Guyabano in Filipino, Soursop in English, Graviola in Brazil, and Guanabana in Spanish.

About the Guyabano

The heart shaped / oblong guyabano fruit has a dark green, leathery and spike-like skin that measures from 8 to 12 inches long and can weigh up to 2.5 kilos. The creamy and delectable flesh contains from 60 to 100 black-brown seeds that are indigestible and non-edible.

The guyabano tree is relatively small. It usually grows from 8 to less than 20 feet high and is sensitive to very cold temperatures. The guyabano tree requires a lot of water, warmth and humidity and is usually grown in the tropics. It is cultivated commercially in Central & South America, West Africa, Asia and South Florida in limited numbers.

Products made from Guyabano fruit:
Aside from being eaten raw, the guyabano fruit is processed into candies, tarts, shakes, ice-cream, sherbets and other beverages.

Medicinal Uses of Guyabano
Guyabano has been used as folkloric herbal medicine in many regions thought the world. It is considered to be antispasmodic, sudorific and emetic. A decoction (boiling in water) of guyabano leaves is used to kill bedbugs and head lice.

To reduce fever, a decoction of leaves can be taken internally or the leaves added to bathing water also has the same effect. The crushed fresh leaves are also applied on skin eruptions for faster healing. A poultice of young guyabano leaves is applied on the skin to alleviate rheumatism and other skin infections like eczema. Applied during the healing of wounds, this can result in less or no skin scars. The decoction can also be used as a wet compress on swollen feet and other inflammations.

The juice of the fruit is taken orally as a herbal remedy for urethritis, haematuria and liver ailments.

Studies are underway by leading medical institutes, universities and pharmaceutical companies of the healing properties of guyabano against cancers. Initial findings show that certain compounds and chemicals extracted from guyabano leaves, seeds, fruit and bark appear to kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells remain unaffected.

Other uses of Guyabano
Pulverizing the guyabano seeds and mixing it with soap & water is used as effective spray against caterpillars, armyworms and leafhoppers on plants.

The guyabano leaves are believed to have a tranquilizing and sedative properties. In the Netherlands Antilles, the leaves are placed inside pillows or placed on top of the mattress to induce a good night's sleep.

Guyabano Nutritional Value*

Per 100g of edible portion

Calories - 65
Protein - 1.0 g
Fat - 0.95g
Carbohydrates - 16.5g
Fiber - 3.2 g
Ash - 58g
Calcium - 10.3 mg
Phosphorus - 26.9 mg
Potassium - 270 mg
Iron - 0.64 mg
Vitamin A - 2 IU
Vitamin C - 28.5 mg
Thiamine - 0.10 mg
Riboflavin - 0.06 mg
Niacin - 1.3 mg
Tryptophan - 11 mg
Methionine - 8 mg
Lysine - 60 mg

Fruit Shake

A basic recipe to a healthy drink for breakfast or snack.

1 cup fruit guyabano sliced
6 tbsp. CARNATION Non-Fat Milk
honey to taste
enough cold water/cracked ice to suite desired consistency

Combine ingredients in a blender and process for about 1 min. Serve on chilled glasses.