5 Alternative Herbal Medicines Approved by the DOH


By: Ana Margarita Olar|

The use of alternative herbal medicine is deep seated in Philippine’s tradition and culture. Studies from the National Science and Development Board  have found that these herbal plants are effective in the treatment of common ailments.

Way back 1992, former DOH secretary Juan M. Flavier launched the Traditional Medicine Program. Afterward, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law RA 8423 or the Traditional And alternative Medicine Act of 1997.

Since then the DOH has advocated the use of the following alternative herbal medicines:

Lagundi (Vitex negundo) known as the “5 leaved chaste tree”, this shrub is prepared as a decoction to treat asthma, cough, and fever,  skin diseases ( dermatitis, ulcerations, scabies, eczema).

Crushed leaves are applied for rheumatism, headache, and also can be used as an aromatic bath for sick patients.

Sambong (Blumea Balsamifera) known as Blumea Camphor, this plant can be prepared by boiling its leaves to treat edema and kidney stones by acting as a diuretic.

Yerba Buena (Mentha Cordifella)- known as peppermint, this small, multi-branching aromatic herb is prepared by soaking leaves in hot water to treat a cough and colds, menstrual and gas pain.

The sap is crushed to provide a remedy for rheumatism, arthritis and headache, and toothache.

For nausea and fainting, the leaves are crushed to be placed near the patient’s nostril to help the patient regain consciousness.

Ampalaya ( Momordica Charantia)- known as bitter melon or bitter gourd this vine is prepared as a decoction to lower blood sugar levels, and to treat mild and noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

Akapulko (Cassia, alata L.) known as ringworm bush because it is prepared by pounding its leaves to treat fungal infections such as ringworm, tinea flava, athlete’s foot and scabies.

Other alternative herbal medicine includes Tsaang Gubat for diarrhea and stomach ache, Niyug-niyogan to treat intestinal worm infestation, Guava for diarrhea and wounds, Ulasimang Bato to lower uric acid, and Garlic to lower blood pressure and remedy for a toothache.

alternative medicine

An alternative herbal medicine can be prepared in many ways:

Herbal teas- made by decoction or infusion

Decoction- boiling leaves, barks, and roots

Infusion- soaking leaves in hot water for several minutes

Herbal Poultice: vegetable fat based mixtures to be applied externally.

Powdered herbs and tablets: dried parts of the herb are powdered and compressed to form a tablet or put in a capsule.

Herbal creams and ointments– mixed with beeswax to be applied to a wound or scrape.

Essential oil– aromatic plants can be extracted to form aromatic oils for massage therapy, and treat skin diseases.

Indeed the use of alternative herbal medicine has been known to have little or no side effects at all.

But before trying it, necessary precautions should be done such as insecticides must not be used on plants. Use only the part of the plant being advocated.

Use only one kind of herbal plant for each sickness, make sure that the patient has no allergy towards the herbal plant, and if not relieved for 2 to 3 days, consult a physician immediately.


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