Thursday, May 30, 2013

Philippines Medicinal Plants Part Three

Part Three in a series of articles about the Philippines common medicinal plants.

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

Baino–Nelumbo nucifera Linn.–Sacred Lotus

photo link

Sacred lotus is very large perennial water herb growing vertically to about 150 cm. The prickly leaf stalk develop 30-60cm and the blades 40-90 cm long. Young blue-green, round leaves float on the surface then the mature ones stand above the water. The long-stalked yellow, flat-topped flower about 10-20 cm wide, develops into an 8cm brown seed capsule. On the top, the spongy top-shaped receptacle cavities( up to 12 big holes) hold smooth, black, egg-shaped oval shaped, about 2 cm long ripe carpel (fruit and seed in one). In the Philippines, it is abundant in shallow lakes and marshes and cultivated as pond ornamentals. For medicinal use, all parts are utilized.

Medicinal uses:

* Roots, rhizomes, and flowers are used as rejuvenating tonic and as astringent.
* The leaves and seeds are used in poultices.
* Flowers, filaments, seeds are used against fever, bronchitis, cholera, diarrhea, skin eruptions, liver complaints, insomnia and snakebites.
* Pounded leaves used to ease skin irritation and halitosis, lower fever, and soothe inflamed mucous membrane.
* Flower stalk or syrup made from the flowers are used to stop dysentery, menorrhagia, and internal bleeding caused by gastric ulcers.
* Rhizome’s node and stamen are used to stop bleeding.
* Young leaves stems, and roots used for piles, vomiting, parasites and leprosy.
* Decoction of floral receptacle ease abdominal cramps, bloody discharges.
* Decoction of flowers used against spermatorrhea, syphilis and premature ejaculation.
* Paste of root starch used for ringworm and other fungal infections
Balanoy — Ocimum basilicum — Sweet Basil

photo link

Common or Sweet Basil is an annual herb which grows to an erect length of about 3 feet high is cultivated worldwide as a flavoring herb in many cuisines. The leaves of balanoy or common basil which emit a spicy, clove-like aroma are oval-shaped, dark green beneath and have slightly-toothed edges. The stem is obtusely quadrangular, the labiate flowers are either white or purple and are peculiar in having two lips. Balanoy is sporadically cultivated throughout the Philippines and prefers warm and moist habitat. The plant’s leaves and seeds are utilized for medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Uses:

* Basil tea can be used to ease fever and cough.
* Decoction of leaves helps in controlling nausea, vomiting and hiccups.
* Leaf juice helpful for coughing up and expelling phlegm.
* Basil tea helps in expelling gas pains.
* Poultice of crushed fresh leaves is effective against snake bites.
* Decoction of leaves and roots combats gonorrhea.
* Decoction of leaves in bath effective for rheumatic pain and skin ulcers.
* Applying juice of crushed fresh leaves cures insect bites and ringworm.
* Decoction of seeds ease constipation, and postpartum pains.
* Basil tea good for delayed menstruation and is also used in the treatment of external eye problems.
* Juice made from crushed fresh leaves and inserted into tooth cavity is effective for toothache.
* Poultice of seeds effective against mouth and cheeks sores.
* Applied externally, decoction of dried leaves used for acne.
* Sniffing crushed fresh leaves eases dizziness.

Balatong — Phaseolus aureus Roxb.– Mung Bean

photo link

A mung bean plant is an erect or semi-erect annual herb reaching 15 – 130 cm long. It has trifoliate leaves that are ovate and entire. Mung bean bears greenish to yellow flowers about 1 cm long. It produces a bunch of slender, blackish, hairy pods about 10 – 15 cm long. The seeds are 4-6 mm in length.

Medicinal Uses:

* It prevents prickly heat, heatstroke and heat rash.
* Decoction of roots used for bone pains.
* Eaten as soup or congee can expel toxins.
* Decoction of seeds used for rheumatism and other related nervous system diseases.
* Boiled seeds used in poultices.
* The seeds are used for hemorrhoids and liver afflictions.
* Powdered beans used in treating burns, skin ulcers and effective in promoting suppuration.
* Seeds used in anorexia.
* Seeds used for acne, boils, sores and blackheads.

Banaba — Lagerstroemia speciosa Linn.– Queen’s Flower

photo link

Banaba is a deciduous tropical flowering tree that grows up to 20 meters in height. It has large green oblong leaves about 30 cm long. The plant sheds leaves that red or bright orange during the early months of the year. It bears racemes pink to lavender flowers from March to June. After flowering, it bears large clumps of brown bears nut-like fruits about 0.5 inches. Banaba plant is widely distributed in the Philippines, and is cultivated for its beautiful flowers. For medicnal purposes, the plant’s leaves, fruits, flowers and bark are used.

Medicinal Uses:

* Concoction of bark/roots helps ease diarrhea and other stomach ailments.
* Banaba tea effective in combating diabetes, kidney, bladder, dysuria and urinary problems.
* Concoction of leaves and flowers eases fevers. and as diuretic.
* Leaf concoction helps ease urination.
* The leaves, flowers and bark helps in controlling loose bowel movements.
* Tea of the leaves is used for weight loss and helps regulate blood pressure.

Bataw — Dolichos lablab Linn.– Hyacinth Bean

photo link

Hyacinth bean is a climbing or twining vine about 4 to 6 m long, with purple flowers and pods. Also, the leaflets are purplish green and triangular in shape about 3-6 in long. The flowers are arranged in loose clusters on long stems, while the pod are small, smooth, and flat 2-3 inches long containing 4-6 seeds that may be red, brown, or white.

Medicinal uses:

* The stem is effective in treating cholera. * Concoction of leaves used for colds, fever, cough, high blood pressure and skin diseases.
* Concoction of leaves eased gonorrhea.
* Poultice of leaves for headaches, dizziness, snake bites.
* Concoction leaves used for hepatitis, diarrhea, rheumatism, spasms, colic, and burn wounds.
* Juice of the leaves applied abscesses and tumor.
* Juice from pods mixed with salt effective against sore throat and ear inflammation.
Seeds used to stop nose bleeds.

Buntot ng Kabayo –Equisetum arvense — Horse Tail

photo link

A ferny perennial with jointed rootstocks. These horsetails have simple and erect stems reaching up to 80 cm tall, 3-5 cm in diameter branched. Bulbs or Rhizome appear like a string of beads.

Medicinal Uses:

* Decoction of stems used externally to stops bleeding and for wound healing.
* Effective in easing diarrhea, liver problems, heavy menstruation, infection of the urinary tract and prostate disorders.
* An excellent astringent in reducing hemorrhage.
* Decoction used hair rinse, sprains and skin diseases.

Bulak-manok — Ageratum conyzoides Linn.- Billy Goat weed

photo link

Billy goat weed is an erect, slender, common perennial tropical herbaceous weed growing up to 2.5 feet tall. The stalked, alternate, hairy and aromatic smelling leaves are about 4-11 cm long, and 1 to 5 cm wide. The stem is often red and has long white hairs, while the dark seeds have scales and often serrate below. The flowers are small with numerous flowering heads. For medicinal purposes leaves, young stems and flowering tops are used.

Medicinal Uses:

* Every part of the plant as a decoction is used for the treatment of fevers, colds, cough, and high blood pressure.
* Decoction of leaves used for eczema, furuncle and external wounds.
* Poultices for headaches.
* Juice from fresh parts used for treating otitis media.
* Also used to ease dizziness, dysentery, and hepatitis.
* Decoction of leaves used for headaches, burn wounds, colics, rheumatism.

Bagasua — Ipomoea pes-caprae (Linn.) Roth — Beach Morning Glory

photo link

A smooth, perennial creeping vine rooting at the nodes. The leaves are alternate, elliptical in shape with broad base can reach 4.5cm in length. Flowers are either angular or flattened, light purple, are up to 3-16 cm in diameter. The Stem or stalk is erect and carries 1-6 flowers that opens one at a time. Seeds are covered with hairs.

Medical Uses:

* Roots are eaten raw to ease stomach aches.
* Decoction of leaves used for rheumatism, bladder disease.
* Boiled leaves used externally for colics.
* Paste of leaves used for boils.
* Seeds alleviate cramps and stomach pains.
* Boiled tubers used to treat intestinal parasites

Buli — Corypha elata Roxb.– Buri Palm

photo link

Buri Palm is the largest of the Philippine palms. They flower only once in their life, producing plentiful rounds fruits and die after. Buri palm has erect and straight truck growing up to 1 meter in diameter and reaching up to 20 m tall. It has huge and fan-shaped leaves reaching 3 meters long. Also, Buri palm has pyramidal inflorescence grows up to 7 m high. The plant bears numerous greenish-white flowers about 5-6 mm in diameter. It has fleshy, round-shaped fruits about 2-2.5 cm in diameter.

Medicinal Uses:

* Decoction of young plant used for fever, colds and runny nose.
* Starch effective for treating bowel disorders.
* Juice made from roots eases diarrhea.
* Chewing fresh roots good for coughs.

Balbas-bakiro – Momordica cochinchinensis Lour.– Spiny Bitter Cucumber

photo link

A climbing or trailing dioecious vine starting from a tuberous root, often reaching 15 meters long. Leaves are mostly egg-shaped about 8-128 cm long, divided into 3-lobed with pointed tip. The fruit is large, 8-12 cm in diameter, yellow turning red at maturity. Seeds are large, flattened, and contain an oil that is used as an illuminant. Medicinal Uses:

* Decoction or pulverized seeds used for coughs.
* As a substitute for soap, roots are effective against head lice.
* Plaster made from roots stimulates hair growth.
* Seeds and leaves are mild laxative.
* Seeds effective for ulcers, hemorrhoids, wounds, bruises, swelling of the neck, mammary abscesses.
* The seed membranes can help promote healthy vision.
* Also used for liver and spleen disorders.

Related Posts:

The Philippines Most Promoted Medicinal Plants

Philippine Medicinal Plants Part 2


  1. I think that these medicinal plants provide great benefits that practitioners of health should also introduce and encourage their patients to try. It's not only Western medicine that can treat diseases and they should consider that as well.

  2. It's always amazing to know how these plants can actually cure health issues. They are God-given doctors. :)

  3. Oh this reminds me of our province that have those. :)

  4. We have BULI here in our place. And that's true it can really help you if you have a diarrhea, just put its leaves to hot boil and make it warm and drink its juice. It tastes nothing but it can really ease the pain.

  5. We should really market these medicinal plants as alternative treatment plus they are much safer.

  6. with all the instant meds that we have these days.. sometimes these medicinal plants are being ignored esp for the new generation

  7. Bataw here in our area is green in color. It's the first time I've seen a red one! This article enlightened me that plants we see or use for "decoration purposes" only can actually be used as medicines :)

  8. Bataw here in our area is green in color. It's the first time I've seen a red one! This article enlightened me that plants we see or use for "decoration purposes" only can actually be used as medicines :)

  9. wow a lot of natural medicinal plants! nice to know!! i love eating munggo and sweet basil!! i dont know that it does something! really great tips and lists!

  10. I love bataw and mung beans but did not know about their medicinal health benefits, thanks for sharing this infos!

  11. Hehehe I am confused on the balatong/mung bean. Anyway, buli is not common in our place anymore.

  12. ganito yung dapat na tinatry na gawing gamot ng mga filipinos at ng makatipid!:)

  13. hinidi ko kilala yang buntot ng kabayo at spiny bitter cucumber. i have sweet basil in my garden, yes, this is my favorite spices and not aware of the herbal part of it.

  14. I have nothing to say about the therapeutic effect of these local medicinal plants. What I am apprehensive about is the commercialization of these plants in which in the end, they become costly the common tao couldn't afford to buy them anymore.

  15. wow, i am familiar with the medicinal benefits of almost of them, but never knew that the lotus has also its medicinal values.

  16. wow! this is really an informative post. It's not just about giving information and promoting Philippine's medicinal plants but this post also helps us in saving a lot money instead of buying those pricey medicines. Great Job! :)

  17. Thanks for all the information you have shared Kuya. I think it's a good idea to keep some of these plants growing in our own backyards for a more natural and holistic approach to healing. Ayaw ko talaga, as much as possible, to take medications due to their chemicals and side effects. If I have my way, I'll take medicinal plants instead.

    Ria C

  18. I don't know about the buntot ng kabayo but the Buri Palm, looks like the betel nut which reminds me of my high school days where in we tested it for anit microbial property.

  19. I feel great that I live in a country where medicinal plants are everywhere! =)

  20. thank you so much for this information po, now I have an alternative source of advice for my patients whose resources to buy medicine is lacking...I did not know Mung Bean is good for hemorrhoids :) have a blessed weekend po Papaleng....kung buhay pa ang papa ko siguro blogger din sya ngayon :)

  21. Papaleng, I do not know that munggo bean is medicinal too :-) All I know is that they are delish to eat :-) Thank you Papaleng for always sharing us helpful tips and amazing facts too :-)

  22. I have no idea about all these plants, great to know this list of medicinal plants...your post is always interesting to read. sabi ko, i learn (again) something new today...thanks for sharing. have a great week. :)

  23. My Lola is a, what do you call that, herbal plant enthusiast(something like that). I've seen her used some of those plants mentioned. And, yan pala ang bataw. As in the bataw in Bahay Kubo? (sitaw, bataw, patani). hehehe

  24. I remember my Botanical class in college which we were required to know all these plants by heart. We even went to community outreach program to inform the public about these useful plants. Thanks for sharing Papaleng.

  25. I wonder if there is Banaba here in Cambodia? Anything that helps in weight loss always catches my interest. Hehe.