Thursday, June 27, 2013

Philippines Medicinal Plants Part Four

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.

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

Caimito — Chrysophyllum cainito Linn.– Star Apple

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The star apple tree is erect, growing to about 8-30 m tall, with and a dense, broad crown. The alternate, slightly leathery evergreen leaves are elliptic about 2 to 6 in (5-15 cm) long. The flowers are purplish-white, small and bunched in the axils of leaves. The shiny and purplish or light-green skinned fruit is large and rounded, about 6 to 10 cm in diameter. The flesh is fibrous, sweet, and pleasant tasting.

For its medicinal purposes, the seeds, leaves, bark, fruit are utilize. Below are some of star apple’s medicinal usage:

* Decoction of the bark is use to relieve Dysentery
* The ripe fruit is good for easing up inflammation in laryngitis and pneumonia.
* The slightly unripe fruits are eaten to relieve intestinal problems.
* A decoction of the bark is drunk as a stimulant.
* The bark latex used on abscesses
*Decoction of bark used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, gonorrhea, and hemorrhages.
* The bitter, pulverized seed used as tonic, for fevers and diarrhea.
* As a decoction is gargled to relieve angina.
* A decoction of the leaves, is taken as a pectoral.
* The medicinal tea made out of the leaves is used diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chico–Achras sapota Linn.–Chiku Tree, Sapodilla

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The chico tree is an upright, very branched, slow growing evergreen tree, growing up to 8 meters tall. The leaves are oblong, are medium green and glossy, 3 to 4-1/2 inches long and 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide. Flowers are small. hairy outside, about 3/8 inch in diameter. They are borne on slender stalks in the axil of the leaves. The fruit is brown, large, fleshy, ellipsoid, 5-10 cm in diameter. It contains black, hard, glossy seeds.For medicinal purposes: Bark, seeds, fruit are utilized.

Medicinal Uses:

* Decoction of the bark or leaves good for relieving diarrhea, dysentery, fever coughs and colds.
* A tea made with the green fruit and the flowers is drunk to relieve pulmonary ailments
* Crushed seeds help expel bladder and kidney stones.
* Seeds when ground with water, acts as diuretic.
* Seed kernel oil used as dressing for falling hair.
* Seed infusion used as an eyewash.
* Decoction of leaves used for treating wounds, hemorrhage, and ulcers.
* A paste made from the seeds is a good antidote for venomous stings and bites
* A tea made with sapodilla and chayote leaves is thought to be good in lowering blood pressure.
* The latex can be used as a filling for tooth cavities.

Curly dock –Rumex crispus –Yellow Dock, Rumex

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Curly dock, sometimes referred as “poor man’s ginseng”, is a small, erect and scarcely branched plant reaching to about 30 to 90 cm in height. It has branched stem, on average growing up to 3 feet high. The leaves are crisped at their edges vary in shapes. The upper leaves are narrowly oblong about 7 to 15cm long while the lower leaves bears elongated shape grows from 2 to 30 cm long. The yellowish roots are 8 to 12 inches long, about 1/2 inch thick.

Medicinal uses:

* Decoction of roots relieved fevers.
* Fresh bruised roots applied externally is effective against skin rushes, eczema, boils, skin cuts, wounds, dermatitis burns, and bleeding hemorrhoids.
* Yellow dock is effective in the treatment of tapeworms and roundworms.
* Used as treatment for liver problems, internal bleedings, gall bladders disorder and arthritis.
* Decoction of roots used in the treatment of psoriasis, jaundice, constipation.
* Alleviate acute inflammation of nasal passages.

Damong Maria — Artemisia vulgaris Linn. — MAIDEN WORT

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Damong Maria is an erect, aromatic, hairy, tall-growing perennial herb growing to 0.5 to 1meter in height. The stems are smooth, angular, leafy, branched dark green hue on the upper surface growing up to 14 cm long. The flowers are in small with numerous flower heads oval heads with either reddish or pale yellow in color. The fruit is minute.

Medicinal Uses: Leaves and Flowers are Utilized

* The juice of the leaves used externally effective against scabies, herpes, eczema, and wounds.

* Decoction of leaves effective against abdominal ailments.

* Decoction of leaves used for intestinal deforming.

* Leaf poultice alleviates headache and skin ailments.

* Decoction of leaves and flowering tops taken daily are considered expectorant.

* Decoction of dried leaves controls asthma and dyspepsia.

* Young leaves used for anorexia.

* Mixture of the aromatic leaves used to induce menstruation.

* Juice of leaves applied to head of young children for the prevention of convulsions. Dandelion–Taraxacum officinale Weber

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Dandelion is a perennial herb. The leaves are 5–25 cm long, simple and smooth, entire or lobed, stalkless, toothed and divided like feathers. The flower heads are yellow to orange about 2–5 cm in diameter and containing many single-seeded fruits called achenes. Medicinal Uses:

* Decoction of roots and leaves used for liver problems.
* Decoction of roots used as a digestive aid, food stimulant and for gallbladder function.
* Decoction of leaves used as a diuretic.
* Tea, made from fresh leaves, flowers and buds effective urinary disorders.
* Decoction of leaves eased abdominal colic pains.
* Leaf poultice for headache and skin ailments.
* Decoction of leaves used to induce menstruation.
* Decoction of root used for eczema, acne, scurvy, swelling and various skin problems.
* Fresh juice is applied externally to fight bacteria and help heal wounds.
* Decoction of roots used for jaundice, cirrhosis, hypoglycemia, dyspepsia
* Juice of the stalk used to remove warts.
Dayap – Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle –LIME

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Dayap is a shrub or a small tree about 2-4 meters high with many short stiff sharp spines 1 cm or less long. The evergreen leaves are pleasantly aromatic, alternate, oblong-ovate to elliptic, 4 to 6 centimeters long. Racemes are short, bearing few flowers, white and fragrant. The fruit is round, or slightly elliptical, 3-5 cm in diameter, greenish-yellow and thin-skinned. Seeds small, smooth, plump, egg-shaped, with white embryos (polyembrionic).

Medicinal Uses: Parts used Roots and Leaves

* Decoction of roots effective against dysentery
* Decoction of roots and bark reduces fever.
* Juice effective as mouthwash and gargle for sore throat.
* Fresh juice used to clean wounds.
* Decoction of leaves drunk used for gastrointestinal ailments.
* Decoction of roots used for eczema, fevers, acne, scurvy, kidney problems.
* Pounded leaves as poultice used applied to ulcer wounds.
Dila-dila –Elephantopus scabes –Prickly-leaved Elephant’s Foot

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Prickly-leaved Elephant Foot is an erect, firm, relatively rough hairy aromatic plant growing to about 30 to 60 cm in height. The plant’s stems are forked, and rigid. Leaves are typically rosette and aoblong-ovate in shape about 10-25 cm long. Elephant’s foot has purple flower, 8-10 mm long with each flower head contains about 4 flowers. The flowering heads many-crowded in each cluster. It bear fruits that don’t open (achenes).

Medicinal Uses: Entire plant utilized either fresh or dried

* Pounded fresh leaves as poultice used for the treatment of snakebites, skin swelling, eczema boils.
* Decoction of roots used to eased hemorrhoids, diarrhea, fevers, dysuria, bronchitis.
* Juice out of pulverized leaves applied to scalp helps slow down hair loss.
* Flowers used in treating liver problems, hepatitis, beriberi, scabies chest pains.
* Decoction of roots used to prevent vomiting
* Decoction of leaves boiled is drunk to ease stomach discomfort.
* Decoction of roots and shoots used in postnatal care to restore the womb after delivery

Dita — Alstonia scholaris — White Cheese Wood

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White cheese wood is a medium to large tree, growing to about 40 m high found throughout tropical Eastern Asia. The bark is grayish, has a furrowed trunk and branchlets are copiously lenticellate. Leaves come in whorls of 3-10; Leaves are simple, opposite and ovate, cordate at base and rounded at the apex. Flowers are crowded, numerous 7-10 mm long white, cream or green. Fruits are fleshy follicles, green; 4-5 mm diameter, 20-30 cm long. Seeds are numerous, brown, oblong, about 3-4 mm long and with a tuft of hairs 7-13 mm long.

Medicinal Uses: Parts utilized Root, Latex, Flower and Leaves

Decoction of roots and leaves used for the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, bronchitis and dysuria. Decoction of leaves effective remedy for beriberi. Poultice of young leaves used for ulcers and skin diseases. Decoction of root eases hemorrhoids. Decoction of leaves as wash used in treating eczema. Decoction of the bark used as tonic, ant choleric, febrifuge and vulnerary. Mixture of juice and oil used as drops for earaches. Milky latex used externally used for boils. Flowers used for cough, bronchitis, liver problems, and eye problems.

Don Manuel – Hamelia patens Jacq.–Scarlet Bush

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Scarlet Bush is a large, semi-woody perennial shrub reaching up to 3 meters in height. Its leaves are deeply veined about 20 cm long. Flowers are tubular, reddish-orange in color. The fruit is a small juicy red berry and turns black when ripe.

Medicinal Uses:

* Effective against insect bites.
* Boiled leaves as poultice used for bruises, wounds, sores, burns, sprains and strains.
* Mixture of leaves drunk to relieve fevers and diarrhea.
* Decoction of leaves also used for intestinal parasites, scurvy, scabies, rheumatism and headaches
* Also effective for menstrual disorders.

Duryan–Durio zibethinus Murr.–DURIAN

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In Southeast Asia, considered the “King of Fruits,” Durian tree is usually erect with short, straight peeling truck growing to (27-40 m) in height. The evergreen, alternate leaves are elliptic to oblong, 10 to 20 centimeters long. The fruits are ovoid or ovoid-oblong to nearly round; can grow from 20 to 40 centimeters and weigh from 1 to 8 kilograms when ripe. Seeds about 2-6 cm long with glossy, red-brown color.

Medicinal Uses:

* Decoction of root and leaves effective in easing up fevers.
* Leaves are used in medicinal baths for jaundice.
* Externally, Fruit walls are used for the treatment of skin ailments.
* Decoction of leaves used for swelling.
* Decoction of leaves and roots used for fever, colds, phlegm.
* Leaf juice applied on head for fever.
* Fruit helps lower cholesterol.
* Fruits helps build muscles and a good source of raw fats.
* Fruits ease anxiety, depression, and insomnia
* Fruits used as aphrodisiac.


  1. I didn't know that Durian also has a lot of medicinal benefits. I learned a lot from this post.

  2. Dayap juice is indeed very effective for sore throat because of its antibacterial properties :)

  3. Though the number of medicinal plants in the country is growing, many people still do not trust to use these because they are not yet proven to be much effective.

  4. I didn't know caimito is considered a medicinal plant. Caimito is one of my favorite fruits and it's great to know that it's also has healing elements in it. =)

  5. i'm thankful, i'm not anymore in College coz there's a great possibility these fruits will then be added in our community nursing and we'll have to memo it. it goes to show the Philippine is truly rich and abundant with resources that can greatly benefit us.

  6. wow i dont know that star apple has its own benefits for health too! we have ahuge tree of star apple back in isabela Philippines!! love eating them too!

  7. So dandelion is also medicinal. I never thought this tiny thing could have such many uses. And I was surprised about durian, too. I just love eating durian without any regard to its medicinal properties.

  8. Same with Wrey, I was surprised that star apple is considered as medicinal plant. I learned a LOT from this post! Thank you.

  9. it's rare to see a blogger who loves to post about medicinal plants. this post is very informative!

  10. Honestly I am not updated with the medicinal plants approved by the DOH. Thanks for the informative post.

  11. I heard about mangosteen as the queen of all fruits. I wish I could I that right now.

  12. Chico and Star Apple are my favorites! ;)

  13. I am really a fan of medicinal plants and I prefer them over Western medicines. =)

  14. I think flowers is the best medicine for any treatment.

    flower philippines & philippine flowers

  15. Caimito and chico are also really good and delicious desserts.

  16. Where in the Philippines can we find Curly Duck? It's my first time to hear about that.

  17. Medicinal plants are are used as alternative medicines. Are you familiar with LOBBY SANTA?

  18. i never thought that these fruits can be used a medicinal plants aside from being a desert. :)

  19. i love caimito and chico! fruits that i totally miss eating back in philippines!! love to know about the useful medicinal postive effects

  20. I only knew a few of this and it is great to know that there are still a lot out there. The only thing is, that I am very skeptical of Durian to use as medicinal bath for jaundice knowing that jaundice is only a sign of an internal problem. I wonder how it treat it.

  21. this is a very helpful article, I only know a few medicinal plants like Bayabas, oregano and the usual ones.. akala ko ang dayap, pang leche flan lang..medicinal din pala! thanks for writing about this :)

  22. I'm not familiar with the other plants here, but I remember my grandmom also have a book about medicinal plants here in the Philippines. Medicinal plants are cheaper than western meds though only the elderly believed on their effectiveness.

  23. I've never seen a curly dock before...

    These medicinal plants are just around us. It is important that people know how to properly prepare a certain decoction or mixture in order to fully enjoy the benefits of these plants. This post is a great help. :)

  24. This is very helpful though I don't know some of the plants here. I knew about Caimito through my mom :)

  25. My favorite Kaimito has a lot of medicinal use pala. I haven't seen curly dock before saan siya common makita?

  26. Indeed our country is blessed with many natural medicines but we Filipinos sometimes don't realize what we have. Wow part 4 na! hehhe, hindi pa ako nakakakita ng curly dock. Saan ba makakakita nun? :))

  27. wow. this is very helpful. i've learned a lot. we really are blessed, we just have to learn to appreciate what we have.