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close this bookIdeas for Action : Save, Recycle and Do Not Pollute (IIRR, 1992, 146 p.)
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View the documentSaving an endangered endemic bird: the case of the black shama (copysychus cebuensis)
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View the documentHerbal medicines from nature (Department of Health-Approved)
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Herbal medicines from nature (Department of Health-Approved)

The Philippine drug industry is foreign-dominated with 70 percent of the industry being controlled by transnational corporations (TNCs), 25 percent owned by Marcos cronies and the remaining: 5 percent by local industry. The compounded cost to importation of raw materials, as well as with the active advertising cost of drugs, contributes to the soaring price of drugstore medicine.

People are spending so much money on commercially-prepared medicine for pain relief, cough and cold preparations, for fever, skin treatment and other popular medications. Yet, all these have their equivalents in herbal medicine or medicinal 'plants. Herbal medicines are' much safer and cheaper alternative to drugstore medicine.

The government's Department of Health, with its proposed Traditional Medicine Service Unit, will be the one actively promoting clinically-proven herbal medicines The list and their uses include the following:


Table (continued)


5. Ulasimang bato (Peperomia pellucida) -- for anti-inflammatory:

· Eat the leaves as salad or boil 2 handful of leaves in 2 glasses of water for 15 minutes; cool, drain and divide the decoction in 3 parts and drink each part after meals.

Ulasimang bato (root)

Ulasimang bato (leaf)

Some general tips in the preparation and use of herbal medicines:

1. Use clay pot/enamel-layered pot/iron pot in preparing herbal medicine; never use aluminum pot because aluminum causes deterioration of the active components of the herbs.

2. Never apply pesticides nor commercial fertilizers in cultivating herbal/medicinal plants.

3. Take the necessary precaution in buying and using/processing medicinal plants especially in decoctions for its safety. (The possibility of contamination is highly considered.)

4. Single preparations are much better than multiple ones; other herbal medicines have shown little effects if prepared in multiple.

5. Not all known: medicinal plants are beneficial; others have doubtful or harmful effects, e.g.; makabuhay can possibly cause sterility; garlic, if taken raw, can possibly cause cancer.

6. If herbal medicine and its components are being used as food, then it is almost always safe for its medicinal value, e.g., malunggay leaves are good for skin infection and head lice; ginger is good for arthritic pain; guava leaves are good for wounds and as oral antiseptic.


Maramba, et al. Manwal sa Paggamit ng Halamang Gamot. 2nd Edition, NSTA. 1981.

Personal Communication with Dr. Romeo Quijano, Pharmacologist, UP College of Medicine, Manila.

Health Alert. Special Issue, 116-117.

Ideas for action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992