Thursday, May 6, 2021
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HomeHEALTH AND WELLNESSHerbal tambal: the cultural roots of healing with food and plants

Herbal tambal: the cultural roots of healing with food and plants

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Remember the time when you scratched your knee and all it took to make it well is a kiss, some merthiolate, hydrogen peroxide, and some crushed lampunaya leaves?

Or remember when one in your family had dengue, and you all went looking for the lowly weed that has magical properties (or specifically, it can increase your blood platelet count.

What about the time when you boiled guyabano leaves and drank the extract because it could supposedly lower blood pressure?

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Who has not drank ginger ale (taho) when they have a sore throat?

Philippine culture is steeped in herbal culture and practices.

This is not surprising given that the land is rich in plant biodiversity.

This implies that our ancestors probably experimented with various herbs, and plants when sickness set in, or when they felt unwell.

How else can we explain for instance the practice of using ginger in almost anything — to treat an infection, a sore throat, a fever.

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Or malunggay leaves for open wounds? Or chewed guava leaves for those freshly circumsized?  What do we have the compulsion to put extra garlic on cooking when we feel ill?

This is an herbal tradition that until now is being practiced.

And that could be the reason why herbal food supplements like the one locally-produced such as Mighty Cee, an ascorbic acid supplement produced by Clinica De Alternativo Medicina, a homegrown firm owned by a Filipino based here, or DTX500 which contains – you guessed it – organically-grown amapalaya leaves with desugared sugarcane.

After all, herbal food supplements are really herbs, and medicinal plants in a more convenient and concentrated form, making it easier to take.

Herbal supplements therefore are generally safer since ingredients are already easily available.

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Culturally, Filipinos prefer natural remedies thanks, making use of ingredients they can conveniently find in their backyard or growing wild.

This implies that herbal supplements would be here for a long time.

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Hannah A. Papasin
Hannah A. Papasinhttp://facebook.com/hannah.mariveles
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

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