Tuesday, September 4, 2012

10 Herbal Remedies for the Home and Community

Dr Abe V Rotor

 1. Sesame or linga is antiallergenic; it is also highly nutritious.
There are many people who are allergic to food and most are not aware of it.  In the US alone there are some 11 million people who suffer from food allergy in one form of another. The discovery of the antiallergenic properties of sesame offers an alternative way of reducing allergic reactions on certain recipes. The anti allergenic property of sesame lies on its chemical composition, mainly glycerides and linolic acid and other derivatives such as sesamin, as gleamed from the following report of Mitchell and Thorpe.  (Useful Plants of the Philippines)   
Sesame (Sesamum orientale) the plant; burger coated with toasted sesame seeds 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  “Sesame oil consists pf glycerides of oleic and linolic acid, with small quantities of the glycerides of solid fatty acids, including stearine, palmitin and myristin.  The unsaponifiable matter (1 to 1.4 percent) consists of a phytosterol,  sesamin, and sesamol, which reacts with furfural and hydrochloric acid.”
Whole seeds of sesame (Sesamum orientale) are utilized by bakers in making various cakes and sweetmeat.  As food sesame provides the body with proteins (36 %), carbohydrates (24%), calcium (2.7%) and phosphorus (2 %). Sesame seeds yield 50 to 57 percent oil which is pale-yellow to red-brown color, called pil.  Pil has a pleasant characteristic aroma that makes it a favorite food condiment.

  2. Olasiman or Piperomia pellucida relieves arthritis.
This annual herb appears waxy and translucent for which it got its name, pellucidus. It is shallow rooted, its stem succulent and bears alternate heart-shaped turgid leaves that are transparent and smooth as candle wax. It grows 20 to 40 cm high, often in groups, and favoring damp and shady places in some nooks in the garden and around the house. It bears tiny dot-like flowers scattered along a stalk which develop into naked and dark seeds loosely attached to it. 

The whole plant is prepared either as fresh or blanched salad, complete with fresh tomato, onion and a dash of salt. The more common preparation is as decoction, with appreciable amount of the plant’s stem and leaves brought to boiling.  A glassful of this preparation taken daily proves effective to people who are suffering of arthritis.    

  3. Succulent pod of radish is a local remedy for ulcer.
It is in a public market of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) I found young pods of radish (Raphanus sativus) sold in bundles. We also relish young radish pods as salad or mixed in chopsuey. How true is it that it can cure of stomach ulcer?

Lourdes Jorge tested radish seeds for anti-ulcer properties on albino rats as her masteral thesis in medical technology at UST.  Result: Radish seed extract is effective and is comparable to commercial Cimetidine or Tagamet in the treatment of gastric ulcer.

4.   Makahiya is remedy for colds, cough, fever and flu.
Who would believe this extremely shy plant to be a potent cure? Gather some ten fresh mature leaves of makahiya (Mimosa pudica), boil for five minute in two cups of water in clay or stainless pot. Allow the decoction to cool before drinking it. Take it twice or thrice a day.

5. Bark of narra tree controls diabetes.
Now it is being commercialized – a tablet for diabetic patients prepared from the bark of narra (Pterocarpus indicus).  Actually this is an old remedy in the tropics where narra abounds. Narra belongs to Dipterocarpaceae (two winged seed), the family which constitutes the dominant trees in a tropical rainforest.  Old folks simply strip off a part of the bark, boil it and drink the decoction.  According to laboratory analysis narra is rich in tannin which is the active principle that controls diabetes. 

Closeup of narra flower and pods;
narra tree in full bloom

6.  Scrape the surface of banana leaf and apply it on a cut to prevent it from infection and to hasten its healing.
According to Dr. Florentino Hornedo, this remedy is popular in Batanes. All the natives need is a sharp edge – a knife or a bamboo stick – to scrape the waxy epidermis of a mature banana leaf, preferably botolan and saba, the varieties most resistant to island conditions.
The pulp is directly applied on the cut, and slightly pressed until bleeding stops, and blood starts to coagulate. It prevents infection, reduces pain and helps cool the wound for earlier healing. Tannins, chlorophyll, and wax combined explain the effectiveness of this remedy.    
7. Garlic is remedy for heart burn and gas pain.
This is an old remedy I learned from my auntie when I was a kid. Anyone is predisposed to suffer of colic pain and heart burn which are usually associated with tension, indigestion, and sudden change of weather. And sufferers are of all ages.  Try this folk remedy.
Roast four cloves of garlic under low heat. While still warm place them in a pair of bandage made of gauze or strip of cloth, and wrap each around the large toes with the garlic placed well below the toe nail. Allow the garlic for a couple of hours or overnight to draw out the trapped gas in the chest cavity that causes heart burn, and colic gas in the stomach and intestine. It is effective.  Try it.

8. Guava stem - first toothbrush, and substitute, too.
Here’s a folkloric practice. Chew one end of a small fresh stem of guava, and use it as toothbrush and toothpick. Guava contains a natural antibiotic that prevents infection, and it is also an anti deodorant, which explains the popularity of this old practice – and also for the fact that this small tropical tree grows everywhere. Chewing guava leaves to relieve gum inflammation is also a common old folk remedy. I witnessed a dentist in a remote village in Bolinao, Pangasinan, used guava leaves in his practice. Before extracting an impacted  tooth, the patient was asked to chew three young leaves of guava into a pulp, shaped it into a ball, and after the tooth has been  extracted, plugged it in its place, and closed his jaw. “That will stop the blood,” he explained in Ilocano as he called for the next patient. 

9. Onion and tomato spray kills harmful bacteria in food.
Spray derived from the extracts of these plants in low dilution proves to be effective against food bacteria. In certain restaurants it is a practice to spray the food with this stuff before it is served.  In others, standing food is sprayed to keep it safe. One problem though is the detection of the characteristic odor of onion, so that it is best to apply the spray on spicy food.

10. Roasted shallot onion is an effective suppository.
Old folks heat shallot onion the size of the index finger until it is limp.  They then coat the bulb with coconut oil and while still sufficiently warm insert it into the anus.  It is a home remedy to reduce extreme fever and to draw out gas that causes kabag. People who have constipation problems resort to this practice.

NOTE: It is strongly recommended to consult your family doctor when administering these remedies. There are people who may have allergic reactions, and other side effects.

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