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Philippine Medicinal Plants

This list provides common medicinal plants in the Philippines. There are many other Philippine medicinal plants, herbs and trees found in the country but are actually rarely used as herbal medicine. These are the more widely used and popular medicinal plants:



Akapulko (scientific name: Cassia alata) – a shrub known to be a diuretic, sudorific and purgative. The medicinal uses of akapulko are to treat fungal infection of the skin and for the treatment of ringworms. English name: ringworm bush.

Ampalaya (scientific name: Momordica charantia) – a vegetable used to treat diabetes (diabetes mellitus) it is now commercially produced in tablet form and tea bags. English name: bitter melon and bitter gourd.

Atis (scientific name: Anona squamosa L.) – a small tree used as a medicinal herb. The leaves, fruit and seeds are used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and fainting. English name: Sugar apple and Sweet sop.

Banaba (scientific name: Lagerstroemia speciosa) – a tree found throughout the Philippines. The leaves, roots, fruit and flowers all have medicinal uses. It is used in the treatment of diabetes and other ailments. It is a purgative and a diuretic.

Bawang (scientific name: Allium sativum) – a specie of the onion family. English name: Garlic. It is used to reduce cholesterol in the blood and thus helps lower blood pressure.

Bayabas (scientific name: Psidium guajava) – more popularly known as guava, bayabas is a small tree whose boiled leaves are used as an disinfectant to treat wounds. The decoction is also used as a mouth wash to treat gum infection and tooth decay. The bark is also used in children with chronic diarrhea.

Gumamela (scientific name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn) – called China rose or Hibiscus in the West, it is a common ornamental plant in the Philippines. As a medicinal herb, it is used as an expectorant for coughs, cold, sore throat, fever and bronchitis.

Lagundi (scientific name: Vitex negundo) – one of the better known of the medicinal plants in the Philippines, lagundi (five-leaved chaste tree) is a shrub with many medicinal uses. It is used for the relief and treatment of coughs, asthma, dyspepsia, worms, colic, rheumatism and boils. The root is known to be an expectorant, tonic and febrifuge.

Luya (scientific name: Zingiber officinale) or Ginger. It is botanically not a root but a rhizome of the monocotyledonous perennial plant. It has many uses as a medicinal herb with antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral, diuretic and antiseptic properties.

Niyog-niyogan (scientific name: Quisqualis indica L.) – is a vine that is an effective in the elimination of intestinal worms, particularly the Trichina and Ascaris by ingesting its matured dried seeds. Chew (5 to 7 dried seeds for children or 8 to 10 seeds for adults) two hours after eating. Repeat treatment after a week if necessary. Roasted leaves are also used for fever and diarrhea while pounded leaves are used for skin diseases. English name: Chinese honey suckle.

Oregano (scientific name: Origanum vulgare) – a perennial herb with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Commonly used for cooking in the West, it is used as a medicinal plant in the Philippines. A decoction of oregano leaves is taken internally for the prevention of degenerative arthritis, relief of cough, osteoarthritis, asthma and upset stomach.

Pansit-Pansitan (scientific name: Peperomia pellucida Linn.) – an herb used to treat arthritis, gout, skin disorders, abdominal pains and kidney problems. It is applied to the skin as poultice or as a decoction when taken internally.

Sabila (Aloe barbadensis miller liquid) – one of the most common medicinal plants in the Philippines that can be found in many Filipino homes. It is a succulent plant used to treat burns, cuts, eczema and other disorders. Aloe vera has antiviral, antifungal, antibiotic, antioxidant and antiparasitic properties.

Sambong (scientific name: Blumea balsamifera) – a Philippine medicinal plant used to treat kidney disorders, colds, fever, rheumatism, hypertension and other ailments. As a diuretic, it helps in the excretion of urinary stones. A decoction of leaves is taken internally for treatment. It can also be used as an edema. English name: Blumea Camphora.

Tsaang Gubat (scientific name: Ehretia microphylla Lam.) – a shrub prepared like tea, it is now commercially available in tablets, capsules and tea bags. This medicinal herb is effective in treating diarrhea, dysentery, gastroenteritis and other stomach ailments. It has high fluoride concentration making it a good mouth wash for the prevention of tooth decay. English name: Wild Tea.

Ulasimang Bato (scientific name: Peperomia pellucida) – an annual herb also known as “pansit-pansitan”. It is a medicinal herb that is effective in treating gout, arthritis and prevents uric acid build up. A decoction of the plant is taken internally or the leaves and stem can be eaten fresh as salad. To make a decoction, boil a cup of washed chopped leaves in 2 cups of water, simmer for about 15 minutes, strain, let cool. Drink a cup 2 times a day after meals.

Yerba Buena (scientific name: Clinopodium douglasii) – a vine of the mint family, popularly known as Peppermint. Its analgesic properties make it an ideal pain reliever to alleviate the body’s aches and pains. A decoction of clean leaves is taken internally or externally as a poultice by pounding the leaves mixed with a little water then applied directly on the afflicted area.

Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) – Although not a medicinal plant, VCO is a product of the coconut tree. VCO is one of the more popular alternative medicine widely used in the Philippines today. It is taken internally for various aliments like diabetes to high blood pressure. Topically, VCO is also applied to the skin and scalp to nourish and heal.


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