More on Herbal Remedies and Philippine Vegetables…that I personally tried

More on Herbal Remedies and Philippine Vegetables

…that I personally tried

By Apolinario Villalobos

I would just like to emphasize that discipline is very necessary if one shall try herbal remedies which require consistently patient preparation. On the other, conviction resulting from “conversion” to the nutritional benefits of Philippine indigenous vegetables is necessary before one can make the edible leaves and roots part of his or her diet – for consistency’s sake. The following are enhancements to what I have already written on this subject:

MALUNGGAY (MORINGA) – this plant is a “must” in every Filipino’s yard;  for those living in the city, it can be planted in plastic containers that saw good old days as “water bottles” on dispensers; the juice of the mashed leaves can stop bleeding even of open wounds in seconds; the dried seeds can lower the level of bad cholesterol; one of the discoveries of archaeologists in Africa were several thousand year-old water jars with dry malunggay seeds at the bottom, proof that the seeds were used as anti-bacterial; it is considered as among the “miracle” plants, infused by nature with plenty of nutrients, that is why, it is being used as enhancer for instant noodles and rice porridge to make them healthy, and fed to the children in feeding programs; it is not bitter as many people believe; the leaves can be air-dried, crumpled or powdered and stored; a teaspoon in powder form can be added to a mug of coffee, while the crushed  dried leaves can be added in pasta sauce, as well as, vegetable dishes, especially, monggo, or in fried rice.

SOFT, YOUNG GUAVA LEAVES – in my earlier blog, I forgot to mention that the guava leaves tea can alleviate the diabetes; the finely chopped young leaves can be added to salads, to lessen the tangy taste and odor of onion; it is suggested that the tea be always ready on hand as an after-meal deodorizer of the mouth; the fruit, I still maintain, to be more laden with vitamin c than citrus; my day is not complete until I drink at least two mugs of this tea.

LEMON GRASS (TANGLAD) – this herb can be frozen even for one month (I have tried it), but first, each root with stem must be cleaned thoroughly and entwined or interlaced before being kept in a plastic bag, to save on space in the freezer; the tea can alleviate colds aside from purportedly weakening cancer cells; before the “guyabano craze” hit the herb market, lemon grass was already very popular in Europe; an Israeli travel agent enhances his Holy Land package tours for Europeans by offering a side trip to a “desert  garden” for unlimited cups of lemon grass tea;

PAPAYA – the green fruit is full of vitamin C and has anti-cancer properties; the leaf has similar use as “tawa-tawa” grass, as the tea from the boiled leaf can increase the red blood cell count of the dengue victim; the ripe fruit can give one comfort in moving his or her bowel; the seeds can be dried, peeled and eaten as they are also full of nutrients; the dried seeds can also be added to guyabano and other leave to be boiled into tea.

LUPỘ – this is a wild indigenous vegetable more known among the Ilonggos, and lately, found to have anti-cancer properties, as just like the turmeric, it also blocks the passage of food to the cancer cells, thereby, starving them; it grows in rice fields and swamps; the vegetable can combine well with mongo or any fish dish, especially, milk fish or bangus.

CHILI – strengthens the immune system; its ‘hotness’, however, poses a problem to those who are suffering from hemorrhoid; if it cannot be avoided by people with the mentioned problem, suggested is drinking plenty of water to dilute the “hot substance” of the fruit, after meal; in my case, I add plenty of pounded fresh chili to the jar of salt, bottles of olive oil, canola oil, and palm oil to make them really hot; I add at least two spoons of dry chili flakes in any dish, or sprinkle them on fried rice, and instant noodles; I also add chili flakes to tomato sauce for my pasta;

PERIWINKLE (PAGATPAT) – the tea from boiled leaves can cure cancer as supported by testimonies of patients who got cured of breast cancer after religiously drinking tea from boiled leaves; it is really bitter, but if only for its medicinal value, one should endure the taste which I am doing, as the bitterness also neutralizes the sugar level in the blood; the tea cleanses the kidney; suggested intake is every other day of the week.

AMPALAYA (BITTER GOURD) – the sliced vegetable must not be mashed in salt and squeezed of its bitter juice as it becomes useless; the best way to lessen or remove the bitter taste is just to soak the sliced gourd in cold or iced water for about ten minutes – do not squeeze, just put the slices in a colander and allow them to drain; the fruit and leaves of this vegetable can prevent diabetes.

The Philippines is so blessed by Nature with plenty of plants with edible fruits, shoots, leaves and even flowers. Unfortunately, because of the “colonial mentality” that developed with the arrival of the Spanish and American colonizers, many of the Filipinos forgot about them or worse, refuse to eat them, in favor of the “western” vegetables such as cabbage potato, and many others, although, considered as nutritious, too, but comparably expensive. This mentality sort of, got worsened lately, with the influx of imported vegetables and fruits from other countries, especially, China and the United States. There is no question about the nutrients found in the imported vegetables and fruits. What I am driving at here, is that indigenous vegetables and fruit trees can be planted in our yard or any vacant lot! Can the same be done to the imported “food stuff” that may have been sprayed with insecticide to preserve them while in transit?

My Kitchen, Backyard, and Neighbors’ Yard are my Pharmacies

My Kitchen, Backyard, and Neighbors’ Yard are My Pharmacies

By Apolinario Villalobos

Today, it is back to basics for ailment remedies, a practice that the modern medical community is beginning to tolerate and respect. Preventive medicine is now being promoted instead of the reactive medications that are given to patients upon the inception of diseases. By “basics” and “prevention”, I mean herbal medications, clean and free from synthetic elements that are used to preserve extracted medicinal substances from plants.

One story I love to share among friends who are willing to listen is about the lowly “saluyot”, an indigenous vegetable in the Philippines that healed the open wounds of my former landlady, due to diabetes. She was not healed by many notoriously-priced and prescribed drugs that practically depleted her bank account. She was at the verge of despair as the latest doctor that she consulted prescribed amputation, when her former laundrywoman paid her a visit and upon seeing her sorry situation, immediately suggested “saluyot”. For several months, she forced herself to eat the said vegetable with her meals, three times a day, until the wound finally dried up and healed.

Anybody can have a pharmacy of sort in their home, particularly, in the kitchen. Shelves can be stacked with vitamins that can be eaten, and “drugs” that can flavor foods. The following are some of the few and their use that I am sharing, as I have proved them to be effective in my case:

TURMERIC – this spice can be purchased in powder form from groceries; known among Filipinos as “luyang dilaw”; a teaspoon can be diluted in mug of coffee in the morning and another at noon; the powder can enhance the taste of fish cooked in vinegar or vegetables cooked in coconut milk; it practically eliminated the cyst in my colon after five months.

STAR ANISE – I boil several of these with guyabano, mango leaves, and tanglad (lemon grass), and the concocted tea I use for my coffee with turmeric; it eliminated my sinusitis.

OLIVE OIL – a spoonful of this oil is mixed with practically everything that I cook even boiled rice, as it is good for the heart; it made my bowel movement comfortable.

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL – I take one spoonful of this oil with raw honey everyday; it reduced the level of my bad cholesterol; I add one spoon to a glass of water that I gurgle and drink the gurgled water to remove bad breath, especially in the morning.

GARLIC – I steam one whole clove or several on top of the simmering boiled rice; pungent smell is eliminated; I eat them with my meals; it normalized my blood pressure.

ONION – a very important ingredient for dishes as well as curing colds, especially, if eaten raw in salad or cooked as soup.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR OR PURE COCO VINEGAR – aside from its use as preservative of cooked foods and raw vegetables prepared as “achara”, it can also be concocted as a home-made refreshing drink, by adding two spoons to a glass of water sweetened with honey; the vinegar neutralizes acidity of the stomach. As information, during the Biblical time, vinegar which perhaps could have been derived from grapes, mixed with water, was considered as a refreshing drink; mixed with myrrh, it was used as a pain killer, reason why Jesus while suffering on the cross was made to drink such mixture…it was not part of his punishment, but to somehow to relieve some pain.

GINGER – the root can give a spicy flavor to fish dishes, and can add a piquant taste to salads and dips; as a medication, it can eliminate flatulence.

CHILI – it can make foods “hot” but can also strengthen the immune system; I eat not less than six pieces every meal.

BANANA – nobody can dispute the fact that it is a good source of potassium, and can relieve one of “loose bowel movement” or LBM.

GUAVA LEAVES – the tea made from boiling them removes bad breath aside from strengthening the gums; it has been accepted as an effective antiseptic and anti-bacterial. I prepare the tea in another kettle and drink at least 3 mugs every day, aside from the tea prepared from the boiled leaves of guyabano, mango and lemon grass.

GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES – I need not elaborate their importance; they are the manifestations of the vitamins that can be eaten; their fiber makes my bowel movement easy and comfortable.

If I want guyabano leaves, I just take a few steps to my backyard and pick a few from a drooping branch of my tree, and for the mango and guava leaves, I just ask from my neighbors for them. But the coffee, I buy from the grocery…

I invest on local fruits in season, as for the imported ones such as apples and pears I buy the blemished and old that come cheap and cook them in brown sugar and cinnamon powder into “apple sauce”.  I also buy green leafy vegetables in bulk to be half-cooked and apportioned in small containers, and keep in the freezer for scheduled use. Tomatoes that are cheap when in season, I douse with boiling water for easy peeling and stored in ref to be used when I cook pasta. The peeled tomatoes also go well with poor man’s salad that consist of onions, radish, raw pechay, shredded green papaya, chili and sprinkled with fish sauce (bagoong) or toasted dried anchovies (dilis) and vinegar. Those are my multi-vitamins served in plate and coffee mug…not in capsule or tablet, the non-soluble residues of which can get stuck and accumulated in the kidney and liver.