Category Archives: List of Medicinal Plants in the Philippines

Sampaloc ( Tamarind ) – Scientific name: Tamarindus Indica L.

English: Tamarind
Tagalog: Sampalok

Sampaloc is a fruit tree found throughout the Philippines. Sampaloc fruit is used as a laxative, for bilious vomiting, and against cholera. It is also a refrigerant, and used to reduce fevers. The bark is astringent and tonic, and used for asthma and amenorrhoea. The leaves are used to destroy worms in children, and are useful for jaundice.

Medicinal uses of sampaloc:

  • In the Philippines, the bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds are used medicinally in the way it is used in other countries.
  • Fever: Macerate pulp or ripe fruit in water, sweeten to taste, and drink.
  • Laxative: Pulp ia considered a mild laxative because of the presence of potassium bitartrate. Eat pulp of ripe fruit liberally and follow with plenty of water.
  • Asthma: Bark; chop and boil a foot-long piece of bark in 3 glasses of water for 10 minutes. Adults, 1 cup after every meal and at bedtime; children, 1/2 cup 4 times daily; babies, 2 tbsps 4 times daily.
  • Decoction of ash: For colic, indigestion; as gargle for sore throats, aphthous sores.
  • Poultice or lotion from bark applied to ulcers, boils, and rashes.
  • Poultice of leaves to inflammatory swellings of ankles and joints.
  • Ash is considered astringent and tonic; used internally as a digestive. Ash preparation: Fry the bark with common salt in an earthen pot until it turns to powdered white ash; a heaping teaspoon of the ash to half-cup of boiling water; cool and drink for colic and indigestion.
  • Decoction of leaves as postpartum tea; also used as a wash for indolent ulcers.
  • Decoction of leaves used as an aromatic bath for fevers, puerperism, and convalescence.
  • Pulp surrounding the seeds is considered cooling and a gentlelaxative.
  • Gargle of tamarind water used for healing aphthous ulcers and sore throat.
  • Flowers for conjunctival inflammation. Internally, as decoction or infusion, for bleeding piles (4 glasses of tea daily).
  • Tamarind pulp considered preventive and curative for scurvy.

Sambong – Scientific name: Blumea balsamifera

English: Elumea, Ngaicamphor
Tagalog: Sambong

Sambong is found throughout the Philippines, and grows wild on Mt. Banahaw. Doctors in the Philippines prescribe Sambong for the dissolution of kidney stones. The leaves of Sambong are used as a tea in the Philippines, and as a cure for colds. It is also said to have antidiarrhetic and antigastralgic properties. It is also used as an expectorant. It is given for worms and dysentery. It is one of the most common used medicinal herbs in the Philippines. Leaves used also as flavoring ingredient.

Medicinal uses:

  • Decoction of roots and leaves for fevers, kidney stones, and cystitis.
  • Decoction of leaves used to induced diuresis for purpose of treating kidney stones.
  • Used in upper and lower respiratory tract affections like sinusitis, asthmatic bronchitis, influenza.
  • Applied while hot over the sinuses. Used for wounds and cuts.
  • Leaves as poultice for abscesses.
  • Fresh juice of leaves to wounds and cuts.
  • Poultice of leaves applied to the forehead for relief of headaches.
  • In Chinese and Thai medicine, leaves used for treatment of septic wounds and other infections.
  • Sitz-bath of boiled leaves, 500 gms to a gallong of water, for rheumatic pains of waist and back.
  • Tea is used for colds and as an expectorant; likewise, has antispasmodic and antidiarrheal benefits.
  • Postpartum baths.
  • In Vietnam, decoction of fresh leaves used for cough and influenza or as inhalation of vapour from boiling of leaves.
  • In Thailand, dried leaves are chopped, made into cigarettes and smoked for treating sinusitis.
  • For fever, leaves boiled and when lukewarm used as sponge bath.
  • Decoction of roots used for fever.
  • Roots used for menorrhage.
  • In SE Asia widely used for various women problems. Postpartum, leaves are used in hot fomentation over the uterus to induce rapid involution. Also used for menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, functional uterine bleeding and leucorrhea.
  • Decoction of roots and leaves used for rheumatism and arthritis; also used for treatment of post-partum joint pains.
  • Decoction of leaves, 50 gms to a pint of boiling water, 4 glasses daily, for stomach pains.
  • Poultice of fresh leaves applied to affected joint.
  • A sitz-bath of boiled leaves used in the treatment of lumbago and sciatica.

Sabila – Scientific name: ALoe barbadensis Mill

English: Aloe vera
Tagalog: Sabila

Aloe, genus of succulent plants with more than 150 species, most native to southern Africa. They usually have short stems, fleshy, tapering leaves crowded in rosettes at the end of the stem, and red or yellow tubular flowers in dense clusters. Species vary in height from several centimetres to more than 9 m (30 ft); they are widely cultivated as garden and tub plants in warmer regions. Several species are commercially important as the source of the bitter-tasting aloes used in medicine.

Scientific classification: Aloes belong to the family Liliaceae.

Medicinal use:

  • Juice of fleshy leaves is usually mixed with gogo by Filipino women and used to prevent falling of fair or as a cure for baldness.
  • Use for dandruff.
  • Juice from leaves mixed with wine used to preserve the hair
  • Burns and scalds: Use ointment made by mixing equal amounts of powdered aloe and coconut oil.
  • Juice from leaves mixed with milk used for dysentery and pains of the kidney.
  • Fresh juice expressed from the leaves is spread on skin burns, scalds, scrapes, sunburn and wounds.
  • In small doses, considered stomachic tonic; in large doses, as purgative.
  • Used for wound healing.
  • For conjunctivitis, leaf juice is applied to the outer eyelid.
  • In the Philippines, leaves used to poultice edema associated with beriberi.
  • In small doses, used as a tonic; in larger doses, as aperient; and in still larger doses, drastically so; it is also used as emmenagogue and cholagogue.
  • Used for sprains, sore throat.
  • In Costa Rica, the mucilaginous pulp of leaves is used as purgative.
  • For contusions or local edema, bruised fresh leaves are applied as poultice over affected areas.
  • In the Arabian peninsula, used for diabetes.
  • Juice mixed with coconut milk used for dysentery and kidney pains.
  • For bruises, equal parts of juice and alcohol are applied to affected areas.
  • For hemorrhoids, cuticle from leaves used as suppository for hemorrhoids.
  • In India and the Antilles the alcoholic tincture of inspissated juice is used for bruises, contusions and ecchymoses.
  • For alopecia and falling hair, remove the spines, cut leaves and rub directly on the scalp. The juice of fresh leave may be mixed with gugo and used as a shampoo.
  • Used in combination with licorice roots to treat eczema and psoriasis.
  • For burns and scalds, an ointment is prepared by mixing 2 drams of powdered aloe with 2 drams.
  • Also used for herpes simplex sores, tendinitis, dandruff, menstrual cramps, acne, stomatitis, varicose veins, warts, hemorrhoids.

Romero – Scientific name: Ros marinus officinalis L.

English: Rosemary
Tagalog: Romero

Romero is cultivated in some places in the Philippines. It is used as condiment in flavoring and also for preserving meat. Romero is reported to fight bacteria, relax the stomach, stimulate circulation and digestion, act as an astringent and decongestant, and improve circulation to the brain. It is reported to help prevent liver toxicity, and have anticancer and anti-tumor properties.

Medicinal uses:

  • Vapor baths, using 30 to 40 gms of leaves in boiling water for rheumatism, catarrh.
  • Juice of leaves applied to areas of thinning hair and dandruff; also, as rosemary vinegar.
  • Rosemary tea also used as conditioning hair rinse,
  • Infusion of leaves as tea for dyspepsia, flatulence.
  • Decoction of leaves as mouthwash for gums disease, halitosis, sore throat.
  • Cough: Inhale steam of strong decoction of herb.
  • Diuretic: Take decoction of herb as needed.
  • Gas pains: Take decoction of herb as needed.
  • Rheumatism: Make decoction of herb and soak affected area.
  • Conjunctivitis: Infusion of leaves used as an eyewash, 4 to 5 times daily.
  • Infusion with oil for massages.
  • Daily use of rosemary tea believed to prevent cataracts.
  • For Hair wash: Steep 25 g of rosemary in 2 pints of cider vinegar for two weeks, shaking occasionally; strain. In hair washing, put 1-2 tsp in the final rinse.
  • As hair restorer, romero is macerated in alcohol and rubbed on twice daily. The hair lotion is suppose to stimulate the hair bulbs to renewed activity and prevents baldness.
  • For dandruff, massage rosemary vinegar thoroughly into scalp, 20 mins before washing.
  • Postpartum bath: Boil a head of petals in a quart of water). (Related article: Suob)
  • For aromatic bath, use decoction of herb
  • Used as antispasmodic in renal colic and dysmenorrhea.
  • Decoction of leaves used as carminative and as an abortive.
  • Infusion of leaves used for gastralgia, dyspepsia, flatulence and palpitations.
  • Leaves used as febrifuge.
  • In Mexico, a 2% infusion of leaves or its essence (6 drops every 24 hours) is considered stomachic.
  • Volatile oil used as stimulant in liniments.

Repolyo (Cabbage) – Scientific name: Brassica oleracea Linn.

English: Cabbage
Tagalog: Repolyo

A biennial herb. The main axis, short and thick. Leaves are densely packed, and as it grows, close and develop into a gigantic bud of head. Leaves vary in color, from the common light yellowish green to dark green and dark red.

Chemical constituents and properties
Contains a considerable amount of sulfur.
Seeds are diuretic, laxative, stomachic and antihelminthic.
Red cabbage is emollinet and pectoral.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Juice of red cabbage used for chronic coughs, bronchitis, asthma.
  • Juice of white cabbage used to treat warts.
  • Bruised leaves of the common white cabbage used for blisters.

Excellent source of vitamin C; good source of vitamin B; fair source of vitamin A.

Patola – Scientific name: Luffa acutangula Linn.

English: Luffa
Tagalog: Patola

Loofah or Luffa, common name for a climbing plant of the cucumber family and for the vegetable sponge derived from the plant. There are six species of loofah plant, all of which are native to the Tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. The common name loofah and the scientific name Luffa are derived from the Arabic common name for this plant, lûfa. The most commonly used species, Luffa aegyptiaca, is an annual, monoecious vine (where male and female flowers appear on different parts of the plant), with deep yellow flowers. The female flowers are borne singly and the male flowers are in clusters.

The leaves are hairless, lobed, and triangular in outline. Tendrils arise from the stems near the leaves and the numerous branches are long and slender. The cylindrical or club-shaped fruit can be up to 30-40 cm (12-16 in) long and hangs down from the stems owing to its weight. The skin of the fruit is ridged and green, becoming straw-coloured at maturity. The small, brown or black seeds are wrinkled on the surface and look like watermelon seeds. They are released when the lid-like apex of the fruit breaks off. It is the dried and bleached vascular system of the mature fruit that is used as a sponge or dishcloth in many parts of the world. The young fruits of Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula are also eaten as vegetables in some countries.

Scientific classification: Loofahs belong to the genus Luffa in the family Cucurbitaceae.

Medicinal Uses:

• Decoction of leaves for amenorrhea.
• Poultice of leaves for hemorrhoids.
• Juice of fresh leaves for granular conjunctivitis in children. Also used to prevent the lids from adhering at night from excessive meibomian secretion.
• Juice of leaves also used externally for sores and various animal bites.
• Pulp of fruit used internally, like calocynth, to cause vomiting and purging.
• Powdered dried fruit made into snuff for use by those afflicted with jaundice.
• Seed oil used for dermatitis.
• In Russia, roots is used as a purge.
• In Iran and Iraq infused seeds used as purgative and emetic.
• In India, roots is used for dropsy and as laxative; leaf and fruit juice used to treat jaundice.
• In Java, leaf decoction used for uremia and amenorrhea.
• In Bangladesh, pounded leaves used for hemorrhoids, splenitis, leprosy. Juice of leaves used for conjunctivitis in children.
• In West Africa, leaf extract of ridged gourd applied to sores caused by guinea worms; leaf sap used as eyewash in conjunctivitis; fruits and seeds used in herbal preparations for treatment of venereal diseases.
In Mauritius, seeds eaten to expel intestinal worms; leaf juice applied to eczema.
• Seed used as insecticidal.

Pinya (Pineapple) – Scientific name: Ananas comosus

English: Pineapple
Tagalog: Pinya

Erect stem, 0.5 to 1.5 meters high. Leaves are numerous, linear-lanceolate, 1 to 1.5 meters long, 5-7 cm wide, the margins sharply spiny-toothed, green and shiny on the upper surface, pale on the lower surface. Heads are terminal, solitary, ovoid, 6 to 8 mm long. Sepals are ovate, thick and fleshy, about 1 cm long. Petals are three, oblanceolate, about 2 cm long, white below, violet above. The fruit is 20 cm or longer.

Widely cultivated in the Philippines in two forms: Native and Smooth Cayenne, the latter introduced from Hawaii.

Chemical constituents and properties
The native variety has a much higher carbohydrate content than the Cayenne variety. Both are fair sources of calcium and iron, good sources of vitamins A and B, and excellent sources of vitamin C.

Contains citric acid, phosphoric and sulfuric acid, lime, magnesia, iron, silica, sodium and chlorides of potassium.

Anthelmintic, vermicide, diuretic, aperient, antiscorbutic, diaphoretic, refrigerant, digestive, styptic, emmenagogue.

Antihelminthic property of fresh fruit juice attributed to its constituent, bromelin, a proteolytic ferment, that is toxic to Ascaris lumbricoides and Macracanthorynchus hirudinaceous.

Nutritional Use:
Fair source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamins A and B; excellent source of vitamin C.

Medicinal Use:
Juice of leaves: anthelmintic; used for intestinal animal parasites (decoction of fresh young leaves, 4x daily).
Ripe fruit good for acid dyspepsia and aids digestion,.
Juice of ripe fruit increases urine flow, gently laxative, cooling and digestive.

Pandakaki-puti – Scientific name: Tabernaemontana pandacaqui Poir.

Tagalog: Pandakaki-puti

Erect, branched and smooth shrub, 1-3 meters high. Leaves are short-stalked, elliptic-lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, 5-12 cms, narrowed at both ends. Inflorescence are axillary and terminal; the flowers are few. Calyx is green, ovoid, and short. Corolla is white, slender-tubed, 1.7 cm long; limb is 2 to 2.5 cm in diameter, composed of five, spreading, falcate, lanceolate lobes. Follicles are red, oblong, 2-4 cm long, and longitudinally ridged.

Common in thickets at low altitudes.

Parts utilized

Medicinal uses:

  • Eczema: Boil 3 cups of chopped leaves in one gallon of water for 10 minutes; add 2 gallons of hot water.Also, fry the fresh leaves in oil and apply to itchy skins lesions for symptomatic relief.
  • Wound healing: Leaf juice.
  • Hot Foot Baths: A local immersion bath covering the feet, ankles and legs used for a variety of conditions: To relieve head, chest and pelvic congestion; to stop nosebleeds; to relieve spasms and pains of feet and legs; to induce sweating; to relieve menstrual cramps and headaches.
  • Leaves applied as cataplasm on abdomen to hasten childbirth.
  • Erectile dysfunction: Recent use as “herbal viagra.” Boil 15-25 leaves in 3 glasses of water for 10 minutes; drink the decoction. (Note: Like many of the herbal medicines touted as “herbal viagra,” kampupot use is rural folkloric with no known scientific or pharmacologic basis for its claim.)
  • Decoction of root and bark used for a varitety of stomach and intestinal ailments.
  • The white sap of the stem is applied to thorn injuries and to hasten the surfacing of the thorn fragment.

Pansit-pansitan – Scientific name: Peperomia pellucida Linn.

Tagalog: Pansit-pansitan, Ulasimang bato, Ulasiman bato

An annual herb, shallow rooted, may reach 40 cm high, with succulent stems. Leaves are alternate, heart-shaped and turgid, as transparent and smooth as candle wax. Tiny dotlike flowers scattered along solitary and leaf-opposed stalk (spike); naked; maturing gradually from the base to the tip; turning brown when ripe. Propagation by seeds. Numerous tiny seeds drop off when mature and grow easily in clumps and groups in damp areas.

An annual herb, favoring shady, damp and loose soil.
Often grows in groups in nooks in the garden and yard.
Conspicious in rocky parts of canals.

Parts utilized
Leaves and stems.

Nutritional value:
Leaves and stems may be eaten as vegetable.
In salads, the fresh plant has the crispness of carrot sticks and celery.

Medicinal Uses:
Infusion and decoction of leaves and stems are used for gout and arthritis.
Externally, as a facial rinse for complexion problems.
Pounded whole plant used as warm poultice for boils, pustules and pimples.

New uses
Belongs to the “preferred list” of Philippine medicinal plants, being studied for its use in the treatment of arthritis and gout.
For arthritis: Leaves and stems of the fresh plant may be eaten as salad. Or, as an infusion, put a 20-cm plant in 2 glasses of boiling water; and 1/2 cup of this infusion is taken morning and evening.

Pandan – Scientific name: Pandanus odoratissimus L.

English: Fragrant screwpine
Tagalog: Pandan

Erect, branched small tree, growing 3-5 meters, the trunk bearing many prop roots. Leaves are spirally crowded toward the ends of the branches, linear lanceolate, slenderly long-acuminate, up to 1.5 meters long, 3-5 cm wide, the margrins and midrib armed with sharp spiny teeth pointing toward the apex of the leaf. The male inflorescence is fragrant, pendulous, up to 0.5 meter long. Fruit is solitary, pendulous, ellipsoid to globose-ellipsoid, about 20 cm long, composed of 50-75 obovoid, angular, fibrous and fleshy drupes, 4-6 cm long, narrow below and truncate at the apex.

In thickets along seashores throughout the Philippines.

Parts utilized
Leaves and roots.

Constituents and characteristics
Essential oil, alkaloids, glycosides and tannin.
The prop roots possess diuretic properties.

Medicinal uses
Diuretic: Take decoction of fresh or dried prop root as tea.
Headache, arthritis, stomach spasms: Decoction of leaves. Poultice of fresh leaves mixed with oil also used for headaches.
Culinary: An aromatic leaf used to perfume rice dishes.
Wound healing: Pulverized dried leaves used to facilitate wound healing.
Poultice of mash of cabbage of plant, mixed with salt and juice of Citrus microcarpa, for abscesses.

Decoction of roots believed to have aphrodisiac and cardiotonic properties.
Also used for arthritis and to prevent spontaneous abortion.
Chewing the roots strengthens the gums.
Decoction of roots combined with sap of banana plant for urethral injections for variety of urinary complaints.