‘Healing plants’ in PH offer alternative to prohibitive COVID meds

MANILA, Philippines, November 28 ------ In Quiapo, where thousands of Filipinos flock, especially on Fridays, 60-year-old Josie Dela Cruz sits beside a cart filled with plants which she said can heal illnesses. She told INQUIRER.net that since the year 2000, she’s been one of the dealers who sell plants which the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Medicine considered as “medicinal”.

This November, the Philippines celebrates the existence of these plants through the Traditional and Alternative Health Care Month which promotes effective and inexpensive ways to prevent and heal diseases. Signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004, Proclamation No. 698 backs the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act which recognizes the value of traditional and alternative health care.

The law intended to provide inexpensive, accessible and effective traditional and alternative health care options for Filipinos to choose from by integrating these into the national health care system. Signed in 1997, the law said the Philippines has over 2,000 medicinal plants and that there’s a need to advance research and development as these could be used medically. A BioMed Central research said that 120 have been scientifically validated for safety and efficacy.

The Department of Health (DOH), in 1993, promoted 10 medicinal plants: akapulko, ampalaya, bawang, bayabas, lagundi, niyog-niyogan, sambong, tsaang gubat, ulasimang bato, and yerba buena. For over 20 years, Dela Cruz said she knew these plants could heal illnesses so when the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said plants could help ease COVID-19 symptoms, she jumped in joy.

Source: inquirer.net