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Sep 28th
Home Sections Health and Medicine How Sorsogon Can Be the Botanical (and Natural-product Medicine) Capital of the Philippines, If Not of Southeast Asia
How Sorsogon Can Be the Botanical (and Natural-product Medicine) Capital of the Philippines, If Not of Southeast Asia PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Health and Medicine
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Friday, 28 January 2011 19:53

By Bobby Mercado-Reyes


Part V of the Series on “The ReVOTElution of Hope for Sorsogon”


P art one of this series (How the ReVOTElution Will “Reinvent” Education and Life in Sorsogon) stated also the following goals of organizing: QUOTE


3.5         A “Research and Development Institute (R&DI)” that will tap the scientific minds of the Filipino people and the Overseas Filipinos and the Overseas-Filipino workers (OFWs) for certain particular tasks in developing products and technology that can sustain the viability of an "Organic Sorsogon," which may become the first province in the Philippines to do away with petroleum-based chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other non-organic substances that are harmful to humans, the flora and the fauna.


3.5.1           The R&DI will have an “Abaca International Development and Research Institute (AIDRI),” so that Sorsogon Province can be really the “abaca capital of the world.” The ReVOTElution proponents control the domain name,, which can be used by the AIDRI.


3.5.2             It will also have a “Pili-nut Research Institute (PRI),” so that Sorsogon Province can indeed be the pili-nut (Canarium ovatum) capital of the world.


3.5.3             The R&DI will also do research in aquaculture, sea-weed farming and other fields, so that Sorsogon can become the Philippine center of research in areas like botany, manufacture of generic drugs, ceramics engineering, reforestation, broadband technology, climate change, etc. UNQUOTE.


T he planned “ReVOTElution of Hope” may make Sorsogon the pilot province of what is tentatively called the “BLeSSED Program.” “BLeSSED” is the acronym for “Bicol, Leyte, Samar and Socio-Economic Development.”


As end results of making the pilot province the center of botany in the Philippines, if not in Southeast Asia, tremendous progress are forecast in the manufacture of herbal medicine and other plant-based drugs. These are also called “natural-product medicines” to help people and even wildlife.


A leading indigenous source of drug is the plant called the “Lakad-bulan” that is scientifically known as the Blumea balsamifera (Linn.) DC. or Conyza balsamifera (Linn). As per data found in, its uses (folkloric) are:
“Leaves as poultice for abscesses.
Decoction of roots and leaves for fevers and cystitis.
Seitz-bath of boiled leaves, 500 gms. to a gallon of water, for rheumatic pains of waist and back.
Applied while hot over the sinuses. Used for wounds and cuts.
Fresh juice of leaves to wounds and cuts.
Poultice of leaves to forehead for headaches.
Tea is used for colds and as an expectorant; likewise, has antispasmodic and anti-diarrheal benefits.
Postpartum baths.
Decoction of leaves, 50 gms. to a pint of boiling water, 4 glasses daily, for stomach pains.”


I never forgot “Lakad-bulan,” as my maternal grandmother, Regina Mercado y Llamas, once used it for ridding me of fever and a wound that I got while playing with my cousins at her home in Bulan, Sorsogon. (I do not know if the plant was named after my maternal kin’s town, which is the local term for “moon.”)


The “Lakad-bulan” plant is indigenous to Sorsogon, Bicolandia and Leyte-Samar Region. There are other sources for manufacturing plant-based drugs such as the banaba and guava trees (the leaves of which are proven antiseptic remedies against wounds) and perhaps tens of hundreds of potential botanical specimens and even among the undersea plants in the Pacific Ocean and/or China Sea, the waters of which lap at the beaches of Sorsogon Province, the Bicol and Samar-Leyte Regions.


For example, the planned AIDRI can do research on abaca as the ingredient of soap and organic deodorants. This author has tried an abaca soap that did not require the use of a chemical-based deodorant after taking a bath.


Botanical Lessons from Professor Loleng


It was in San Beda College where I learned from Prof. Loleng Dolores (now deceased) while I was taking up Botany I the subject of pharmacognosy. It is the branch of the pharmaceutical science that deals with the chemistry and geography of plants and other natural products that are used in the manufacture of drugs.


I never forgot the lessons on botany and pharmacognosy that I learned from Professor Dolores in the mid-1960s. After the Botany I class ended, I would continue on a conversation with Professor Dolores, as my classmates would rush out of the classroom. I learned for instance from him that ground pumpkin seeds serve as “worm ridder” for the victims of schistosomiasis (snail fever). The disease, as prevalent in the BLeSSED-program areas, is caused by blood parasites in water-borne snails. But he said that Bicol, Leyte and Samar and almost all of the Philippines do not grow pumpkin, which is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae. He said that research could be made on the squash that is being grown in the said regions. Or come up with a laboratory-engineered variety of pumpkin that can grow and thrive in the Philippines.


Professor Dolores also said that it would be easy to grow the many herbs and plants from China and other foreign countries that been used in manufacturing natural-product medicine. It would be only a question of generating the right political will and the protocol needed of doing it not only for the good of the Filipino people but also for all of mankind.


I told the politicians in Sorsogon about the botanical potentials of the province as part of a 52-page single-spaced draft of a 25-year development program I submitted to them as the intended socioeconomic platform for the 1987 local elections. But the politicians never went for long-term R&D. Readers may browse the so-called “Sorsogon Province Experience” in this August 2007 article, Reinventing the "Ramon Magsaysay Line" in Solving Philippine Political Problems.


Perhaps after a delay of more-than almost 26 years, our group's  ideas about the R&DI, the AIDRI, natural-product medicine and the cultivation of plants and herbs can take root (pun intended) in 2013 or even earlier.


Editor’s Note: To read the other articles of this series, please go to:


How the ReVOTElution Will “Reinvent” Education and Life in Sorsogon


A Sorsoganon OFW Appears to Be a Bigger Hero than Manny Pacquiao: How the ReVOTElution Will Protect OFWs and their History (Part II)


A Bigger Danger than an Eruption Lurks in Bulusan Volcano

 (Part III)


How to Make a Biblical-based Real-estate Redevelopment the Answer to Global Warming, Starting in Sorsogon (Part IV)


(To be continued . . .)



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 06:20
Comments (2)
1 Saturday, 15 March 2014 06:16
FYI. I registered &, as eventually we will compete with Herbalife & other multilevel marketing firms of herbal products, etc., which is now a multibillion-dollar market in North America. The term I coined means herbal-based panacea or cure for some particular ailments and sovereign remedy based on natural-medical formulae. This business operation will eventually result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports from Sorsogon & the other provinces where we will operate. -- Bobby M. Reyes
2 Thursday, 24 April 2014 16:42
Muffy Daknash
(As posted in the Facebook's "Kaagapay ng bawat OFW" Group:


The multinational pharmaceuticals fear this type of article going viral in the Internet. Even just oregano leaves, no. 1, if it goes viral worldwide, can cost them billions in losses within weeks. Here are simple cures for simple ailments from ancient Filipino folk medicine.

01 Oregano leaves.
This is a very powerful expectorant for colds and flu, especially if taken as fresh leaves chewed, although a little bit bitter. Wash with warm brine to kill bacteria. Have a glass of sweet tea to wash off the bitter taste. You can add water and blend into a paste, but do not cook. In blended form, one tablespoon three times a day is good.

02 Wood or Coconut Shell Coal.
This is used for instant effective relief of severe diarrhea. Wash wood coal first with plain water to remove dust. Do not use soap. Grind a chunk into fine powder, add warm water, and drink like tea. A chunk the size of a ping-pong ball can make about three half-a-cups. Two to three half cups a day is good. Coal absorbs excess bacteria-laden fluids in the intestine. The best kind of coal is from coconut shell. Take a glass of sweet tea to wash off the taste.

03 Dried squash seeds. (Albanian)
This is for swollen prostate, aside from being an aphrodisiac. Take ¼ to ½ kilo a week, even more. Some may react to too much salt in the seed’s skin. You don’t have to ingest the salt if you know how to bite off the skin. However, wash your mouth after. Also, it has some uric acid.

04 Neem tree leaves.
This is used for skin diseases, especially psoriasis or skin fungi infections. Wash the leaves with warm brine, add water and use a blender. Boil like tea for 30 minutes. Retain only the water, using a sieve. If your psoriasis begins to itch violently, you are getting healed. You can refrigerate and reheat portions to avoid spoiling. Neem leaves are also taken orally, dried and ground into capsule form. But be careful as dosage has not been accurately determined. Also, in capsule form, it may develop fungi within a month or so. Very effective ‘cure-all’, anti-cancer, anti-arthritris, anti-toxin, etc.

05 Gall of chicken.
This is used as a very effective antidote against malaria, better than chemical medicine. It is used by Medical Mission Sisters in remote areas of Mindanao-Sulu where there is no western medicine. The best are the powerful snake or iguana gall, but chicken will do. This is very bitter, so wash it immediately with a sweet drink. Some swallow the open gall bladder itself to avoid tasting the bitterness. It is hard to take but if you have the deadly cerebral type of malaria and you are in a remote area, you have no choice. Chicken gall has saved thousands of lives in malaria endemic areas in the south.

06 Bittermelon leaves.
(Ampalaya in Pilipino). This is very effective in bringing down high fever instantly. Place the leaves on arms, legs, armpits, chest, back, then wrap with linen and or towel, or use a tight long sleeve t-shirt and long pants. The leaves absorbs body heat rapidly. Within half an hour, when the leaves are ‘cooked’, there is no more fever.

07 Fresh coconut juice.
This washes and cleans the kidney. It can melt uric stones if taken massively. Take it at will the whole day. It is a diuretic, so complement with water. Take bananas to regain lost potassium. It is also used as a substitute to intra-venus dextrose in emergency situations. It is also used as a substitute to motor oil in emergency situations (viscosity and temperature tolerance is less), but only if your car is calibrated properly.

08 Virgin coconut oil (VCO).
This is known to be a ‘cure-all’, good for all types of blood and organ ailments. Anti-toxin, anti-cancer, cures arthritis, neutralizes excess uric acid in the blood without damaging the kidneys. Three tablespoons a day before meals. You will feel the effects within two weeks. VCO is processed without heat or any added substances.

09 Kamote tops, or leaves.
Rich in Iron, this cheap leafy vegetable strengthens the blood against dengue. Boil and drink the soup and eat the leaves. It is food for peasants and the poor, being grown abundantly in backyards.

10 Sunflower or eucalyptus leaves.
These are powerful insect repellants. Fresh leaves are placed in closets to ward off cockroaches. Eucalyptus leaves are made by the Chinese into Catol, a slow burning incense that repels mosquitoes. The Ifugao tribes of the Cordillera use fresh sunflower leaves as anti-insect ‘floor wax’.

Raquel Reodica, RVM

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