Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lagundi - Herbal Medicine from the Philippines

Lagundi is a medicinal plant, actually a shrub that grows in the Philippines. Its scientific name is Vitex Negundo and comes from the family of Verbenaceae.

This medicinal plant normally grows wild in many places or along watercourses and other humid spaces and mixed open forest like Mt. Banahaw in the Philippines.
You can usually see it as a small tree about 8 meters tall with a pale reddish brown bark. Lagundi's distinctive features are the pointed leaves with five leaflets set like a hand.

The parts of this plant that is widely used are the leaves and the flowering tops. The roots along with the leaves of lagundi are used for pain, expectorant and also a diuretic. Also, the root is used in a great variety of diseases: dyspepsia, colic, rheumatism, worms, boils, and leprosy. In Indo-China a decoction of the root is prescribed for intermittent fevers (30 grams of roots in 1 liter of water). The saps from the crushed leaves are used for colds and sore throat. Leaf decoction of lagundi are used for wounds, ulcers, treat gastric colic, flatulence and it can also help those lactating mothers to produce more milk for their babies. The seeds are boiled and eaten to prevent the spread of toxins from the poisonous bites of animals. The flowers are used for diarrhea, cholera and liver disorders.

In the Philippines, it is now promoted and endorsed by the Philippine Department of Health as an effective herbal medicine with proven therapeutic value. It has been clinically tested and studied to be effective for colds, flu, asthma and chronic bronchitis. It is now available on capsule and syrup form because before, you have to boil it and take it orally. But I guess the natural decoction of this herbal medicine is better than its new form.

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