Thursday, July 02, 2009

Philippines and Its Herbal Medicine

Long before the introduction of modern medicines and western curative methods, herbal medicines had been widely used in the Philippines. The curative effects of the herbs were tested by the traditional healers on their patients on a trial-and-error basis. The knowledge and skills on the curative application of any given herbal medicine has been handed down fro generation to generation.

Apart from prescribing herbal medicines, the traditional healers were known to give psychological comfort and moral support to their patients. In the old days, they were respected and enjoyed high status. Through generations of selective process, the herbs that were known to be effective were kept alive. The ineffective ones were soon forgotten.

In the days when drugs from the West just started to be used in the Philippines, they were not only too expensive but also too scarce. The rural folks and the poor continued to rely on herbal medicines available in abundance locally. Western medical care has reached a very limited number of people, mostly in urban areas. As modern drugs were increasingly available, at much cheaper prices, the popularity of herbal medicines waned considerably and faces extinction. Traditional healers and the use of herbal medicines have begun to vanish along with the knowledge about curative applications. Herbal medicines have become legacy of the past and the number of users is fast dwindling.

Hospitals that have sprouted up in the provinces and later in the districts have in no small part contributed to dying art of traditional healing. Doctors trained in western medicine have arrived to introduce new concepts almost every corner of the country. Of course, modern medicine is a wonder compared to the use of herbs. After all, there is still no herbal medicine comparable to antibiotics, vaccines, anti-inflammation, and symptomatic drug.

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