10 DOH Approved Herbal Medicine in the Philippines

Herbal medicine has been a part of the our medical culture even with the advent of modern medical practice and technology. Traditional medical practice (e.g. use of herbal plants and unconventional medical practices) is deeply rooted in our culture and history. While there are risks in using herbal medicines, as there is no standardized procedure of preparation for most of the known herbal medicines utilised by a lot of Filipinos, the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) recognises the need to verify and endorse herbal medicine (with proper guide for preparation).

Here are the 10 DOH-approved and endorsed herbal medicines:

Akapulko (Cassia alata) 

Akapulko is commonly referred to as “ringworm bush” and “acapulco” in English. It is an herbal medicine that grows wild in the tropical climate of the Philippines. Its leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections. Its leaves are also sudorific, diuretic, and purgative and can therefore be used for deworming and other intestinal problems. It can also be used to treat bronchitis and asthma. Acapulco is commonly used as ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and lotions in the Philippines. 

Read: 11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger

Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) 

It is also called “bitter melon” or “bitter gourd” in English. It is a popular remedy to diabetes in the Philippines. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development confirms the capacity of ampalaya to reduce blood glucose levels. This plant has numerous phytochemicals that imitate the qualities of sulfonylurea drugs. It also contains compounds similar to insulin. Eating this vegetable frequently or drinking raw juice of this vegetable is said to lessen sugar levels.

The Philippine Department of Health has endorsed Ampalaya Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) as an alternative herbal medicine for liver problems. Research proves that ampalaya increase the production of beta cells by the pancreas, thereby improving our body’s ability to produce insulin and insulin receptors. Ampalaya is also a rich source of vitamin B, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and beta carotene. Other ailments it can cure include HIV, coughs, skin diseases, sterility in women, parasiticide, antipyretic, and as purgative. 

Read: 7 Common Causes of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Bawang (Allium sativum) 

Bawang or garlic, is a specie in the onion family Alliaceae. Bawang is a close relative of onion (sibuyas).Bawang has been used as herbal medicine (to prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, cancer, and high cholesterol) in many cultures for thousands of years, dating at least as far back as the time that the Egyptian pyramids were built. 

Garlic is a natural antibiotic (due to its antibacterial compound Allicin). Its juice can inhibit the growth of fungi, and viruses effectively preventing viral, and yeast infections. It is also believed to help cure AIDS (based on preliminary studies).

Read: 17 Good Health Benefits of Garlic on your Body

Bayabas (Psidium guajava)

Locally known as “bayabas” in the Philippines, this fruit-bearing shrub grows in tropical regions like Mexico, Peru, and the Philippines. It is widely used as herbal medicine and is recognised by the Philippine Department of Health for its antiseptic property. It is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. Its leaves and fruits contain eugenol, tannin, saponins, amygdalin, phenolic acids, malic acid, ash, aldehydes, catequinic compounds and flavonoids. 

Guava is known for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antioxidant hepatoprotective, anti-allergy, antimicrobial, anti-plasmodial, anti-cough, antidiabetic, and antigenotoxic properties. 

Read: Health Benefits of Eating Vegetables

Lagundi (Vitex negundo) 

Lagundi (a.k.a. “The Five-Leaved Chaste Tree) is a large native shrub that grows in the Philippines and has been traditionally used as herbal medicine. Filipino scientists, including the Philippine Department of Health, have verified the efficacy of Lagundi as a cure to respiratory problems. The University of the Philippines Manila, the health sciences center of excellence of the country, has development a commercial version of the Lagundi (capsule, and syrup).

Lagundi is generally used for the treatment of coughs, asthma symptoms, and other respiratory problems. 

Niyog-niyogan (Quisqualis indica L.)

Niyog-niyogan is a large climbing, woody shrub that is native in Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, India, Myanmar and Malaysia. According to Philippine Department of Health, niyog-niyogan can be used to expel intestinal worms and parasites, treat inflamed kidneys, remedy boils and skin ulcers, headaches, diarrhea, fever, dysuria (painful urination), and works as an anti-cancer.

Read: 5 Natural Remedies to Control Diabetes Better

Sambong (Blumea balsamifera)

Also known as”Ngai camphor or Blumea camphor”, sambong is used as herbal medicine and is a shrub that grows wild in the tropical climate countries such as Philippines, India, Africa and found even in eastern Himalayas. Sambong is used widely in the Philippines to treat kidney stones, wounds, cuts, rheumatism, spasms, colds, coughs, and hypertension. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has develop the technology for a sambong herbal medicine tablet.

Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam.)

In English, it is called “wild tea”. It is used in the Philippines as an herbal medicine to treat skin allergies like eczema, scabies, and itchiness. 


Pansit-pansitan is called :silver bush” in English. Pansit-pansitan is used as an herbal medicine for the treatment of eye inflammation, sore throat, diarrhea, prostate problems, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, skin boils, wounds, burns, skin inflammation, abscesses, pimples, headache, fever, abdominal pains, renal problems, and mental excitement disorder.  The entire plant is edible both cooked or raw.

Read: 15+ Most Searched Filipino Recipes

Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii) 

Yerba Buena (Philippine name) is commonly known as Peppermint or marsh mint in English. It is used in Philippine herbal medicine as analgesic to relieve body aches and pain due to rheumatism and gout. It is also used to treat coughs, colds and insect bites. It can reduce menstrual and gas pain, cure swollen gums and toothache, and relieve nausea, and fainting. 
For more information please visit this resource site: http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/philippineherbalmedicine.htm

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