Herbs as medicines

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


HERBS abound anywhere and we are among the blessed provinces with many species of herbal crops.

In my experience as agriculturist, I can say I am blessed also to have joined the members of the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND) who had undergone a seminar on herbal medicine production and processing in Pasay City several years.

It was no less than the former Health undersecretary, Dr. Jaime Tan, who was one of the trainers. He has his own laboratory and pharmacy of alternative medicine.

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Among the plants that the trainers have lectured to us, which were mostly herbs, are now in the limelight of alternative medicine. Herbs that are commonly part of the edible landscape of different organic gardens around.

Dr. Tan gave us an inspiration before we left the seminar to spread the information that his own pharmacy would like to transact business with the farmers who can grow these herbs according to their standard.

It still rings in my ears up to this time. He said, “The place that you must use for planting your herbal medicine must be at least seven kilometers away from the main road network.” Why? Of course, so that you can avoid the pollution from the exhaust coming from the vehicles, and other impurities in the environment.

Otherwise, if it is not possible, you must at least be three kilometers away with the buffer zone around to act as your curtain against the pollution. Meaning you must plant some kind of crops like madre de cacao; banana or ipil-ipil, and many more.

They must be grown in the natural farming system way, if not organic way. Conventional farming is a no-no for the herbal crops production.

What are the seven crops that are prioritized for production with the medicinal value that can be grown by the interested parties? These are turmeric (kalawag), ginger (lu y-a), alibhon, native ampalaya, native guava, lagundi, and malunggay.

These suggestions are very well proven to be of great value by the herbal processors nowadays. You can see the byproducts of all these in most herbalists’ niche market.

I had said in my previous column that the DA-RAFID 6 has published a booklet of herbal crops and all these Top 7 crops are among them. This booklet was a result of seasonal research on the proper use of herbs as indicated in the procedure of each crop.

I would like to commend the Sisters of the Rural Mission in Camingawan, Bacolod City for their great help to the Visayas Experiment Station of the DA-Region 6 for coming up with this booklet.

For someone who believes that we are created to be God’s stewards of His creation, I adhere to the using of these herbal crops—not just the Top 7 plants I mentioned— but many more with their medicinal, nutritional and aesthetic value as well.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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