Herbal medicine, also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine, refers to using a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. It is a well-defined branch of ancient alternative medicinal system that involves the use of plants and plant extracts to cure diseases and alleviate symptoms. The great healing powers of many medicinal herbs and herbal supplements have been successfully used to fight against a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders, and many of these ancient natural cures are still being used, sometimes in combination with modern medicinal treatments. The ancient character of herbal medicine is also revealed in the bible which suggests the strong relation between man and nature, as well as man’s timely pre-occupation with herbalism.( www.omicsonline.org. 2014)
Anthropologists speculate that over the age, early tribal communities had acquired a good level of knowledge on herbal supplements and medicinal herbs through simple processes of trial and error. This accumulated knowledge has passed on from one generation to the other and has been gradually expanded and polished, carrying the imprint of many distinctive cultural influences. Western, based on Greek and roman medicinal wisdom, the Ayurvedic from India and the Oriental, particularly Chinese influences (Vinolina, N., 2016). At present, herbalists, botanists, pharmacologists and microbiologists from many corners of the world have joined forces in an attempt to discover lost medicinal herbs and herbal supplements, as well as new specimens of plants which could be developed for treatment of various diseases in the near future.
Medicinal plants are important part of our natural wealth. They serve as important therapeutic agents, as well as valuable raw materials, for manufacturing numerous traditional and modern medicines. The forefathers were guaranteed to use any natural substances that are available in the area to ease their pains affected by acute and chronic illnesses, physical discomforts, wounds and injuries , and even terminal illnesses. Since ancient times, plants with therapeutic properties have secured an important place in the healing practices and treatment of diseases (Cabral, 2016).
Early tribal communities had acquired a good level of knowledge on herbal supplements and medicinal herbs through simple processes of trial and error. This accumulated knowledge has passed on from one generation to the other and has been gradually expanded and polished, carrying the imprint of many distinctive cultural influences: Western, based on Greek and roman medicinal wisdom, the Ayurvedic from India and the Oriental, particularly Chinese influences. At present, herbalists, botanists, pharmacologists and microbiologists from many corners of the world have joined forces in an attempt to discover lost medicinal herbs and herbal supplements, as well as new specimens of plants which could be developed for treatment of various diseases in the near future (Khan, 2011).
Plants for their medicinal used has been utilized by primitive man mostly from intuition and observation of animals around him. These people who pioneered in the use of plants for the treatment of illnesses were later called “curanderos” or “herbolarios”. They have passed their knowledge of plant use to their fellow men and this has led to the wide use of medicinal plants, especially in the rural areas where pharmaceuticals are not readily available or are too expensive.
According the World Health Organization (WHO, 2014) more than 80% of the world’s population relies on traditional medicine for their primary healthcare needs. Use of herbal medicine in Asia represents a long history of human interactions with the environment. Plants used for traditional medicine contain a wide range of substances that can be used to treat chronic as well as infectious diseases. A vast knowledge of how to use the plants against different illnesses may be expected to have accumulated in areas where the use of plants is still of great importance
Today, herbal supplements and medicinal herbs have been extensively used for treating disease not only in non- industrialized societies of the world, but also in well-developed urban societies. Many people have realized the great efficiency of herbal supplements and medicinal herbs and have decided to use them as substitutes for synthetic drugs or as enhancements for modern medication treatments.
Herbal medicines are processed, finished and labeled medicinal products that contain active ingredients of aerial or underground parts of plants or other materials or combination there of, whether in the crude state or as plant preparation. Plant materials include: gums, fatty oils, essential oils, and other substances of this nature, However, it may contain other components in addition to the active ingredients.
Traditional medicinal plants are just one of the many different approaches in using plants as remedies. Like many complementary therapies, the use of medicinal plants aims to be holistic- it aims to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms and to encourage the body to heal itself. A herbal medicine is not about isolating the active ingredients from a plant which is the way that herbal remedies have been widely used for many years and may be useful for self-treating minor illnesses. Plants that were palatable were used for food; those with toxic or unpleasant effects were avoided or saved for use against enemies; others that produced physiological effects such as profuse sweating purged the bowels, alleviated some illnesses. There were also plants that produced hallucinations which were saved for medical purposes and divination. Over a period of thousands of years, people learned to use a variety of plants as medicines for different ailments (Sivasankari, 2013).
The Philippines has a rich tradition of herbal medicine use from traditional healers in the rural areas to the housewife who concocts remedies from her backyard’s garden. The rich tradition dates centuries and has been handed from generation to generation. Although seemingly taken over by the onslaught of modern healing techniques, the use of herbal medicine in the Philippines continues to flourish.
In the Philippines, the roots, stems, leaves , and flowers of plants are being used by the local populace to cure ailments. This has been practice from generation to generation, especially by the low-income people due to inadequate medical services and access to commercial medicines across the country. Many of these plants and even some parts of the lower forms of animals have been studied for potential substitute medicines. The results have been the foundations of improvised healthcare and in the formulation of present-day researches on herbal medicine.
Republic Act 8423, otherwise known as the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997, created the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC). It is a DOH-attached government corporation that aims to provide and deliver to people, especially the poor sector, the traditional and alternative health care (TAHC) products, services and technologies that have been proven safe, effective and affordable. Our government’s main concern is the improvement of the quality of life of every Filipino. One of the most important provisions is the statement of adequate health care steps that must be taken to put medical needs within the reach of the people.
Medicinal or herbal plants are widely popular in the urban areas. Such plants encompass time but until now their usefulness remains from generation to generation. It is mainly because of their effectiveness and accessibility, and in their natural effect on both human and animals. Even now, wherein modern technology reigns and synthetic medicine are popular, ancestral ways in medicine still take hold because there is still undisclosed usefulness of these plants that need to be exposed (Fune; Nicolas,2013). That is the reason why researches on these plants are continuously done to develop alternative medicines that could treat infectious diseases. Some of these have been found in-vitro to have antibacterial properties (Dema-ala; Nicolas, 2012). The poor people who cannot afford the high costs of modern medicine from drug stores are resorting to the use of herbs which can be found around the house yards and can be obtained without costs (http://www.Livinginthephillippiines.com/herbalmedicine.June 12, 2017).
However, the health situation in the Philippines is still being described as in the situation of stagnation, inequality, and opportunity. The Philippines is considered as lower-middle income county. Almost every health indicator has shown only a slight improvement in the past decade. The Philippines suffers high indices of all key