Indigenous herbs eyed for ailments

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Traditional medicine practiced among indigenous peoples (IP) may have the potential in dealing with modern-day ailments.

It is for that reason that the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) supported a study by a group of researchers from the Mindanao State University led by Maria Luisa Cabrera that focused on ethno-pharmacological plants used by indigenous people communities in the SOCSARGEN region.

The study revealed six ethno-medicinal plants utilized by the IP groups that exhibit potential sources of novel antibiotic and anti-aging drug constituents, thus presenting potential applications in dealing with modern-day ailments.

According to Cabrera, traditional medicine is still being practiced especially among IP communities because of their belief that there is spirituality in the efficacy of floral resources as medicine.


“Aside from that, it is because of easier accessibility to and availability of resources, high cost of medicines, and limited access to health care,” she added.

The study aimed at documenting the ethno-medicinal knowledge, practices, and resource assessment in the three IP groups, Blaan’s, Tboli’s, and Obo’s in SOCSARGEN, particularly in General Santos City, South Cotabato, and Sarangani Province; and prospecting for bioactive components from the traditional medicinal plants being used by the IP groups through ethno-botanical approach.

The study revealed that six ethno-medicinal plants utilized by the IP groups exhibit potential sources of novel antibiotic and anti-aging drug constituents. These were Canarium strictum (simbolo), Cinnamomum mindanaense (kaningel), Schefflera odorata Blanco (tamlang), Mentha suaveolens (bulok-bukay), Acmella grandiflora (bulek lumenge/toothache plant) and Diplodiscus paniculatus (blobo). Most of the plants were found to have alkaloids, steroids, and flavonoids, and majority of them have active antioxidants and antibacterial properties.

James Konstantin Galvez

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