Gumamela (HIBISCUS) as an Alternative Medicine For Common Illness

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Photo by:

As much as possible we would like to use herbs as an alternative medicine for some practical reasons. When we say illness usually people would worry about medical expenses. But now, we don’t have to worry much because there are existing herbs that was proven effective. One of them is gumamela that is very accessible and can be seen even in our backyards. Have you ever imagine how this flowers growing in some of our gardens can be an option in curing our illnesses? I was also surprised when I discovered its multiple benefits.

Gumamela scientifically known as (Hibiscus rosa- sinensis Linn) is a shrub that usually grows from 1 meter up to 4 meters high and usually culminated as ornamental plant in the Philippines. Gumamela (Hibiscus) flower varies in different color: red, yellow, orange, white, purple, pink, and other color combination. The Hibiscus with 5 petals are noted to have medicinal properties. The flowers are considered as astringent, the roots contain mucilage that is calming on the mucous membranes of the digestive and respiratory tracts. It has also the following medicinal use: expectorant, diuretic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic anodyne, and refrigerant.

Parts Utilized and their uses

  • Flowers as flavanoids and proanthocyanidins which are antioxidant, antipyretic,analgesic and spasmolytic.
  • Roots as expectorant
  • Leaves as laxative
  • Seeds as stimulant
  • Bark as emmenagogue

Used as treatment of:

  • Bronchitis- as an expectorant
  • Coughs, Sore Throat
  • Fever- as refrigerant drink
  • Treats dysentery
  • Urinary Tract Infection, Bladder Infections
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Prevention of Constipation
  • headaches, boils, swelling, abscesses and mumps
  • In Venezuela, used to treat tumors
  • In Dominican Republic, used to treat hematomas
  • Myocardial Injury, Myocardian Injury
credit: google image
credit: google image

Preparations and Use of Gumamela (Hibiscus)

There are two ways to utilize gumamela as herbal medicine. The dried and fresh gumamela.

For the dried gumamela, first collect the flower, leaves and roots. Wash, then cut into small pieces and sun dry. To use as decoction, boil the parts of gumamela that was dried (1/4 cup dried gumamela in 1 glass of water).

For the fresh gumamela, wash the gumamela flower and leaves , cut into small pieces and boil (1/3 cup of gumamelain 1 glass of water).

Use as Poultice

Poultice is the use of fresh or dried herbs that is mashed, crushed or pounded and often heated (boiled in water to soften) and applied to the skin directly to reduce pain.

Preparation and Medicinal Use:

  • For mumps and urinary tract infection: use dried drug materials 15-30 grams, boil to decoction and drink.
  • Decoction of roots, barks, leaves and flowers can be used as an emollient
  • For abscesses, carbuncles and boils: crush fresh leaves and poultice the infected area. Also, pound flower buds into a paste and apply to external swellings; used for boils, cancerous swellimg and mumps.
  • Decoction of roots can also be used as expectorant for coughs and drops for sore eyes.
  • Decoction from roots of red and white-flowered plants is a Kelantan antidote for poison. Same decoction is drunk for venereal disease and fever.
  • Decoction of flowers and roots can be used as natural diuretic.
  • Bark is an emmenagogue; can also be used to normalize menstruation.
  •  Malays, use a decotion of leaves as a lotion for fevers, and roots can be used for the glands in the neck.
  • Infusion or poultice of leaves used for headaches.
  • Seeds used as a stimulant and for cramps.
  • Decoction of leaves can be used for fevers.
  • Leaves are mildly laxative.
  • Mucilage applied during labor.
  • Red flowers used for sprue.
  • Infusion of flowers and leaves used as expectorant in bronchitis.
  • Infusion of flowers, exposed all night to the dew can be used for gonorrhea.
  • Flowers fried in ghee, given for menorrhagia. the dark red petals are used as a mucilaginous infusion for painful urination, strangury, cystitis, and other irritable genitourinary conditions.
  • Hair stimulant: oil made by mixing the juice of fresh petals and olive oil in equal proportions, and boiled until the water has evaporated.
  • Seeds, pounded to a pulp and mixed with water, can be used for gonorrhea.
  • Red flowers are purgative, when taken with papaya seeds may be abortive.



Organic Betadine Good for Infectious Wound

We are living in a modern generation. A lot of new technologies came out to our world. Nowadays, a new innovation generates in our universe, a new invention which lead to us as a good example of how our intellectual capacity exists. In line of medicine which undergo to the laboratory process or in the form of organic such as a herbal medicine.

When we say Betadine, what comes to your mind? It simply answers that, this is the number one effective medicine to cure and prevent infection to the wound. Another thing, as we all know, that Betadine is in the form of laboratory process and there are a lot of chemicals to use. Betadine is also used in hospitals and homes as an important line of defense against infections. It also help to reduce bacteria that can cause skin infection. But for now, there is new invention about Betadine in the context of organic process or let just say the herbal medicine and it is the easiest way to undergo. One thing that it is new invention, it is also a new understanding about the importance of the herbal medicine. As we say, Herbal Medicine, some people are believe and used as a treatment to their illness or disease that they experience with. In these days, many people believe on the wonder of the herbal plants that could give a lot of benefits to our body and to maintain a healthy living.

From the municipality of Pototan, Iloilo there is one organization of women called Kalipi Organization that trained about doing different kinds of organic products and one of the products that they made is the Organic/Herbal betadine. The said organization is group of the women who undergo training and do making the said product which could help preventing infection to the wound. This Herbal/ Organic Betadine is the best way to cure other infections related to the wound because it made up of a natural process by different kinds of herbal plants and this are the Coconut oil, Kalawag, Attuetes, Malunggay Stream and Langkawas. As we all know, there are a lot of benefits of this kind of plants.

Here are the some benefits of Coconut Oil in terms of Infection:

Photo by: google

Photo by: google

  • It is mostly made up of almost 50% of the fatty acids and it has had a 12-carbon Lauric acid and also contains the monolaurin.
  • It can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
  • Coconut oil had properties such as antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, antibacterial and has soothing qualities.

The Benefits of Kalawag/ Turmeric in preventing Infection:

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Photo by:

  • It is an anti-inflammatory to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases and wounds.
  • It also a powerful anti-oxidant that could fight some infections.
  • It is also good in the antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises and has an antibacterial agent.

Benefits of a malunggay in preventing infection:

Photo by: google

Photo by: google

  • It acts as an anti-oxidant
  • It is also an anti-microbial properties
  • It is also a germ-killer or drying agent
  • It can also treat pockets of infection like athlete’s foot, snakebites, warts and wounds.

Benefits of a Langkawas or Galangal in terms of infection:



  • It acts as an anti-fungal

From the above mention of herbal plants, we can see that there are a lot of functions to undergo with.  And all of the stated plants can help preventing infections and came up a finished product of a herbal betadine.  It is a good medicine to the wound by curing it. This Betadine is the knewest invention because of the different herbal plants that this made up. According to Mrs. Salvacion Tupas one of the member of the said organization their  betadine is good for the wounds and other related skin diseases. It simply shows that this organic /herbal bretadine is a natural making because of the plants involved on this medicine and by the process of organic. The organic Betadine is just one of the unique medicinal products because it is composed of the different kinds of herbal plants in which it could help a lot to the local populace on our country. And it is a natural way to cure the skin diseases and such as use to cleanse the wound by preventing infections.



Not A Laughing Matter: Though Tawa-Tawa Can Help, It Is Not Yet Scientifically Proven!

By: Jeacoh Pineda Durban

Tawa-tawa: Not a Laughing Matter, After All

Euphorbia hirta or locally known in the Philippines as “Tawa-Tawa”  or “Gatas-gatas” is an herb covered  with very tiny hairs and has small round-shaped flowers  which grows most of the time,  in the street sides and pathways.  This aboriginal plant is considered as an herbal medicine in some places in the country as it is helpful in eradicating illness such as Dengue according to people living particularly in provinces where the growth of such herb is abundant. As to these people, boiling up the herb to tea can help a Dengue patient recover from severe bleeding and eventually puts his immune system back  in a  normal condition.

In particular, Tawa-tawa is merely accessible to rural areas where confinement of a Dengue victim seems unfeasible to be done in hospitals. One reason is that, some rural areas are situated far from the central society where as a first aid and probably for a long-term medication which is less expensive and no hassles in preparation of the medicinal tea,  Tawa-tawa could be a great a help.

It is clearly a verity that since then until now, thousands of families who have at least one victim of Dengue chooses to settle for a cheaper cost of finding cure for their infected family member. One finds bunches of Tawa-tawa from the neighbor and then experimentally prepares the plant for the patient’s consumption. Ironically speaking, people tend to do the procedures themselves without even consulting the nearest hospitals or registered local doctors in the community. In a psychological context, because a family is financially disputed, they find the use of Tawa-tawa as an immediate source of alternative medicine. This situation usually occurs in many cases of Dengue in the Philippines.

Euphorbia Hirta. Taken from Janiuay, Iloilo.

Euphorbia Hirta. Taken from Janiuay, Iloilo.

Usually grows in the street sides and pathways.

Usually grows in the street sides and pathways.

Dengue: Something to Ponder

On the other hand, the World Health Organization tagged dengue as a “pandemic threat” infecting an estimated 50 million people around the world. In the Philippines, dengue has been on and off the list of the top 10 leading cause of death among Filipinos since 1991. Duenge as commonly defined to be a viral disease brought by mosquito’s bites containing genus Flavivirus is increasing in number of cases in the country since Philippines is a tropical state. The disease is oftentimes characterized by headache, high fever, rash, and rigorous muscle and joint pain. In scientific explanations, once a victim is infected with Duenge, the disease may develop into a critical dengue hemorrhagic fever that may result in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where precariously low blood pressure occurs.

One of the best examples of the increased number of Dengue cases in the country can be found in the province of Iloilo. Cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever alone in Iloilo prvine rose to 1,805 from the period January 1 to June 29 this year. In an interview with the Philippine News Agency last July, 2013, Dr. Ma. Socorro Quinon, assistant provincial health officer of the Iloilo Provincial Health Office, said that Dengue’s death toll stood at 10 with the death of three children recently. Quinon said that all of Iloilo’s 42 towns and one constituent city have cases of dengue which includes the top 10 municipalities with high prevalence of dengue cases that are Janiuay, Cabatuan, Maasin, San Miguel, Banate, Badiangan, Oton, Calinog, Lambunao and the component city of Passi.

The municipality of Janiuay comprised  the highest number of Dengue cases in the province of Iloilo.

The municipality of Janiuay comprised the highest number of Dengue cases in the province of Iloilo.

In a visit in the Janiuay Rural Health Unit, they conferred that among other Iloilo towns, Janiuay has the highest cases of dengue recorded at 275 with one death this year. The reason is that the town is particularly into farming and that in rainy seasons, the spread of Dengue carrying mosquito’s such as genus Aedes, predominantly A. aegypti increases. Janiuay, in terms of geographical structures, comprises communities or barangays far from the nearby hospital in the town.

Going back to the use of Tawa-tawa, this is an example in which some Janiuaynons who are situated in far-flung areas would rather prefer the use of  such herb because it can be found  anywhere even though one would just meander in the backyard.

Though helpful, medical assistance is first encouraged by the DOH if one has Dengue.

Though helpful, medical assistance is first encouraged by the DOH if one has Dengue.

What the higher health departments say?

In a national interview of GMA News last February, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH manager for the Dengue Control and Prevention Program said that they are not stopping people from using Tawa-tawa because it was evaluated to have no toxic substance or any chemical in it. Drinking Tawa-tawa juice is fluid replacement, which is basically the thrust for dengue.

In 2012, the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development was doing a study on dynamic ingredients of Tawa-tawa which were reportedly being used by some people as to cure dengue. The plant reportedly contains anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties and has the ability to increase blood platelets. However, the use of such herb is not yet scientifically proven and that people are encouraged to seek first medical assistance before experimenting with the plant. They might give the wrong amount of dosage that would riskily lead to the utilization of large doses as it may cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, and vomiting. One must know that excessive and long-drawn-out intake of Tawa-tawa may impede iron absorption. It can also potentially worsen the condition of dengue patients as it could induce peeing, which could lead to further dehydration.

The Department of Health itself, gave a statement last September, 2010 via Dr. Eric Tayag of the DOH’s National Epidemiology Center that, “This is not the right time to experiment on Tawa-tawa. We need a controlled environment to observe the benefits of Tawa-tawa among patients,” he said. “We don’t want mothers to concoct any formulation to any patients who may suspect to have dengue because we have the standards for treatment at home and they can easily go to hospitals for expert advice,” Dr. Tayag added.

In an ambush interview of The Philippine Star in last June, 2013, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said they do not endorse Tawa-tawa but at the same time they are not prohibiting it. According to him, “We cannot promote Tawa-tawa because if we do that, we must have proof that it is really medically effective and, at the same time, safe and there must be a study on that before we can be able to endorse it”.

What is the DevCom’s Role To This?

In Development Communication Science, it is very important that people should be able to get access with right information of the use of medicinal plants or newly-discovered species  of plants that may able to help contribute in the innovation of the various medical fields.

Tawa-tawa is not a new discovery since it was already used by people way back long time ago, but the thought here is that between discovery and invention, people must know that not all the times, one must invent or experiment medicinal inventions and try it without medical assistance from the experts who are into chemistry, biology and other related fields of Science. Indeed, Tawa-tawa could help lessen the state of suffering of a patient but it can never put the number of Dengue cases in the country to a decreased number unless it is already prescribed by the doctors that it is scientifically proven and  is safe for any ages who are infected with the such perilous disease.

As ordinary citizens in the community, everyone is encouraged to get back in the precautionary measures that is to prevent thrive of Dengue carrying-mosquitoes which can cause an alarming rate of Dengue cases in the population.                Here are some tips to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes in your place:

  • Dispose properly of any unused tires. It can be a breeding ground for thousands of mosquitoes.
  • Clear roof trough of debris. Mosquitoes oftentimes breed in wet, moist areas of the house.
  • Regularly change water from home ornaments which are container-like such as flower vases and figurines.
  • Check and empty children’s toys.
  • Repair faucets that leak.
  • Change the water in mini ponds at least once a week.
  • Apply mosquito repellent every night, if possible.
  • Clean regularly stagnant water in aquariums.
  • Empty water collected in tarps around the yard or on woodpiles.
  • Eat healthy foods to gain a better immune system.
  • Empty containers such as trash can lids, barrels, and buckets, etc. even if they contain small amount of water for Mosquitoes can still manage to breed on it.

Before Dengue strikes and people become desperately in need of any alternative use to heal Duenge such as Tawa-tawa, it is best that everybody must practice these things not only to prevent the spread of mosquitoes but also to avoid from Duenge.



Janiuay Rural Health Unit, Janiuay, Iloilo

More than 1,800 dengue cases recorded in Iloilo, July 5, 2013. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved August 30, 2013 from

Sisante J., 2013. GMANews.TV: DOH: Don’t experiment with ‘tawa-tawa’ as dengue cure. Retrieved August 30, 2013 from

Dinglasan R., 2013. GMA NEWS: Tawa-tawa not proven dengue cure, but can be taken on the ‘side’ – DOH. Retrieved August 30, 2013 from

Philippine Star: DOH not promoting tawa-tawa use in dengue treatment, June 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013 from