Curcuma came from the Arabic word kurkum meaning turmeric. It is a yellow colored herb with medicinal properties. Turmeric is an antibiotic, a tea, can be seasoned with curry powder and can be useful in many ways. But let’s focus on how it is a remedy for cough, cold and fever and how it is processed.
Curcuma here in Visayas Region is known as Kalawag. It can be found anywhere but a lot of people are not very much aware about its many uses especially those people who are living in the city. But for the people in Hinobaan, Negros Occidental, we are very much mindful about this plant and we are using it as an alternative to cure cough, cold and fever. Since our soil is healthy and cultured, Kalawag can easily grow in our land. Using Kalawag as an alternative can help you save money from buying pharmaceutical drugs and save you from the drugs’ side effects. It is safe and effective plus, Kalawag has no side effects. Kalawag, unlike synthetic drugs, does not destroy livers because there are no chemicals included and it belongs to the family of herbs. It is easily and naturally processed.
People who wished to use Kalawag as a remedy need no expert aid. Kalawag is a ginger. People can intake it in a form of a tea and it can also be powdered and can be put in an empty capsule. Making it as a tea is the basic usage of the yellow ginger. We all know how to make a tea, right? Making it a powder is also easy but needs a little effort. The first thing to do for turning Kalawag into powder is to peel the gingers. Use gloves for peeling because its yellow color won’t wash out easily. After peeling, slice it into pieces and put it in a winnowing basket then put it in a safe place under the sun for drying. It would take a whole day. When the sliced Kalawag is sufficiently dry, it needs to be fried but not fried fry, more like frying without oil. It needs to be dry enough so it can easily be powdered and can be put inside the capsule.
The knowledge of the people in Hinobaan about Kalawag as an alternative was taught by their grandmothers back when there were no pharmacies and doctors around town and this practice was later supported by the church. There are some catechists in our church that were lucky enough to acquire knowledge about local medicines. Since our town is small, and most of the people are far from rich,the catechists helped the people to make use of the available resources to be used as an alternative cure for illness that until now is being adept. Most of the victims of cough, cold and fever are the children because children have low resistance and weak immune systems. Since it is antibiotic Kalawag can get rid of the cough by getting rid of the phlegm. It can be relieved by drinking Kalawag tea. It helps kill the bacterias in our body that are causing fever and cold.
I have interviewed one of the residents in our town, her name is Myrna,she’s 56 years old and is a long time Kalawag user. According to her everytime one of her children gets sick, she would make a Kalawag tea and give it to her sick child. I asked her why does she prefer Kalawag instead of pharmaceutical drugs? She answered me that she has 14 children and she can’t afford to buy any medicines from the pharmacy because it is expensive.One time one of her daughters was suffering from stomach cramps because of her monthly period, she mixed two tablespoon of powdered Kalawag in a glass of milk and gave it to her daughter. After a while her daughter told her that her stomach cramps was eased a little. Myrna is just a plain housewife and her husband is a farmer. She’s a family friend, as my grandma would say and it’s true. She used to work for us. Me and my siblings address her as Mama Myrna because she’s like a third mother to us. But she decided to stop working because no one will look after her own children. Last summer, I went to my grandma’s house, I got to see Mama Myrna there. She and my grandma were making Kalawag powder because my grandma is also using Kalawag as a treatment for her Diabetes. Another person I get to interview is my neighbor, Lilibeth. Lilibeth is a plain housewife too and has five children and are all in elementary. Her children are sickly and are prone to sickness. I remembered when I was in highschool, she would often go to the nearest health center to ask for medicines for her sick child. After several years of giving her children medicinal drugs, she started to worry about her children’s liver. What she did was, she asked around about alternative medicines that might help her. That’s when she found out about the Kalawag and its different medicinal functions. The last person I interviewed was Mercy. Mercy have two daughters and is also a housewife. Her second child although physically healthy, would often catch a cold and later I found out that Mercy is suffering from hypertension . She is using Kalawag as her supplement and as well as a cold remedy for her child. She said she hesitated to use yellow ginger at first because it is not really doctor recommended, so she did her own research. Base on what she found out, Kalawag is safer than any other medicines because it is herbal and has no side effects. She then started to intake it in a form of capsule and she felt better. Her hypertension is still there but at least she feels better now. In my childhood days, I always used to have cough. I got tired of going back to the doctor coz my pediatrician was in Iloilo and I was negros. My tita would only bring me to my pediatrician once a month to be treated for my skin asthma. I remembered I usually get sick once or twice a month. I would catch a cold and then i would have cough. My grandma was afraid to give me any drugs from the pharmacy that are not prescripted by my pediatrician, so, instead she would give me a Kalawag tea. It tasted bad and far different from the cough syrup I used to ingest but I got better. My grandma said it was ok that it is safe, just to reduce my suffering and to make my cough go away. It was better than nothing. Until now, everytime my aunts would get sick, they’d ask my grandma for Kalawag especially my aunt who had a cancer.
For some additional facts, study shows that Kalawag promotes emptying of the gall bladder. Its essential oil increases the formation of bile in the liver, slows the growth of bacteria. Turmeric should be used for those diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that caused by a reduced biliary excretion. It has chologenic and choleretic effect – increases the synthesis of bile acids by more than 100%, reduces production and acidity of gastric juice and reduces cholesterol. It reduces the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and normalizes blood composition. Kalawag not only cleans and improves blood circulation, but also stimulates the formation of red blood cells and reduces platelet aggregation. Dr. Milan Fiala of the University of California, Los Angeles, separated the most active component of turmeric extract, which was called curcuminoid-3, and proved that it is able to reverse the course of progressive disease of the brain (Alzheimer’s), which gradually destroys memory and makes the verdict to the human individuality. It is also found that Kalawag like silymarin protects liver against various toxic substances, including carbon tetrachloride.(Health Planet: Yellow Ginger/ Turmeric.(February 2011).Retrieved August 30,2013, from http://healing.fit-leader.com/articles/curcuma.shtml.)
Kalawag is indeed a good alternative.It is referred to as a home remedy. For some who might want to try it, there is NO harm in trying. It is purely safe and easy to find. Kalawag is not a replacement for pharmaceutical drugs but rather as an alternative. The statement of the people I interviewed is not for promoting Kalawag to be preferred instead of the proper medicine. The right way when one gets sick is to seek medical attention and be treated accordingly to one’s sickness.This is just to show people the effectiveness of Kalawag. It can be planted anywhere as long as the soil is well-drained loam. It has white flowers so it would look good in your garden. In india Kalawag is used as preservative for food , means of preserving youth and beauty, clothing dye, cure for skin problems, athritis, and other ailments. In China, Kalawag is used as a topical analgesic for hepatitis, ringworm and chest pain. In Europe, it is used as coloring in mustard, cheese, margarine, beverages and cakes. (Curcuma Longa.(NA). Retrieved August 30,2013, from http://curcumalonga.com/)