The Medicinal Benefits of Lagundi
In my previous article on Aloe Vera, I mentioned my Grandmother as the herbalist in the family. I remember her having a book on various herbs available in the Philippines and their corresponding medicinal values. One of these medicinal plants found in the book and which my grandmother also advocates is the lagundi plant.
When someone in the family has a cough, she will immediately recommend taking in lagundi leaves in the form of tea to cure the ailment. I remember however the sour face we make every time we are forced to drink the said tea derived from lagundi because of its bitter taste. As such the family, especially the younger ones would prefer taking in cough syrups which tasted a little better than the lagundi tea.
The lagundi plant is native to the Philippines and is commonly used as an alternative treatment for respiratory ailments such as cough, flu, colds, bronchial asthma, pharyngitis, and chronic bronchitis. Due to these medicinal values that can be derived from the lagundi plant, extensive research has been backed by the Philippine government’s Department of Health which resulted to the approval of the Bureau of Food and Drugs of the cough syrup and capsule with lagundi as its active ingredient. This is definitely good news for those who prefer alternative cures to their respiratory ailments but are not that keen on the bitter taste.
A Little Background on Lagundi
Lagundi (scientific name: Vitex negundo) as mentioned earlier is native to the Philippine Islands and has been used for centuries because of its therapeutic properties. It is a large shrub which can grow up to five meters tall; with a single thick woody stem like a trunk. Its leaves are pointed and having five leaflets set like a hand. Most of the parts of the lagundi plant have medicinal values which is why it is actively promoted by the Philippine Department of Health.
The Many uses of Lagundi
Although the scientific research has concentrated on the plant's use for respiratory problems, the lagundi has many other uses. The roots for example can be used as treatment for rheumatism, dyspesia, boils and even leprosy. The flowers on the other hand can also be used as a cure for liver diseases and internal disorders such as diarrhea and cholera. The plant has properties which prevent the body's production of leukotrienes, the substance which are produced during an asthma attack.
Another active agent found in lagundi is Chrysoplenol D, which has anti-histamine and muscle relaxant properties. Aside from these properties, lagundi is also a great expectorant and can also be drank my nursing mothers as it helps increase milk production.
The Traditional preparation of Lagundi
The usual process in the preparation of lagundi concoction is through boiling the parts of the plant, letting it steep and then straining the parts. The concoction is then drank three times a day to relieve various ailments such as asthma, pharyngitis, rheumatism, cough, colds, fever and flu and other bronchopulmonary disorders. For skin disorders, the decoction (process of boiling in water) of leaves and roots can be applied directly to skin.
Even though the lagundi plant has lots of various benefits, let us still exercise caution in its use and consult our doctor especially if there are other medicines that we are taking.