Herbs for a Healthy New Year

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Kalabo or Philippine Oregano is an herb from the mint, or Lamiaceae family. Most Filipinos use it to enhance flavor of their coconut-based dishes or as a natural health remedy. (image source: Flickr)

While most of us aspire to have a healthy diet with a resolution to be a clean eater this 2022, loading up with more fruits and vegetables on our plate is a good start. To make our meals palatable, we enhance our everyday dish through condiments, spices, or herbs.  

Herbs are our first ally in the backyard and in our kitchen. They are nature’s wonder drug and they remain powerful medicine even in our modern times. Have you ever chewed on a piece of mint to curb nausea and prevent bad breath? Or use oregano leaves to cure common colds or cough? If the answer is yes, you are taking part in an old tradition that stretches deep into our past.


Distinguishing herbs from spices  

According to Reynaldo Gil “Datu Makadingding” Lomarda of GreenMinds Incorporated, herbs were already mentioned in the Bible through the Book of Genesis 2-29: “And God said, behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, which is the fruit of the tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

Generally, fresh herbs are delicately flavored and they are the green, leafy part of the plant. While spices can be sourced from the bark, root, or other parts of tropical plants and trees, and are typically used dried or ground.

 “All of the plants that we grow, some we even pass by in our garden without our knowledge, have some value. Herbs, when taken properly, have nutritive value and health benefits. I consider them as our natural defense against mild diseases and sickness.” Datu Makadingding said further.


Health benefits of culinary herbs

Using herbs in our everyday meal is a great way to add flavor, color, and aroma without adding extra fat, sugar, or salt. They also provide powerful antioxidants, and have a range of other health benefits.

Aside from enhancing our meals, the more herbs we try, the wider the variety of potential health benefits we are likely to receive. Fresh herbs often contain higher antioxidant levels compared to processed or dried herbs.

There are several herbs as well as spices with multiple potential health benefits, such as those with anti-inflammatory properties and some that may even aid in fighting cancer. Some of these herbs and spices include turmeric, peppermint, ginger, garlic, and many more. (see illustration provided by GreenMinds Inc.)


Herbs as natural remedies

Traditional herbal medicine, which has been around for centuries, is well accepted among Filipino homes in the rural areas. Validating the use of these traditional medicinal plants through research is essential in order to have an evidence-based practice of herbal medicine.

There are ten (10) Philippine medicinal plant species approved for therapeutic use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Department of Health (DOH): (1.) Lagundi (Vitexnegundo) for cough and asthma (2.) Sambong (Blumeabalsamifera L.) as anti-urolithiasis (kidney stones) (3.) Ampalaya (Momordicacharantia L.) for lowering of blood sugar and anti-diabetes (4.) Garlic (Allium sativum) as anti-cholesterol (5.) Guava (Psidiumguajava) as oral/skin antiseptic (6.) Tsaang-gubat (Carmona cetusa) as mouthwash (7.) Yerba-Buena (Menthaarvensis) as analgesic or anti-pyretic (8.) Niyug-niyogan (Quisaualisindica) as anti-helminthic (9.) Acapulco (Cassia alata) as antifungal (10.) Ulasimang-bato (Peperomiapellucida) as anti-hyperurisemia.

Meanwhile, GreenMinds Incorporated through its farming component, Umanika Eco-Cultural Farm, purveys potted culinary herbs and medicinal plants for as low as 50 pesos per pot or polyethylene bags.

As a Learning Site for Agriculture (LSA) partner of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in Region 10, GreenMinds Incorporated advocates such cause by empowering rural communities through the establishment of communal gardens which will serve as food source and as source of herbal medicine.

Incorporating Philippine herbs and developing herbal medicines needed for health care would decrease our dependence on synthetic medicines, and will increase the accessibility of plant-based drugs even in remote areas.


You can reach Umanika at these contact details and particulars:

MEMBER: Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP)



Farm Location: Impalambong, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

Main Establishment: Turquoise St., Golden Village, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City

Cooperator: Reynaldo Gil Lomarda

Land Area: 8,000 Square Meters

Date Established: June 2013

Farm Products: Garden-variety vegetables, medicinal and culinary herbs, livestock, tropical fruits, processed goods such as culinary herbs & salt blends, organic dried herbs, organic peanuts, banana chips, organic turmeric granules

Services Offered: Farm Development, Farm Accommodation, Camping, Technical Trainings, Advocacy Projects, Consultancy Services

Social Media Page: https://www.facebook.com/Umanika-Eco-Cultural-Farm-147742026252083/

Website: www.greenmindsinc.com

Contact Details: (088) 858-4976 / 0998-869-0648

E-mail: info@greenmindsinc.com




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