Salamat Dok: Home remedies for common illnesses

By Yam dela Cruz, Multimedia producer, Salamat Dok

Posted at Jan 28 2011 04:22 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2011 01:28 AM

Are you looking for a relatively safe immediate relief to common health concerns? Well, don’t look too far; it might just be in your kitchen, backyard, in the neighborhood or at the vacant lot near your house.  Many of the medicines available at the drugstores have herb and ornamental plants components. The following are some suggestions that you may want to try as alternative.

Sore Throat

Ginger Tea (Salabat) is highly recommended. To make it more effective, Dr. Emil Aligui, an Herb Expert, epidemiologist and pediatrician suggests combining turmeric (luyang dilaw) with regular ginger. Ginger’s essential oils have pain-relieving component. When taken, it mobilizes mucus and phlegm that eases the discomfort of breathing and eventually removes clogs in the airway passages. TO MAKE GINGER TEA: Boil 3 glasses of water, pound the ginger, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  Drink a cup 3 times a day. Make sure you take ginger tea after you have eaten because it produces gas pain when taken on an empty stomach.

Silymarin (Sinta) can be prepared as a tea. Boil the leaves in 3 glasses of water for 10 minutes. “This plant can be found anywhere but if you want to make sure, you can buy some at the Bureau of Plant Industry in San Andres, Manila,” says Dr. Aligui. He added that the silymarin leaves, though bitter, has alkaloids and antiviral properties which are essential to boost the immune system.

Stomach ache

Wild Tea or Forest Tea (Tsaang Gubat) has antispasmodic properties that prevent the intestine from contracting which causes stomachache.  This ornamental plant is available in commercial gardens. Boil leaves in 2 glasses of water for 10 minutes.


Mint (Yerba Buena) is a natural analgesic, not only recommended for headache but for toothache and joint pains as well. Just boil it in a glass of water for 10 minutes. Here’s a related article on the things to consider when preparing this medicinal plant. Yerba Buena can grow anywhere but is quite visible during summer. “It usually dies during rainy season as it can’t hold too much water,” shares Dr. Aligui.

Cough and Cold

You may dislike this tear-jerker vegetable but it surely gives us a lot of health benefits. A good suggestion for irritating cough and cold –  plain onion soup! Here’s a link on how to prepare this healthy dish.  

This fragrant herb which is widely used in culinary dishes has antibacterial properties. Wash the leaves thoroughly, squeeze it, and drink the extract. Very easy!

Lemon Grass

On top of its many uses – commercial, culinary, and therapeutic -- lemon grass is widely accepted for its medicinal value like boosting the immune system. The most important part of this herb is its bulb. Just boil it to 2 glasses of water for 10 minutes and you can enjoy the aromatic taste of its tea.

Red Onions

Red onions, eaten raw, once a day, provide the body with quercetin – a powerful natural anti-oxidant that allows the body to fight cancer in people who are genetically prone to the illness.  If the person cannot eat raw onions because of its taste or smell, the onion soup recipe shown above has approximately the same effect.  Like ginger, raw onions must be eaten on a full stomach.


Here’s a very simple hangover remedy – tomatoes and cabbage juice. Chop both vegetables and place these in a blender with some water.  Use no other flavoring except either honey or some salt. Once the vegetables are blended, strain the mixture and drink around half a glass or more. It takes around three hours to feel the effect as the vegetables neutralize the acids in the stomach.


Your best choice is passion flower! It’s difficult to find but it makes a fine remedy for insomnia. These can be soaked in hot water and taken as a tea before bedtime. If one is unable to find Passion flowers, Chamomile and Cinnamon tea are equally good substitutes since they are readily available from supermarket shelves. They are brewed in the same way as ordinary teas. For variety and extra flavor, one can try adding apple cider.
“Conventional medicine is still the best option. If the condition persists for more than three days, then it’s time to visit your doctor,” Dr. Aligui concludes. November 28, 2010 and January 2, 2011 episodes