MANILA (UPDATE) — Traditional herb lagundi helped COVID-19 sufferers recover faster from mild symptoms in a local clinical trial, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Wednesday.
The study involved 278 patients from different quarantine centers. Half of them were given lagundi, while the rest were not, said DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña.
"Lahat naman sila’y gumaling. Ang pagkakaiba lang po nila, unang-una, iyong mga nag-lagundi, madaling nagbalik iyong kanilang pang-amoy ano," he said in a televised public briefing.
(They all recovered. The difference is first, for those who used lagundi, their sense of smell returned quickly.)
Loss of sense of smell is a symptom of COVID-19, along with fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, and skin rash or discoloration of fingers or toes, experts earlier said.
Lagundi is traditionally used to treat cough.
"Iyon pong mga sintomas nung mga nag-take ng lagundi ay mas unang nawala iyong mga sintomas ano. Pero ang kanilang kabuuang finding eh pare-pareho silang umabot ng between 7 [and] 8 days bago maka-recover at wala naman pong naging adverse effect," said Dela Peña.
(The symptoms of those who took lagundi disappeared sooner. But it all took them 7 to 8 days to recover, and there were no adverse effects.)
Researchers on Wednesday might finish analyzing how lagundi affected the viral load or amount of virus in a patient's blood, he said.
"Kung maganda iyong resulta, ito ay inaasahan namin na sana naman ay i-recommend ng ating DOH at puwede ring ituloy ang trials para sa mga moderate cases," said the official.
(If the results are good, we expect the DOH to recommend this and the trial could extend to moderate cases.)
A separate clinical trial on the use of virgin coconut oil to treat patients with moderate and severe COVID-19 is expected to be finished in July, he said.
It needs 5 more participants to finish the study, Dela Peña told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo on Thursday.
The DOST earlier said virgin coconut oil could be used as a food supplement to reduce the symptoms of probable and suspect COVID-19 cases.
Another 40 participants are needed in the agency's study into tawa-tawa clinical trial, Dela Peña said.
The Philippines has tallied some 1.4 million coronavirus infections, the second highest in Southeast Asia.