MANILA - Patients with mild COVID-19 recovered faster after a week of treatment with herbal drug lagundi in a local clinical trial, the Department of Science and Technology said Monday.
Partial results of the study showed that the patients' coronavirus symptoms such as loss of sense of smell, among others, disappeared following lagundi treatment, DOST Fortunato de la Peña told ANC.
"They found out that those who took lagundi have the sense of smell restored earlier," he said. "They also found out that the symptoms disappeared earlier for those who took lagundi."
De la Peña noted that the patients recovered after 7 to 8 days, saying they tested negative after a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
The study, which involved 278 patients from 7 different quarantine centers in Metro Manila, sought to examine the effect of anti-cough and anti-asthma medicine on COVID-19.
According to the DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, lagundi, a common term for Vitex negundo L., is traditionally used to treat insect and snake bites, ulcers, rheumatism, sore throat, cough, fever and clogged sinuses.
"The fact that they were relieved from the symptoms is already good because they have what we call in Filipino 'Guminhawa sila ng mas maaga (They were quickly healed),'" he said.
If proven effective, de la Peña urged Filipinos to use herbal drugs since they were accessible and inexpensive.
"Personally, I think if our trials say that the health improved, I think we better use our own drugs because definitely they are more accessible and they are cheaper," he said.
Since the pandemic began, the Philippines has logged over 1.4 million COVID-19 infections. So far, more than 25,000 died from the respiratory illness while 52,000 patients are deemed infectious or considered as active cases.