Many people with chronic ailments think that because they can afford their maintenance medication, they don’t have to change lifestyles. They believe there’s no need to do something about their diets, physical inactivity and vices. This mindset usually leads to higher doses and more expensive medication, as their health problems persist or even worsen.
But there are others who, even if they buy generic drugs, find the cost of their maintenance meds a major financial burden.
Former Health Secretary Jaime “Jimmy” Galvez-Tan, always and ever in “doctor to the barrios” mode, suggests traditional and indigenous medicinal plants and herbs to supplement and complement Western health therapies, or even as alternative to some cures to help reduce the cost of medical care for ordinary Filipinos.
At the recent inauguration of the new Therapeutic Garden of the La Union Botanical Garden, Jimmy offered readily available plants as alternative natural remedies to high blood pressure, diabetes, diarrhea, cough, and even excess fat.
He said siling labuyo (chili pepper) is “one of the most powerful medicinal plants in the world” because it is anti-inflammatory, relieves pain and heart troubles, and helps speed up metabolism to aid weight loss. He pointed to his flat belly as proof of how the indigenous chili pepper dissolved unwanted fat.
He suggested taking at least one green siling labuyo like a capsule after every meal: As the chili slides down your esophagus with water, you won’t feel its extremely hot sting. I can attest to that method because I have also started taking it.
Jimmy dismissed fears that eating sili would cause hemorrhoids or almoranas. He said it was not sili that causes the problem but sitting for long stretches of time.
He added that balbas pusa (cat’s whisker), sambong, pandan and tanglad can help manage high blood pressure, while green mangoes can ease coughing.